Henry Smith (speaker)

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Henry Smith (March 14, 1829 in Cobleskill, Schoharie County, New York – December 1, 1884) was an American lawyer and politician.


He was the son of Thomas Smith, a lawyer.

In 1865, he was elected District Attorney of Albany County, and in 1868 he led the prosecution of George W. Cole (brother of Cornelius Cole) at his trial for the murder of former state assemblyman L. Harris Hiscock.

In the Summer of 1869, he was illegally arrested with other Albany and Susquehanna Railroad executive members during Jay Gould and Jim Fisk's attempt to buy the railroad.[1]

He was a Republican member of the New York State Assembly (Albany Co., 2nd D.) in 1867 and 1872; and was Speaker in 1872. During his Speakership he received a large retainer for legal services rendered to the Erie Railroad at a time when Erie Railroad bills were under debate, which led to accusations that he was bribed to support the bills. The next year a State Senate Investigating Committee probed into this matter.

In 1883, he pronounced his opinion that a "People's Party" should be formed by both Democratic and Republican politicians to oppose "corporate interests" and politicians like John Kelly and John F. Smyth.

Smith died in Albany on December 1, 1884. He was buried at Cobleskill Rural Cemetery in Cobleskill.


  1. ^ "Documents of the State of New York Volume 6 - Charges Against Justice George G. Barnard, and Testimony Thereunder, Before the Judiciary Committee of the Assembly". Weed, Parsons and Company, Printers. 1872. p. 3,6,7. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  • [1] His view on the forming of a new party, in NYT on September 1, 1883
  • [2] Political Graveyard
  • [3] Mention in NYT on January 7, 1906
  • [4] Assemblymen elected for the Session of 1872, in NYT on December 1, 1871
  • [5] Controversy about his legal services to Erie Railroad, in NYT on October 15, 1872
  • [6] Proceedings of the State Senate's Erie Railroad Investigation in NYT on March 20, 1873
  • Google Book Murder on Trial 1620-2002 by Robert Asher, Lawrence B. Goodheart & Alan Rogers (SUNY Press, 2005, ISBN 0-7914-6378-8)
  • [7] Obit notice in NYT on December 2, 1884
  • [8] Life Sketches of the State Officers, Senators and Members of Assembly in 1867

See also[edit]

New York Assembly
Preceded by
Lyman Tremain
New York State Assembly
Albany County, 2nd District

Succeeded by
Francis H. Woods
Preceded by
Robert C. Blackall
New York State Assembly
Albany County, 2nd District

Succeeded by
Henry R. Pierson
Political offices
Preceded by
William Hitchman
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Succeeded by
Alonzo B. Cornell