Biography of Hon. Gabriel L. Smith
Chemung County, NY Biographies





Smith, Hon. Gabriel Lewis, born in Orange County, N. Y., August 4, 1829, is now the oldest practicing attorney at the bar of Elmira. He was educated in the Greenbrook Family School at Plainfleid, N. J., and began the study of law in the office of Diven, Hathaway & Wood at Elmira in 1847, being admitted to the bar in 1850. He first practiced at Millport, Chemung County, where he was first a partner with Judge Theodore North and afterward with Mr. Dailey. About 1853 he returned to Elmira, where he has since resided. At about the beginning of the war of the Rebellion he was selected by Governor Morgan as one of the historic senatorial committee for the enlistment of troops, and soon afterward was appointed adjucant with authority to raise the One Hundred and Seventh Regiment, which was done by General Van Valkenburgh, General Diven, Rev. Thomas K. Beecher, Mr. Smith, and others, Mr. Smith mustering in personally nearly 500 men. This regiment received a prize banner from Governor Morgan for being the first regiment mustered in under the President's call for 300,000 men, and it received the personal thanks of President Lincoln for being the first regiment to arrive in Washington under that call. The first colonel of the regiment was Hon. R. B. Van Valkenburgh, late chief judge of the Supreme Court of Florida, and its second colonel was Gen. A. S. Diven, who were both members of Congress at the time. Mr. Smith was its first adjutant, its first major. and its second lieutenant colonel, but was forced by physical disability to leave the service in the spring of 1863, receiving an honorable discharge from the hospital in Washington. In 1864 he was elected county judge and surrogate and served one term. In 1865 Gov. David B. Hill entered his office as partner, and they practiced law together under the firm name of Smith & Hill until 1874, in the same offices where Mr. Smith now is, and which he has occupied continuously since 1857. In 1890 Mr. Smith was appointed by Governor Hill one of the constitutional commission to propose revision of the judiciary article of the constitution, and acted with the commission until it had performed its work, but being opposed to almost every one of its recommendations. Colonel Smith is past commander of Post 6 of the G. A. R., is a thirty second degree Mason, an earnest Republican in politics, and has a very extensive practice as a lawyer.

From:
Our County and its people
A History of the Valley and County of Chemung
BY: Ausburn Towner
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, N. Y. 1892


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