RUFUS DANA SMITH was born at Newark, Caledonia County, Vermont, May 2, 1846. His parents were natives of that
State. His father in early life followed the trade of joiner, but after forty years of age devoted himself to tilling
the soil. In the gold excitement of 1849 be visited California, spending one year in the mines very successfully,
then returning to his home in Vermont, in 1868, he moved to Minnesota where he died at the age of eighty years.
The subject of this sketch, being filled with youthful patriotism, enlisted at the age of fifteen years, in Company
K, of the Eighth Vermont Infantry, Colonel Thomas in command. The regiment was mustered in February 10, 1862, and
was immediately ordered South, going to Ship Island, where they joined the troops under General Butler and from
there to New Orleans, then to Algiers. He was taken prisoner at Bayou des Allemands in September, 1862; a detachment
of 150 were sent then to guard a bridge, and they were surrounded by about 1,500 men and all captured. They were
then sent to New Iberia on Bayou Teche, where they passed ten weeks in a prison camp and suffered terribly from
short allowances of food and water, and the little food received was worm eaten and the water stale and muddy.
Many died from the effects. From New Iberia they were taken to the Vicksburg jail, and in November, 1862, were
paroled, and our subject joined his regiment. In 1863 they were under General Banks, marching through the same
swampy, malarious district, and in April, 1864, Mr. Smith was discharged, owing to disability caused by imprisonment
and exposure. He then returned home to recuperate, and February 10, 1865, reenlisted in Company D, Ninth Regiment
Veteran Reserve Corps, composed of veterans more or less disabled. They were first stationed in Northern Vermont
to guard the banks and private property from the depredations of Rebel sympathizers, then living in Canada. Later
they were sent to Washington and served as guard about the White House, and were mustered out at that place, November
The subject of this sketch then returned to Vermont and followed farming until 1867, when he was married at Barton,
Orleans County, Vermont, January 9, to Miss Lucy M. Lebourvean, and in May of the same year they went to Spring
Valley, Minnesota. He then farmed for five years, and, on account of failing health, went into a store and clerked
four years. He never recovered from the exposure of the war, and for a Milder climate went to Santa Barbara in
1876, and there had his leg amputated. After recovering, in 1877, he was elected Justice of the Peace, and reelected
in 1879, but resigned in March,1880. He was then appointed Under Sheriff by C. E. Sherman, and later by R. J. Broughton,
thus holding the office continuously to the present date.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith have five children living, and have lost one son. He is a member of Magnolia Lodge, No 242,
F. and A.M., and Starr King Post, No. 52, Department of California, G. A. R.
A Memorial and Biographical History
of the counties of
Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo
and Ventura, California
The Lewis Publishing Company
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