Robert Smith (Illinois politician)

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Robert Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 8th district
In office
March 4, 1857 – March 3, 1859
Preceded by James L. D. Morrison
Succeeded by Philip B. Fouke
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1849
Preceded by John Reynolds
Succeeded by William Henry Bissell
Personal details
Born (1802-06-12)June 12, 1802
Peterborough, New Hampshire
Died December 21, 1867(1867-12-21) (aged 65)
Alton, Illinois
Political party Democratic

Robert Smith (June 12, 1802 – December 21, 1867) was a U.S. Representative from Illinois, nephew of Jeremiah Smith and Samuel Smith of New Hampshire. Smith founded General Mills in 1856.[1]

Born in Peterborough, New Hampshire, Smith attended the public schools and New Ipswich Academy. He taught school. He engaged in mercantile pursuits in 1822 and in the manufacturing of textile goods in Northfield, New Hampshire in 1823. He studied law. He was admitted to the bar and practiced. He moved to Illinois and settled in Alton in 1832 and again engaged in mercantile pursuits.

Smith was elected captain in the state militia in 1832. He was an extensive land owner, and engaged in the real estate business. He served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1836-1840. He was elected enrolling and engrossing clerk of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1840 and 1842.

Smith was elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth Congresses and reelected as an Independent Democrat to the Thirtieth Congress (March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1849). He served as chairman of the Committee on Roads and Canals (Twenty-ninth Congress).

Smith was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-fifth Congress (March 4, 1857 – March 3, 1859). He served as chairman of the Committee on Mileage (Thirty-fifth Congress). He served as paymaster during the Civil War. He died in Alton, and was interred in Alton City Cemetery.

Smith attended an event in Greenville, Illinois in 1858 in which Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas gave speeches around the time of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.[2]


  1. ^ General Mills
  2. ^ Allan H. Keith, Historical Stories: About Greenville and Bond County, IL. Consulted on August 15, 2007.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Reynolds
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
William H. Bissell
Preceded by
James L. D. Morrison
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
Philip B. Fouke

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website