Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    HON. J. HARRISON SMITH, one of the leading members of the Miami County bar, and a man who stands high in the esteem of his fellow citizens, was born in Piqua, where he now resides, on September 1, 1861, son of John Frederick and Mary (Sullenbarger) Smith. His father, who was born in Baden Baden, Germany, in 1833, after coming to America enlisted in the Union army and was killed at the battle of Stone River. John F. Smith had not long been married when he thus met an untimely end, for it was but in 1860 that he was united in wedlock to Mary Sullenbarger, who had become a resident of this county some ten years previously, coming hither with her parents from her native county of Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, where she was reared.

    The subject of this sketch acquired his elementary education in the public schools of Piqua, and graduated from the high school in the class of 1884. In the following year he became a student in the Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware, Ohio, where he remained for a year. He then entered Harvard University, where, besides taking the regular classical course, he studied philosophy, history, political economy, and law. The last mentioned study he pursued with special ardor for he had resolved to adopt the legal profession as his future sphere of activity. After leaving college he commenced the practical study of law under the mentorship of the Hon. John McDonald of Piqua. That he showed himself a young man of capacity may be gathered from the fact that he soon afterwards in 1890 received the appointment as special agent in the United States census department to ascertain the mortgaged indebtedness of the states of Mississippi and Arkansas, which work occupied him for some six months. He was then offered a position at Washington, D.C., to assist in the classification of the mortgaged indebtedness of the United States, and was there engaged until 1893.

    While a resident of the nation's capital he entered the Columbia Law School (now the George Washington Law School) and pursued his studies to such good advantage that he was graduated a bachelor of law in 1891, and received the degree of master of law in the following year. He was admitted to the bar at Richmond, Virginia, in 1893.

    On returning to his home in Miami County, Mr. Smith, instead of immediately taking up the practice of his profession, spent two years working on the farm; but in March, 1896, he was admitted to practice in his native state, and has since been engaged in the practice of law in the city of Piqua. In November, 1896, he was elected on the Republican ticket as prosecuting attorney, assuming the duties of the office in the following January, and serving two terms. He soon proved his efficiency, and it is the general opinion that the legal business of the county was never better taken care of than when in his hands. Mr. Smith was probate judge from November, 1902, and served one term. He was subsequently nominated for a second term, but on this occasion suffered defeat.

    For a number of years past Mr. Smith has taken an active and beneficial interest in local, state, and congressional politics, his aim being not merely the success of his party, but the carrying out of the popular will and the perpetuation of pure, stable and representative government. As a lawyer he takes a high rank, possessing not only the qualifications of a good attorney, but also a high degree of forensic ability and eloquence. He is also a keen judge of character and has been especially successful in jury cases. He has a convenient and well appointed office in the Orr Block.

    Mr. Smith belongs to various prominent fraternal orders, being a member of Dayton Lodge, No. 147, F.& A.M.; Piqua Lodge No. 8, I. O. O. F., and Piqua lodge, No. 523, B. P. O. E.; also of Loramie Tribe Improved Order of Red Men, No. 15, Piqua; and Council No. 80, Junior Order of American Mechanics.

    He was married in 1895 to Miss Anna E. Ball, a daughter of William B. and Kate Ball, of Memphis, Tennessee. The have had two children: John H., who died, and Fred W., who was born August 1, 1908.

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