Thomas Slater Smith, attorney and state representative, was born to Thomas B. and Elizabeth (Slater) Smith in Cherokee County, Mississippi, on July 6, 1856. After graduating from Emory and Henry College in Washington County, Virginia, in 1877, he enrolled at the University of Virginia, where he received a law degree in 1878. He then established a law practice at Tupelo, Mississippi. He also served for two years as mayor of the community, where he married Alice Markham in September 1880.
In August 1884 Smith moved to Hillsboro, Texas, and continued practicing law. He became Hill county attorney the year he arrived and retained the office for two terms. By 1888 he had been named to the state Democratic committee for the Twenty-first Senatorial District. Smith served as a representative in the state legislature from 1893 to 1895 and acted as a presidential elector from the state in 1896. In 1898 he was elected attorney general of Texas. He campaigned successfully for reelection two years later. Smith was a Mason and a Knight of Pythias. He died in Austin during his second term in office, on March 15, 1901, and was buried at Hillsboro.