Joseph Showalter Smith

Joseph Showalter Smith (June 20, 1824 September 28, 1884) was a Representative from the U.S. state of Oregon.

Joseph S. Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oregon's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1869 March 3, 1871
Preceded byRufus Mallory
Succeeded byJames H. Slater
Personal details
BornJune 20, 1824
Connellsville, Pennsylvania
DiedSeptember 28, 1884(1884-09-28) (aged 60)
Portland, Oregon
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Julia A. Carter

Early life

Born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, Smith moved with his farmer parents to Ohio and Indiana, where he attended the common schools.[1][2] In 1844, at the age of 20, he was one of the early traveler on the Oregon Trail to Oregon, arriving in the spring of 1845 and settling in Salem, where he taught school, studied law, and was admitted to the bar.[1][2]

Political career

In 1851, he sought election as Portland's first mayor, but lost by four votes to Hugh O'Bryant.[3] In 1853, he moved to Olympia, Washington, and was elected to the Washington territorial house of representatives in 1856 and served as speaker.[1][2] He was appointed United States attorney for Washington Territory by President James Buchanan March 12, 1857.[1]

Smith returned to Salem in 1858 and practiced law for twelve years.[1] In 1862, he was selected by the Democratic convention to be their candidate for Associate Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, but he declined the nomination.[2] In 1866, he was the Democratic candidate for United States Senate, but lost to Republican Henry W. Corbett by three votes in the Legislature.[2]

In 1868, Smith was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives and served one term from March 4, 1869 March 4, 1871.[1] After his term was completed, he moved to Portland, Oregon and resumed his law practice.[1] He ran for Governor of Oregon in 1882, but lost to Republican Zenas Ferry Moody.[1]

He died in Portland on September 28, 1884[4] and was interred in Portland's River View Cemetery.[1]


  1. "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress". U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 2007-06-04.
  2. "Smith, Joseph Schoewaiter". Retrieved 2007-06-21.
  3. Lansing, Jewel (2003). Portland: People, Politics, and Power, 1851-2001.
  4. The Oregonian. Portland. 29 Sep 1884. Missing or empty |title= (help)
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Rufus Mallory
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oregon's at-large congressional district

March 4, 1869 March 3, 1871
Succeeded by
James H. Slater
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