About John Cotton Smith, Governor
John Cotton Smith (February 12, 1765 – December 7, 1845) was a nineteenth century lawyer, judge and politician from Connecticut. He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, as the 7th Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut and as the 22nd Governor of Connecticut.
Smith was born in Sharon, Connecticut, the son of Cotton Mather Smith, a Puritan minister who moved from Massachusetts to Connecticut. Smith completed preparatory studies and graduated from Yale College in 1783. After graduation, he studied law and was admitted to the bar. He began the practice of law in Sharon in 1787. Smith married Margaret Evertson and they had one son together.
He entered politics as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1793. He served in the State House in 1793, 1796 and 1800. In 1800 he served as speaker of that body.
Smith was elected as a Federalist candidate to the Sixth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Jonathan Brace. He was reelected to the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Congresses, serving from November 17, 1800 until his resignation in August 1806. Smith was chairman of the Committee on Claims in the Seventh through Ninth Congresses.
After serving in Congress, Smith served as an associate judge of the Superior Court and Supreme Court of Errors from 1809 to 1811. He served as the 7th Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut from 1811 to 1812. He was the 22nd Governor of Connecticut from October 25, 1812 to May 8, 1817. Smith was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor on the Federalist ticket in 1817. He was the last Federalist Governor of Connecticut.
Smith retired from politics but remained involved in academic and religious organizations. He was a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Connecticut Historical Society. He served as president of the American Bible Society from 1831 until his death in 1845. Smith died on December 7, 1845 in Sharon. He is interred in Hillside Cemetery.