Jeremiah Smith Genealogy
(7.) III. JEREMIAH SMITH, [10-6] LL. D., b. Nov. 29, 1759, d.
Sept. 21, 1842, distinguished from his earliest years by "an intense love of
knowledge," began the study of Latin at the age of 12 years, entered Harvard
College 1777, about the same time enlisted for two months in the army, and was
in the battle of Bennington. After residing two years at Cambridge, he entered
Queen's (now Rutger's) College in New Jersey, a year in advance, and graduated
1780. He remained nearly two years undecided what profession to take. He began
the study of law in Aug. 1782, with Shearjashub Bourne, Barnstable, Mass., being
at the same time a private teacher in the family of Brigadier Otis. Remaining a
year in Barnstable, he spent the next year in Andover Academy, as assistant
instructor to Dr. Pierson. In 1784 he read law at Salem, Mass., under the
direction of William Pynchon, taking charge of a small school of young ladies at
the same time. Mr. Smith was admitted to the bar by the Court of Common Pleas,
Hillsborough county, N. H., in the spring of 1786, and almost immediately took
his place at the head of the bar. His office was in a chamber of his father's
house at Peterborough. he was employed in the business of the town, held the
office of town clerk, and for several years was one of the selectmen. He made
great efforts for the improvement of the public schools. Through his influence
five new schoolhouses were built in 1791, better teachers were procured, and a
lasting impulse given to the cause of education. During three years, 1783-89-90,
Mr. Smith represented the town in the General Court. In Dec. 1790, he was chosen
a member of the 2d Congress, and was elected for three more successive terms. In
1797, he removed to Exeter. In July of that year he was appointed U. S. Attorney
for the District of New Hampshire, and in the same month resigned his office as
member of Congress. In the fall of 1800 he was appointed Judge of Probate for
the County of Rockingham, and continued in that office for about two years. In
Feb. 1801, he was appointed a Judge in the U. S. District Court. On the repeal
of the Judiciary Law, in March, 1802, his office was abolished; but in May of
the same year he was appointed Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature
in New Hampshire. In 1809, he was chosen Governor of New Hampshire, but failing
of a re-election, he returned to the bar. Under a new Judiciary act in 1813, Mr.
Smith was again appointed Chief Justice; but this act was rescinded in 1816, and
he returned once more to the practice of law. In 1820, at the age of 61, he
withdrew from the active duties of his profession with an ample fortune, the
fruit of his own industry and judicious economy. [For the above facts we are
indebted to the Life of Judge Smith, by Rev. J. H. Morison.]
Sept. 20, 1831, Judge Smith m. Elizabeth Hale, daughter of Hon. William Hale of Dover, N. H.
For parents of Jeremiah Smith, see William Smith Genealogy.
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