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


    Although comparatively a young man, this gentleman has already attained distinction as one of the ablest members of the Piqua bar, and is now serving as prosecuting attorney of Miami county. In this profession probably more than any other success depends upon individual merit, upon a thorough understanding of the principles of jurisprudence, a power of keen analysis and the ability to present clearly, concisely and forcibly the strong points of his cause. Possessing these necessary qualifications, Mr. Smith is accorded a foremost place in the ranks of the profession in Miami county and stands to-day one of the most esteemed members of the Piqua bar.

    He was born in that city, September 1, 1861, and is a son of John Frederick and Mary (Sullenbarger) Smith. The father, who was born in Baden Germany, in 1833, was a soldier in the civil war and was killed in the battle of Stone River. The mother was a native of Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, where she was reared, and in 1850 came to Miami county, Ohio, where she located permanently, becoming the wife of John F. Smith in 1860.

    Mr. Smith spent his boyhood and youth in Piqua, attending the public schools and graduating from the high school in 1884. In 1885 he entered the Ohio Wesleyan University, at Delaware, Ohio, where he pursued the work of the classical course for a year. He then entered Harvard University, where he remained two years, taking the regular classical course and also studying philosophy, political economy, history and law. On his return to Piqua he commenced the study of law with Hon. John McDonald, of that city. Soon afterward in 1890, he received the appointment as special agent in the United States census department to ascertain the mortgaged indebtedness of the states of Mississippi and Arkansas, and was engaged on that work for six months, at then end of which time he went to Washington, D. C., to assist in the classification of the mortgaged indebtedness of the United States, completing that work in 1893. In the meantime he entered the Columbia Law School at Washington, from which he received the degree of bachelor of law in 1891 and master of law in 1892. In 1893 he was admitted to the bar at Richmond, Virginia.

    On leaving Washington Mr. Smith returned to his old home in Miami county, Ohio, and worked on the farm for two years, but on the 4th of March, 1896, he was admitted to practice in Ohio, and has since devoted his time and attention to his professional duties, his office being in Piqua. On the 6th of June, 1896, he was nominated by the Republican party as their candidate for prosecuting attorney; was elected at the general election the following November, and took charge of the office in January, 1897. In November, 1899, he was re-elected for a term of three years, which does not expire until January, 1903. He has proved a most efficient man for the place, and the affairs of the county have never been better managed in this direction than under his prosecution. As a Republican he has taken quite an active and prominent part in local, congressional and state politics for the past ten years. He is a good judge of law, and, what is of almost equal importance, a good judge of men, and it is these qualities, together with his earnestness and ability as a speaker, that have given him marked success in jury cases. Fraternally he is a member of Dorson Lodge, No. 16, F. & A. M., of Washington, D. C.; Piqua Lodge, No. 8, I. O. O. F.; and Piqua Lodge, No. 523, B. P. O. E.

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