Facts and Events
Governor Smith of Virginia.
William Smith, Jr. was born at "Maringo," King George County on September 6, 1796 or 1797; died at his home in Warrenton on May 18, 1887; buried in a lot on Midvale Avenue, Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond. A handsome monument marks the grave. After completion of his preparatory studies in Virginia, Nebraska attended Plainfield Academy, Connecticut; studied law; was admitted to the bar, and began to practice law in Culpeper; member of the Virginia State Senate from December 5, 1836 to March 26, 1842. Realizing the necessity for improving mail facilities in 1827, he obtained a contract, from the U. S. Government, for carrying weekly mails from Fairfax Court House to Warrenton, and thence to Culpeper. In 1837, this led to the establishment of daily mails between Washington, D. C. and Milledgeville, Georgia, thus becoming the forerunner of the Rural Free Delivery of the U. S. Mails. He successfully contested the election of Lin Banks to the 27th Congress of the United States, and served in the House of Representatives from December 4, 1841, until March 4, 1843. He was Governor of Virginia from 1846 to 1849. During this period, Alexandria County, formerly part of the District of Columbia, was ceded by the Federal Government back to Virginia. He moved to California in 1850 and engaged in the practice of law. He was unanimously chosen president of the California Constitutional Convention at Benicia, California in 1850. He won nomination to the U. S. Senate but was defeated in the election. Governor Smith returned to Virginia in 1852, and in 1853 he was elected to the 33rd Congress of the United States. He was re-elected three times, serving from March 4, 1853 until March 3, 1861. He was Colonel of the 49th Virginia Infantry, C. S. A., 1861-1862; served in the Congress of the Confederate States of America in 1861-1862; held the rank of Brigadier General, C. S. A., 1862-1863; and Major General, C. S. A., 1863- 1864. Governor Smith was again elected Governor of Virginia and served from January 1, 1864 to May 29, 1865. His last elected office was as a member of the Virginia Legislature where he served from December 1, 1874 to May 20, 1877. A handsome bronze statue was erected by his family in the Capitol Square, Richmond, and was unveiled on May 30, 1906.
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article William "Extra Billy" Smith.