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John Quincy Smith (November 5, 1824December 30, 1901) was a farmer, politician and legislator from Ohiomarker.

John Q. Smith was born to Thomas Edward Smith (1783-1841) and Mary Kennedy Whitehill (1788-1849), natives of Virginiamarker, on their Warren County, Ohiomarker farm near Waynesvillemarker. A voracious reader, his early schooling was limited because of his duties on the family farm, but his father believed in the advantages of an education, so that John Quincy was able to spend a short time at Miami Collegemarker.

In July 1852, John Q. Smith married Lydia Emeline Evans, a native of Warren county. They had six children, one of whom died in childhood. In 1854, he relocated his young family to Clinton County, Ohiomarker.

He was elected to the Ohio Senate in 1859 as a Republican. In Columbus, during the legislative sessions, Smith's roommate was James A. Garfield, who was just starting out on his public career, and other intimate acquaintances were John Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant. In 1861, he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives, and served two years. In 1870, he was elected as a member of the Ohio State Board of Equalization. He was again elected State Senator in 1871.

In 1872, John Q. Smith was elected to Congress from Ohio's Third Congressional District. In 1874, he was renominated for Congress, but defeated by John S. Savage.

Smith was appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs in the Grant Administration on December 11, 1875. His administration saw several controversies, including the Great Sioux War of 1876-77 (including the Battle of the Little Bighornmarker), the removal of the Ponca Indians to Indian Territory and charges of corruption against his chief clerk, Samuel Galpin. He was removed from office on September 27, 1877.

President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Smith as United States consul general to Montreal, Canadamarker, serving from 1878 until he resigned in 1882.

He remained an ardent Republican until President Grover Cleveland's first administration, when he allied himself with the Democratic party because of his views on tariff reform, and thereafter he remained a Democrat. His published articles on tariff in the New York Evening Post attracted wide attention throughout the country and were extensively quoted by the press and on the stump.

John Quincy Smith left public life and retired to his farm “Sycamores” in Oakland, Ohio where he died. He is buried in Miami Cemetery, Waynesville, Ohio.


  • Taylor, William A. Ohio in Congress from 1803 to 1901. Columbus, Ohio: The XX Century Publishing Company, 1901.
  • History of Clinton County, Ohio. Chicago: W. H. Beers & Co., 1882.


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