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Preston King/Simeon Smith Papers

Preston King/Simeon Smith Papers

Collection Number: 
13
Collection Length: 
7.25ft
Period: 
1829 to 1893
Finding Aid: 

Preston King, politician, was born October 11, 1806 in Ogdensburg, New York. He was educated in Ogdensburg and graduated from Union College in 1827. He passed the bar after a study of law in Silas Wright's office. In 1830 he established the St. Lawrence Republican. From 1831-1834 he served as postmaster in Ogdensburg at which tine he was elected to the Assembly. From 1834 until 1847 he was a member of congress and also served from 1849 to 1853. Mr. King was involved in the Canadian Rebellion of 1837-38. In 1854 he left the Democratic party and joined the Republican party. In 1857 he was elected to the U.S. Senate serving until 1863. King was chairman of the National Committee of the Republican party from 1860 to 1864. President Andrew Johnson appointed King as collector of customs in New York City the summer of 1865. Thinking himself unfit for the position he committed suicide by jumping from a ferryboat in the Hudson River on November 12, 1865. Preston King had never married. Simeon Smith was a law clerk in the office of Preston King and was married to Jane Webster, a cousin of King. In 1845 Smith moved to Washington and became a clerk in the Registry of Patents Office. In 1860 he became the paymaster of the Army in Illinois and later moved to Chatfield, Minnesota. There, Smith conducted an active law practice and assisted immigrants in taking up land grants in the West.