Albert O. Singleton

SMITH, ROBERT WAVERLY (1865–1930). Robert Waverly Smith, attorney, banker, and civic leader, son of Robert B. and Mary (Taylor) Smith, was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, on August 10, 1865. In the early 1880s he went to Austin, where he studied law at the University of Texas. He was admitted into the bar in 1889 and began practice in Galveston in the firm of Scott and Levi. He was soon offered a partnership. He served as city attorney of Galveston from 1893 to 1897 and successfully prosecuted a suit for the recovery by the city of the harbor frontage on Pelican Spit. He practiced with the firm of Terry, Ballinger, Smith and Cavin until 1901, when he was elected president of the First National Bank of Galveston. He held that position until his death. Smith was an active member of the Galveston Deep Water Committee. With his associates, F. D. Minor and Walter Gresham, he worked out a plan of city government that was adopted by Galveston in 1901. The success of the commission form caused it to be adopted by other American cities and studied by students of city government. Smith was vice president and director of the Galveston Wharf Company (see GALVESTON WHARVES), a regent of the University of Texas, and director of the Sealy and Smith Foundation for John Sealy Hospital. He was president of the foundation from April 1926 until his death. He was also president of the Galveston Commercial Association and the board of directors of the Rosenberg Library Association. Smith married Jennie Sealy, daughter of John Sealy, on September 29, 1896. He was a member of the New York Yacht Club and the Columbia Yacht Club of New York. He died after a short illness at his summer home in Glen Cove, Long Island, on July 12, 1930.


Alcalde (magazine of the Ex-Students' Association of the University of Texas), October 1930. Who Was Who in America, Vol. 2.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Albert O. Singleton, "SMITH, ROBERT WAVERLY," accessed July 17, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on March 25, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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