Biography of Edwin Burrett Smith
Cook County, Il Biographies

SMITH, EDWIN BURRLTT. - Born at Spartansburg, Crawford county, Pa., Jan. 18, 1854. His parents, Henry J. and Emily (Kinney) Smith, were both of New England parentage, their ancestry dating back to the earliest settlements. Mr. Smith's father and mother both taught school in early life. His father, a farmer, was active in local matters, an ardent abolitionist, and held a number of local offices. His parents having died before he was five years old, art uncle brought him to central Illinois in the spring of 1860. From the time of the death of this uncle, in 1864, until his eighteenth year, he worked by the month for various farmers in the vicinity of Cerro Gordo, Ill. He then studied in the public schools of Cerro Gordo for two years, taught country schools and attended Oberlin College during the next two years, and from 1876 to the close of 1877 was principal of the schools at Spartansburg, Pa. Early in 1878 Mr. Smith came to Chicago and entered the Union College of Law, where he was graduated in the class of 1879, receiving the cash prize for the best thesis. Durbig the last year of his course he studied in the office of James L. High, and taught part of each day in the Bryant & Stratton Business College. The following year he attended Yale University, receiving the degree of Master of Law in 1880. Returning to Chicago early in 1881, Mr. Smith began the practice of law with Charles S. Harmon in the office of Stanford & Kohlsaat. In 1883 he became one of the editors of the new edition of the "New York Common Law Reports," and subsequently spent about two years at Washington engaged in reporting the decisions of the United States supreme court for the new edition. He has also reported many volumes of the Illinois appellate court reports. From 1888 to 1891 Mr. Smith was a law partner of Mr. Thomas Dent, the firm being known as I)ent & Smith. Since early in 1891 he has practiced alone, representing many important interests, especially in real estate and corporation law, and now has a large and successful practice. He is an active member of the American Bar Association and the member for Illinois of its standing committee on uniform state laws, and has recently been appointed by Governor Altgeld a member of the Illinois hoard of commissioners for the promotion of uniform legislation in the United States. Until 1884 Mr. Smith was a republican. In the campaign of that year he was secretary of the strong Illinois committee of independents and a member of the national independent committee that supported Mr. Cleveland, and he has since acted with the democratic party, especially in favor of Mr. Cleveland's leadership. He has been a member of the executive committee of the Illinois Tariff Reform League since its organization. He is a member of the Chicago, Literary, University and Congregational clubs, He is also a member of the Congregational church, and has for some years been superintendent of the Armour Mission Sunday school, one of the largest in the country. Oberlin College conferred upon him the degree of Master of Arts at its last commencement. Mr. Smith was married November 8, 1883, to Miss Emma J. Dauman, of Downington, Pa., and has three children, two sons and a daughter.

The Handbook of Chicago Biography
Edited by John J Flinn.
The Standard Guide Company
Chicago 1893


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