Monday, December 12, 2011

Meet the Generals: John Corson Smith, Freemason

Above is a bronze medal with the General's depiction.

As mentioned previously, the next couple of generals will not have two much detail initially, but future posts will delve more into these generals' lives.  The first of these "no-name" generals is one who was an Illinois politician following his career in the military.

John Corson Smith was born February 13, 1832 in Philadelphia, Pa.  He moved to Galena in 1854, and was an active freemason.  When the Civil War broke out he enlisted in the 74th Illinois as a private, but later he formed Company I of the Illinois 96th Volunteers.  He took part in many battles, was wounded, and before being mustered out he attained the rank of General.  He was brevetted Brigadier General, US Volunteers on June 20, 1865 for "meritorious services".

Following the war, he served as Illinois State Treasurer from 1870-81 and from 1883-85, and then he served as Lieutenant Governor of the state from 1885-89.  In 1876, he served as Commissioner of the Centennial Exposition.  

John C. Smith may be best known for his long time service to the Masonic Order.  In his New York Times obituary, his service in the Masonry was the first thing to be noted.  He was noted as being "one of the most active members of the Masonic order in the United States for many years."  He also held many honorary offices in the order.  He was also known for his books on Masonic history,  including "History of Freemasonry in Illinois", which he wrote in 1903. Another book was entitled "The History of Freemasonry in Galena, IL"

John Corson Smith died on December 31, 1910 in Chicago.  He is entombed in Greenwood Cemetery in Galena.

John Corson Smith
His tombstone in Greenwood Cemetery in Galena. Below his headstone entitled "Father", he left behind three sons at the time of his death.
   John Corson Smith

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