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SMITH, JOHN N. O.

SMITH, JOHN N. O. (1815–1851). John N. O. Smith, soldier, state legislator, and newspaper publisher, was born in Massachusetts in 1815. Smith came to Texas prior to 1836. On February 1, 1836, he enlisted for service with Sam Houston’s forces in the Texas Revolution. He served as a sergeant major and participated in the battle of San Jacinto. He served until May 1, 1836. On April 12, 1838, Smith received a grant for one-third league of land in Harris County for his service in the revolution, but he lost his certificate and obtained a replacement certificate in 1840 and sold his headright certificate in 1845. Smith was also the original grantee for 320 acres of land in present-day Erath County in 1847.

On April 24, 1842, he married Margaret Farrell. In September 1842 Smith was elected captain of a company for a new foray against Mexico—the Somervell expedition—but remained in Gonzales County due to illness. Around this time he settled in Houston, Harris County, and established himself in the newspaper business. In 1841 Smith published the Houstonian. From December 1843 to October 1844, he published a newspaper which was issued under several titles, including The Citizen, the Weekly Citizen, and the Texian Democrat. He was also president of the first Typographical Association of Texas.

In 1846 Smith served as representative for Harris County in the House of the First Texas Legislature. He was a member of the Education Committee, Public Printing Committee, and several select committees, and he chaired the Select Committee on An act for the incorporation of all Lodges of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of the State of Texas. Politically, Smith was a Democrat, his constituency consisting of “Farmers, Mechanics, and Working Men.” Smith died in Houston on May 5, 1851, and was buried in City Cemetery (now known as Founders’ Memorial Park) in Houston.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Legislative Reference Library of Texas: John N. O. Smith (http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=5482&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=smith~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=), accessed September 10, 2014. Douglas C. McMurtrie, “Pioneer Printing in Texas,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 35 (January 1932). Andrew Forest Muir, “Algernon P. Thompson,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 51 (October 1947). Veteran Biographies: Smith, John N.O. (http://www.sanjacinto-museum.org/Library/Veteran_Bios/Bio_page/?id=768&army=Texian), accessed September 10, 2014. Ralph A. Wooster, “Early Texas Politics: The Henderson Administration,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 73 (October 1969). Jeri & John Worm, comps., “Harris County, Texas—Founders’ Memorial Park” (http://files.usgwarchives.net/tx/harris/cemeteries/founders.txt), accessed September 10, 2014.

Aragorn Storm Miller
Aragorn Storm Miller

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Handbook of Texas Online, Aragorn Storm Miller, "Smith, John N. O.," accessed October 22, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsmag.

Uploaded on September 13, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.