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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesMichigan

William Alden SMITH

(1859-1932)
Senate Years of Service:
1907-1919
Party:
Republican

SMITH, William Alden, a Representative and a Senator from Michigan; born in Dowagiac, Cass County, Mich., May 12, 1859; attended the common schools; moved with his parents to Grand Rapids in 1872; appointed a page in the Michigan house of representatives in 1875; studied law; admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Grand Rapids in 1883; general counsel of the Chicago-West Michigan Railway and the Detroit-Lansing Northern Railroad; assistant secretary of the Michigan State senate in 1883; State game warden 1887-1891; elected as a Republican to the Fifty-fourth and to the six succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1895, until his resignation, effective February 9, 1907, having been elected Senator; chairman, Committee on Expenditures in the Department of State (Fifty-sixth Congress), Committee on Pacific Railroads (Fifty-seventh and Fifty-eighth Congresses); elected as a Republican to the United States Senate on January 15, 1907, for the term beginning March 4, 1907; subsequently elected on February 6, 1907, to fill the vacancy in the term ending March 3, 1907, caused by the death of Russell A. Alger; reelected in 1913, and served from February 9, 1907, to March 3, 1919; was not a candidate for renomination in 1918; chairman, Committee on Canadian Relations (Sixty-first Congress), Committee on Territories (Sixty-second Congress), Committee to Examine Branches of the Civil Service (Sixty-third through Sixty-fifth Congresses); constructed a railroad in Michigan in 1898 and became owner of the Lowell-Hastings Railroad in 1900; owner and publisher of the Grand Rapids Herald in 1906; chairman of the board of directors of a transit company operating a line of steamboats from Chicago to various Lake Michigan ports; died in Grand Rapids, Mich., on October 11, 1932; interment in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Bibliography

Wade, Wyn Craig. “The Senator and the Shipwreck.” Michigan History 63 (November/December 1979): 10-19.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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