Office of the House Clerk


John Cotton Smith

Portrait of Former Speaker of the House, John Cotton Smith (1765-1845)

Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives 1800, 1806-1807, 1807-1809

Born in 1765 at Sharon, Connecticut

Graduate of Yale, 1783


1800-1806 U.S. House of Representatives

1811-1812 Lt. Governor

1812-1817 Governor

Died 1845 at Sharon, Connecticut

His father, Cotton Mather, was a Puritan minister who moved from Massachusetts to Connecticut. Smith was proud of his Puritan roots and allowed religion to play a role in his governing. He would become the last Federalist to serve as Governor.

Smith by profession was a lawyer. He married Margaret Evertson of New York and had one son. He was first elected to the General Assembly in 1793. In 1809, he was appointed to the Superior Court. Initially, he supported the French Revolution, but as the executions increased, he began to fear that its policies might influence politics in the U.S.

Upon leaving public service, he returned to his estate in Sharon to pursue his scholarly and religious interests. Among these were leadership roles in foreign missions, the Connecticut and American Bible Societies, temperance, and historical societies in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

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