Abram D. Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Abram Daniel Smith (June 9, 1811 – June 3, 1865) was a leader of the Hunters' Lodges, a secret organization founded in 1838 in support of the Canadian Rebellions of 1837.

Early life[edit]

Smith was born in Lowville, New York. He eventually settled in Sackets Harbor, New York, where he read law. He married Mary Augusta Reed (1811-1866) of Westford, Massachusetts, in the fall of 1832. Mary’s family settled in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, then at Castleton, Vermont. Smith probably met her there when he was attending Castleton Medical School, graduating in 1831. The Smiths moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1836 or 37.[1]


Smith was a fervant member of the Equal Rights Party (also known as the Locofocos). They emphasized economic justice, and equal rights for all. Smith was elected a justice of the peace in Cleveland in March 1837.

Smith was a prominent leader of the Hunters' Lodge in Cleveland, and was elected president of the Republic of Canada at a convention of Hunters' Lodges in Cleveland in September 1838. The Lodges were organized much like the Freemasons, of which Smith was also a member. The Hunters' Lodges were behind the Patriot War against Canada, but it was ultimately unsuccessful due to the combined efforts of both the American and British governments.[2]

Smith moved to Milwaukee around 1842, where he eventually sat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court (1853–59).[3] One of his most famous decisions was given on “The unconstitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Act” in which he ruled that abolitionist Sherman Booth had not broken the law in freeing escaped slave Joshua Glover from capture. It made Wisconsin the only state to declare that act unconstitutional.

In December 1844, he was elected High Priest of the Milwaukee Royal Arch Chapter. The Grand Lodge of Wisconsin was formed on December 18, 1843, composed of three lodges (Warren, Madison, and New Diggings). By 1845, Smith was appointed deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge.[4]

He died on June 3, 1865.


  1. ^ Dunley, Ruth (2005–2006). "In search of A.D. Smith: A History Detective's Quest". The Wisconsin Magazine of History. 89 (2): 19.
  2. ^ Dunley, Ruth (2005–2006). "In search of A.D. Smith: A History Detective's Quest". The Wisconsin Magazine of History. 89 (2): 19–21.
  3. ^ Justice Abram D. Smith, Wisconsin Supreme Court
  4. ^ American Masonic Register and Literary Companion: 115. 6 June 1845.CS1 maint: Untitled periodical (link)