Smith, Gideon (1815–1892)


By: Stephanie P. Niemeyer

Type: Biography

Gideon Smith, planter and state legislator, was born in Madison County, Alabama, on April 10, 1815, to Nathan Alexander Smith and Martha (Amonette) Smith of Virginia. His father served under Andrew Jackson in the Creek and Cherokee War and was a state representative in both Alabama and Texas. On April 13, 1837, in Lowndes County, Mississippi, Gideon Smith married Mary Elizabeth Brownlee of Pickens County, Alabama. The couple had two sons and two daughters. In 1847, at the age of thirty-two, Smith moved the family to Harrison County, Texas, where he worked as a farmer for four years before settling in Red River, Fannin County, in 1851. At least one of his siblings, Dr. J. C. Smith, followed him to Texas and lived near him. Smith turned his property into a prosperous plantation and owned a number of slaves to work the land.

From November 1857 to November 1859 Smith served as a representative for Fannin County in the House of the Seventh Texas Legislature. In 1861 he served as a delegate to the Secession Convention and voted in favor of Texas’s secession from the United States. According to information on Smith’s tombstone, during the Civil War, he served as an officer in the Ninth Texas Cavalry.

Gideon Smith was a Baptist and a Mason. He died on February 15, 1892, and is buried in Willow Wild Cemetery in Bonham. His wife and his son, Gideon Smith, Jr. (1862–1901) are buried near him. A Texas Historical Marker commemorating the Smith Plantation in Fannin County was erected in 1980.

Biographical Souvenir of the State of Texas: Containing Biographical Sketches of the Representative Public, and Many Early Settled Families (Chicago: Battey, 1889; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Fannin County TXGenWeb: Historical Marker—Site of Smith Plantation (http://www.rootsweb.com/~txfannin/marker-smith.html), accessed October 13, 2014. Fannin County TXGenWeb: Smith Tombstones in Willow Wild Cemetery (http://www.rootsweb.com/~txfannin/wwsmith.html), accessed October 13, 2014. R. M. Lusk, A History of the Constantine Lodge No. 13 Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons (Bonham, 1917). James A. Mundie, Jr., with Bruce S. Allardice, Dean E. Letzring, and John H. Luckey, Texas Burial Sites of Civil War Notables: A Biographical and Pictorial Field Guide (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill College Press, 2002). Union and Confederate Indians in the Civil War (http://www.civilwarhome.com/unionconfedindians.htm), accessed October 13, 2014.

Categories:
  • Agriculture
  • Plantation Owners
  • Seventh Legislature (1857-1858)
  • House
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Stephanie P. Niemeyer, “Smith, Gideon,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 05, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/smith-gideon.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.