Joseph Rowe Smith, Sr., Family Papers,   1823-1920, and undated
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History

Biography:

Joseph Rowe Smith, Sr. (1802-1868) was a U.S. Army Brigadier General. He graduated from the Military Academy in 1823 and was assigned to the Infantry. Smith soon became Adjutant of his regiment. He was part of a survey mission in Florida in 1823, during which he fought Seminole Indians. Smith traveled from New York (State) throughout Michigan as well as Florida, 1823-1835. In September 1835 he was appointed adjutant of the 2nd Infantry. Smith fought in the Mexican border wars, in which he was wounded twice. His elbow wound went untreated by American doctors for a year, resulting in disability from active service. Yet, during the Civil War, Smith served as the military commander of Detroit with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was breveted as a Brigadier General at the end of the Civil War. Smith was happily married to Juliet by 1829. They had at least seven children: Louisa (June 1830- ), Joseph Rowe Smith, Jr. (April 18, 1831-1911? ), Elizabeth (March 21, 1832- ) [all three born in New York (State)[, Caroline (August 18, 1833-August 25, 1834), Warren (December 30, 1834-January 2, 1835) [both born and died at Fort Mackinac], Henry W. Smith (died 1869), and Horace (dates unknown).

Joseph Rowe Smith, Sr. was the brother of Lydia Ann Smith Roberts and General Henry Smith. Lydia married Colonel E. J. Roberts and they had three children: Mrs. George R. Griswold, and twins, Juliet and Col. Horace S. Roberts. Both Joseph Rowe Smith, Sr. and his brother, General Henry Smith, were distinguished officers and residents of Monroe, Michigan. Joseph Rowe Smith died in 1868 and is buried in Woodland Cemetery, Monroe.

Joseph Rowe Smith, Jr. (1831-1911?) graduated from the University of Michigan (U of M), class of 1848. He earned an A.B. and an A.M. He also earned a degree in medicine from the University of Buffalo, New York. Junior entered the army in 1854 and served with distinction in Indian campaigns. During the Civil War he served as an Assistant Surgeon in 1861. In May 1861 Junior and his fellow medical staffers were captured by Confederate troops while working at an army hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Apparently after a prisoner exchange, he returned to the Army. Junior was Acting Surgeon General by July 1863 with the rank of Major. By a General Order from President Lincoln in February 1865 he became Surgeon General and Medical Director of the U.S. Army. Junior was twice breveted, once for meritorious service and once for superior ability and excellent management of his department. In 1901 he received an honorary L.L. D. from the U of M. Junior was later appointed Brigadier General (1904?). He retired from service in 1895 and lived at least through 1908. There is no verification that he died in 1911 except for an old catalog card. It is unknown whether he ever married or had children.

Junior’s younger brother, Henry W. Smith, served as an Assistant Adjutant General during the Civil War. He was appointed as a Lieutenant in the 3rd Cavalry and died a Brevet Lieutenant Colonel at Fort Stanton, New Mexico, in 1869.

Joseph, Jr. seems to have had at least one additional brother, Horace, who married and had a son, Joe R. Smith. Both Horace and Joe lived in Monroe. (This information is from the collection.)