Walter Scott Smith
M, b. 20 July 1875, d. 6 July 1944
- Father: Woody Burge Smith b. 20 Feb 1847, d. 26 Oct 1934
- Mother: Sarah Catherine Griffin b. 15 Nov 1853, d. 20 Apr 1941
- Charts: Glenn Descendants, James GRIFFIN I Descendants, Robert Lee GRIFFIN of Clay Descendants, Wise Descendants
- Last Edited: 19 Dec 2012
- (Child) Birth*: 20 July 1875; Lineville, Clay Co., AL
- (Groom) Marriage*: 15 September 1903; Bride=Catherine Mae Bell
- (Deceased) Death*: 6 July 1944; Birmingham, Jefferson Co., AL
- Biography*: According to the Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Walter "received his education in the common schools of Lineville; attended the Lineville college, from which he was graduated A.B., in 1896, and was graduated LL.B., in 1898; entered the school of comparative jurisprudence and diplomacy at Columbian university in the fall of 1898, and graduated LL.M. in 1899, and with the degree of doctor of civil law in 1900. He was admitted to the bar in 1899 at Washington city and returned to practice in his native state. He was elected to the State senate, November, 1902 [34th District, representing Cleburne, Clay and Coosa Counties], and to the house of representatives the following year. He was a a Mason; and a Knight of Pythias."
- Biography: Written by Joel Campbell Dubose
Tuesday, 28 September 2010 00:00
WALTER SCOTT SMITH
BIOGRAPHY and GENEALOGY
Clay County, Alabama
Walter Scott Smith, one of the most learned and talented young lawyers in Alabama, and State senator from the Thirty-fourth senatorial district, was born in Lineville, Clay county, Ala., July 20, 1875. He entered Lineville Academy at an early age, and later Lineville College, alternating in his work between the schoolroom and his father's store. He early became bookkeeper and at sixteen was junior member of the firm of W. B. Smith & Co. Ten years of his life were spent in the mercantile business, where his pleasant personality, accommodating manners and high integrity won for him success and many friends.
At Lineville college, where he was graduated with the degree of bachelor of arts in 1896, he displayed unusual ability, invariably standing at the head of his class. He was awarded the medals for first honor, excellence in English, and best essays, and was especially proficient in the study of the English language and literature, Latin, Greek, French, German, history, economics and mathematics. He always delighted in "forensic fisticuffs" and was prominent in the work of the debating society, always representing his class in the oratorical contests on commencement occasions.
After completing his college course, he began, in September, 1896, a course in law in the Columbian university law school, at Washington, D. C., where he was under the instruction of some of the most eminent educators and jurists in this country, including Justices Harlan and Brewer, of the United States supreme court. In 1898 he was graduated from this institution with the degree of bachelor of laws.
In the following year, after a course in the school of comparative jurisprudence and diplomacy of Columbian university, he was graduated with the degree of master of laws, and in 1900, for actual work done, he was awarded the degree of doctor of civil law. At the same time he took a course in American and European diplomacy. He soon established a reputation in Washington as an orator and debater, and upon graduation was styled by the historian of his class "the orator of the South."
In 1898, as representative of his class, he won the first debaters' prize in competition with men who had received their college training at Yale and Princeton, taking the affirmative side of the question: "Resolved, That a Federal income tax is desirable." In 1899 he was one of Columbian university's representatives in an intercollegiate debate with Georgetown university, before an audience of 5,000 people, and his speech was commended as the best delivered on that occasion. In 1900 he was awarded a set of "American and English Encyclopedia of Law" in a competitive contest for the best thesis on the subject: "State Supervision of Corporations." Having made an exhaustive study of the question of trusts and monopolies, this same year he wrote a thesis upon his graduation on the subject: "Industrial Trusts and Monopolies." He was admitted to the bar of the supreme court of the District of Columbia in 1899, but did not enter actively upon the practice of his profession until the completion of his law course, when he returned to his native county, where he was also admitted to the Alabama bar and where he has since practiced law.
Being thoroughly grounded in the law, and possessed of an unusual talent for oratory, his determination and pluck won for him the confidence and esteem of the people throughout his section of the State. He made his first political speech in the campaign of 1896, when less than twenty-one years old, and afterward stumped his county for the Democratic party at every election. In 1902 he was elected to the Alabama senate from the thirty-fourth senatorial district, composed of Cleburne, Clay and Coosa counties.
In the senate he served as a member of the committees on judiciary, education, local legislation and commerce and common carriers. Although one of the youngest members ever elected to that body, he soon won the confidence and respect of his fellow senators, took an active part in legislation, and was regarded as one of the strong young men of the senate.
On April 11, 1904, he was a candidate for Congress to succeed the late Charles W. Thompson, but it was urged that he was too young to go to Congress, that he could afford to wait, and the argument had its force and effect.
Mr. Smith was a member of the Baptist church and takes an active but unostentatious part in church and Sunday school work. He assisted in organizing and for two years was president of the Baptist Young People's Union of his church. He was a Mason and a Knight of Pythias. On Sept. 16, 1903, he married, in the Baptist church at Lineville, Carrie Mae Bell, daughter of James A. and Arabella (Parker) Bell, of Lineville. Mrs. Smith comes from one of the best families in the State, and her father was an ex-tax collector of Clay county. Her paternal grandfather, Capt. John T. Bell, C. S. A., was killed while gallantly leading a charge at Frazer's Farm during the Seven Days' fight around Richmond.
Senator Smith was descended from ancestors who fought in the Revolution, and his father and paternal and maternal grandfathers were Confederate soldiers. His father, Woodie B. Smith, son of Washington S. Smith and Emily R. (Humphreys) Smith, was born in Chambers county, Ala., and was for years a leading resident of Clay county, where he was engaged in farming and merchandising. His mother, Sallie Catherine (Griffin) Smith, was the daughter of Robert and Mary Ann (Wise) Griffin, also of Lineville.1Walter Scott Smith