Date of Birth : Jan 3rd 1989
Smith was born in St. Albans, Vermont, son of John and Maria (Curtis) Smith. The elder Smith was a pioneer railroad builder in Vermont, and a leading lawyer and public man of his generation. John Gregory graduated from the University of Vermont in 1841, and subsequently Yale Law School.
He married in 1842, Anne Eliza, daughter of Lawrence Brainerd, prominent in her own right as the author of several novels and other books.
Smith became associated with his father in his law practice and railroad management. After his father’s death in 1858, he succeeded to the position of trustee under the lease of the Vermont and Canada Railroad. Simultaneously he entered politics, and for many years the career in each line was involved with the other. He was also one of the originators of the Northern Pacific Railway enterprise and was the president of the corporation from 1866 to 1872. Under his lead five hundred and fifty-five miles of the road were built.
He entered the Legislature as St. Albans’ representative in 1860, and in 1861 and 1862 was speaker of the House, winning such popularity that he was unanimously nominated for Governor in 1863, succeeding Frederick Holbrook, and re-elected in 1864. He was particularly solicitous in caring for the Vermont soldiers at the front during the American Civil War, and his many deeds of kindness won him many enthusiastic and life-long admirers. He was chairman of the state delegation to the Republican National Conventions in 1872, 1880, and 1884. After his retirement as governor he held no public office, though for about twenty years he was the master of Vermont politics, frequently talked of for a seat in the United States Senate, particularly in 1886, and again in 1891, but in both cases he withdrew his name.