William Smith (judge)

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William Smith, New York Judge.

William Smith (1697–1769) was an English-American lawyer and jurist.


He was born in Newport Pagnell in England, emigrating with his family to New York in 1715. He became a judge of the Province of New York. In 1760, Smith was offered the position of chief justice of the province. Against the advice of friends and family, he turned down the offer. Smith's son, the younger William Smith, was then offered the position, which he accepted. The elder Smith's actions in this instance would prove popular with the Patriots in the American Revolution.


He was the father, by his first wife Mary Het, of William Smith, Joshua Hett Smith, and Doctor Thomas Smith. His second wife was Elizabeth Scott, widow of Elisha Williams.


  • Nelson, Paul David. "Smith, William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/68746. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)