Nathaniel Smith

January 6, 1762
March 8, 1822
Home Town:
Woodbury, CT
Ruth Benedict Smith (1789)
Biographical Notes:
Nathaniel Smith was the son of Richard and Annis (Hurd) Smith. His father was a man "of small means" who moved frequently. He travelled as a peddler with his younger brother Nathan, between Philadelphia and the Northern parts of New England. While on a trip to Rutland, VT, he went to visit the local court while in session to see what it entailed and decided to become a lawyer. His first attempts to enter the Litchfield Law School were dissuaded by Judge Reeve, due to Smith's lack of an education. However, Smith persisited and impressed Reeve with his interpretation and memory of an historical text which Reeve had asked him to read. Reeve admitted him to the Litchfield Law School.

Smith completed his studies at the Law School and was admitted to the bar. Afterwards, he returned to ...

Years at LLS:
Other Education:
He received his early education at common schools.

Profession / Service
Lawyer; Political Office
Admitted To Bar:
Political Party:
Federal Posts:
U.S. Representative (CT) 1795-1799
State Posts:
State Representative (CT) 1789, 1791-1792, 1794-1795
State Senator (CT) 1800-1805
Judge of the Supreme Court (CT) 1806-1819
State's Attorney for Litchfield County (CT) 1804
State Committees:
Delegate to the Hartford Convention in 1814

Related Objects and Documents
In the Ledger:
help The Citation of Attendance provides primary source documentation of the student’s attendance at the Litchfield Female Academy and/or the Litchfield Law School. If a citation is absent, the student is thought to have attended but currently lacks primary source confirmation.

Records for the schools were sporadic, especially in the formative years of both institutions. If instructors kept comprehensive records for the Litchfield Female Academy or the Litchfield Law School, they do not survive. Researchers and staff have identified students through letters, diaries, family histories and genealogies, and town histories as well as catalogues of students printed in various years. Art and needlework have provided further identification of Female Academy Students, and Litchfield County Bar records document a number of Law School students. The history of both schools and the identification of the students who attended them owe credit to the early 20th century research and documentation efforts of Emily Noyes Vanderpoel and Samuel Fisher, and the late 20th century research and documentation efforts of Lynne Templeton Brickley and the Litchfield Historical Society staff.
Handwritten list on loose papers of LLS Students "prior to 1798," inside Catalogue of Litchfield Law School. Hartford, CT: Press of Case, Tiffany and Company, 1849. Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, Litchfield Historical Society.
Secondary Sources:
Kilbourne, Dwight C. The Bench and Bar of Litchfield County, Connecticut 1709-1909. Litchfield, CT: Published by the Author, 1909.

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