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SMITHER, ROBERT GOODLOE (1811–1853). Robert Goodloe Smither, merchant and soldier, was born on November 21, 1811, at Washington, Rappahannock County, Virginia, the son of John and Mary Patience (Greenway) Smither. After residing for a time in Mississippi and Louisiana, he moved to Texas in the early 1830s and established a mercantile business in Walker County a few miles from Huntsville. He later became one of the town's leading merchants; according to the 1850 census, his real estate was valued at $6,000.

With the outbreak of the Texas Revolution Smither was commissioned a major in the revolutionary army. As major of the Third Regiment of the Second Brigade of Texas militia, commanded by Col. Joseph L. Bennett, he participated in the repulse of the raids of Rafael Vásquez and Adrián Woll in 1842. In July 1852 he was appointed a member of the executive committee of Austin College.

He was married to Elizabeth Emmeline Calmes of South Carolina. The couple had seven children. Smither was a Democrat, an Odd Fellow, and a devout church member. He died at Grande Encore, Louisiana, on September 10, 1853, on return from a business trip to New York. His son James Gabriel Smither was a member of the Thirty-first Texas Cavalry and later superintendent of the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville.


Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Joseph Milton Nance, Attack and Counterattack: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1842 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

Thomas W. Cutrer


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

Thomas W. Cutrer, "SMITHER, ROBERT GOODLOE," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed October 09, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.