James Francis Smith

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For the Australian politician, see James Francis Smith (politician).
James Francis Smith
General Smith as shown in a 1901 Santa Clara College souvenir
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
In office
June 17, 1901 – January 1903
Appointed by William McKinley
Governor-General of the Philippines
In office
Appointed by Theodore Roosevelt
Preceded by Henry Ide
Succeeded by William Cameron Forbes
Personal details
Born (1859-01-28)January 28, 1859
Died June 29, 1928(1928-06-29) (aged 69)

James Francis Smith (January 28, 1859 – June 29, 1928) was an American Brigadier General, associate justice to the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Governor-General of the Philippines, and associate judge of the U.S. Court of Customs Appeals until his death.


Smith attended Santa Clara College, graduating with B.A. and M.A. degrees, and went to Hastings College of Law. He was admitted to the California bar in 1881 and wed to Lillie A. Dunnigan in 1885.

Military career[edit]

Commissioned as a colonel of 1st California Volunteer Infantry on May 6, 1898, Smith was part of the first expeditionary force to the Philippines in the Spanish-American War. Smith served with friend Theodore Roosevelt in the Rough Riders. His regiment took part in the Battle of Manila (1898). After hostilities ceased against Spain, he saw action in the Philippine-American War in the first part of 1899, and was promoted to brigadier general. In July, 1899 he was made military governor of Negros Island.

Political career[edit]

William Howard Taft who was then Governor-General, appointed Smith to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, where he served from June 17, 1901 to January, 1903. Smith later worked under the Taft Commission to devise a legal code for the Philippines. From 1906 to 1909 he was Governor-General; the new Philippine Assembly was convened during this time, in 1907. He was close friends with Frank W. Higgins.

In March, 1910, four months after his return to the United States, Taft appointed Smith to the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals. He served until his death in 1928.


  • A brief history of the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals by Giles S. Rich. Washington, D.C. : Published by authorization of Committee on the Bicentennial of Independence and the Constitution of the Judicial Conference of the United States : U.S. G.P.O., 1980.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Henry Clay Ide
Governor-General of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Newton W. Gilbert