James M. Smith

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James M. Smith Jr (ca. 1810 New Baltimore, Greene County, New York – June 5, 1898 Manhattan, New York City) was an American lawyer and politician from New York.


He married Emily F. Sherman, and they had eleven children, among them Police Justice Frank Sherman Smith (ca. 1847-1885). None of them survived their parents.

In November 1854, he was elected on the Democratic ticket (a fusion of Hards and Softs) as Recorder of New York City, defeating the incumbent Francis R. Tillou. Upon the creation of the Metropolitan Police in 1857, Recorder Smith became one of the commissioners of the Police Board, along with Mayor Fernando Wood and City Judge Sydney H. Stuart. When Mayor Wood resisted the new police force, maintaining the abolished Municipal Police instead, Smith issued a warrant for the arrest of the mayor, which led to the New York City Police Riot. In October 1857, Smith was defeated for re-nomination on the Tammany ticket by George G. Barnard.

Later Smith left Tammany Hall, and joined the Anti-Tammany Democratic organizations in New York City, like Mozart Hall and Irving Hall. In 1872, Smith was nominated for New York County District Attorney on the "National Democratic" ticket.

In the summer of 1896, his wife died in a horse-carriage accident. Smith then retired from the bar, sold his home at 71 East Fifty-Sixth Str., and went to live in a boarding house in Fourteenth Str. Smith died after several months of suffering from "rheumatic gout" at the home of Mrs. Mary Koehler, 44 Seventh Ave., in Manhattan. He was buried in the Sherman family plot in New Baltimore, NY.


Legal offices
Preceded by
Francis R. Tillou
Recorder of New York City
Succeeded by
George G. Barnard