Green Clay Smith photo   Green Clay Smith photo

Green Clay Smith
(July 4, 1826 – June 29, 1895)

The second presidential candidate of the Prohibition Party Green Clay Smith, was born in Richmond, Kentucky, July 2, 1832.  His father, John Speed Smith, was of Revolutionary sires and served as aide-de-camp to Gen. William Henry Harrison during the War of 1812.
     Green Clay Smith began attending school in Richmond.  He attended Center College in Danville, Kentucky until in his 15th year, and when the Mexican War began in May, 1846, he volunteered in Captain James Stone’s company of cavalry, Col. Humphrey Marshall’s regiment; and having drilled a company of small boys for a year or two before the war, was elected second lieutenant by Stone’s company, and served as such in the War for one year.  For gallant service, he was offered the position of adjutant-general on General Thomas Marshall’s staff, with the rank of major, but declined, preferring to remain with his company.
     After his return home, he entered Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, and, after graduating, studied law, graduating in two years from the law department of the same University.  He began law practise with his father in Richmond, Kentucky, where he remained for several years.  He married Miss Lena Duke, daughter of James K. Duke, nephew of Chief Justice John Marshall, United States Supreme Court.  He removed from Richmond to Covington, Kentucky, and entered upon his profession with great success, being elected to the legislature just at the beginning of the civil troubles.  He was a strong, uncompromising Union man.  When the Civil War broke out, he volunteered as a private in Col. Bush Foley’s “home regiment for home protection.”  Having served his time in the legislature, he became colonel of the 4th Kentucky Cavalry and went to the front and was engaged in active service in the Army of Tennessee and the Cumberland.  For gallant services in the Battle of Lebanon, Tennessee, where he was wounded, he was promoted to brigadier-general, commanding the 4th Brigade cavalry, under Gen. Rosecrans.  While in the field, in 1864, he was elected to Congress, and took his seat December 1, 1864; was again elected to the 39th Congress, and after his term, was appointed governor of Montana by President Johnson.  In 1864, his name was presented as a candidate for the vice-presidency, but he was defeated by Andrew Johnson in the convention by half a vote.  He remained in that position nearly three years, and upon returning to Kentucky abandoned politics and entered the ministry in the Baptist Church.  Up to the time of his death, which occurred June 29, 1895, he served the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
     Gen. Smith had always been a strong temperance man.  He belonged to the Sons of Temperance and Good Templars, and was elected chief of both orders in Kentucky.  In 1876, he was unanimously nominated for president by the Prohibition Party.

— Data from An Album of Representative Prohibitionists (1895)