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Robert M. Smith

Member From: 1875 - 1877

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  • Birth Date: Unknown Birth Place:New Kent County, Virginia
  • Death Date: February 13, 1923
  • Gender: Male Race: African American
  • Spouse: Lillie Ann Beatty (m. April 8, 1891, div. 1897) Bettie M. Smith (m. May 4, 1904)
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  • Occupation/Profession: Blacksmith, Wheelwright, and Inspector of Customs House in Hampton Va
  • Additional Info Links: Bio from Virginia's Martin Luther King Jr. Commission
    Encyclopedia Virginia Biography
  • Bio: Robert M. Smith represented Elizabeth City and Warwick Counties in the House of Delegates from 1875 to 1877. He was born free in New Kent County and was apprenticed to become a blacksmith. About 1863 he fled to Hampton as a refugee. After the American Civil War (1861–1865) Smith attended night school, later becoming a church and fraternal leader. In 1875 he won election to represent Elizabeth City and Warwick Counties in the House of Delegates. He unsuccessfully sought financial appropriations for Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. Smith worked as a wheelwright and blacksmith in Hampton for many years, may have operated a carriage manufacturing business, and operated a grocery store with a brother-in-law. He served as commissioner of revenue for Elizabeth City County, but resigned after an investigation found that his records were incomplete, costing the county perhaps $20,000. Smith became an inspector at the customs house in Hampton by 1891 and was deputy collector by decade’s end. He filed for divorce from his first wife on the grounds that she was legally married to someone else. Smith suffered from kidney disease and died at his home in Hampton on February 13, 1923, and was buried in Elmerton Cemetery in that city.

  • Other Notable Service and/or Elected Offices: Commissioner of the Revenue - 1883 - 1889 (Elizabeth City)
    Hampton City Council - 1895 - 1899
    Customs Collector - Old Point Comfort
Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1875-1877 Elizabeth City and Warwick Republican Schools and Colleges

*The information within this interactive and searchable application has been researched extensively by the House Clerk’s Office. As with any historical records of this age and breadth, there may be discrepancies and/or inconsistencies within records obtained from a variety of credible sources. Any feedback is encouraged at history@house.virginia.gov.

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