Robert B. Smith
Brief Biographical Sketch
quoted from Mt.Gov
Governor Robert B. Smith, a Democrat-Populist, was born
December 29, 1854, in Hickman County, Kentucky. A former delegate to the
Constitutional Convention, Governor Smith served from 1897 to 1901. Under
Montana's third governor, the State University at Missoula, the State
Agricultural College in Bozeman, and the Normal (Teacher) School in Dillon
from Montana Capitol
Robert Burns Smith was born
December 29, 1854 on a farm in Hickman County, Kentucky. He received an
academic education in the public schools and completed his education in
the high school at Milburn, Kentucky, at the age of twenty. After being
employed one year as an instructor in the same institution, he went to
Charleston, Missouri in September, 1876. Smith was elected principal of
the Charleston Classical Academy and held this position until June, 1877.
He then began the reading of law in Mayfield, Kentucky in the office of
Colonel Edward Crossland. In October, 1877, he was admitted to the bar at
Mayfield and engaged in the practice of law for three and a half years. He
came to Dillon, Montana in September, 1882 and practiced law in Dillon
until 1889, when he went to Helena and formed a law partnership with Hon.
Smith was a member of the constitutional convention of
1884 and in 1885 was appointed United State District Attorney for Montana
by President Cleveland. After serving four years as US District Attorney
and one year as City Attorney of Helena, he was the unsuccessful nominee
of the People’s party (Populist Party) for Representative in Congress from
Montana in 1894.
In November, 1896 Smith was elected governor of Montana on
the Democratic ticket through a coalition of democrats and populists.
After serving one term as governor, he resumed the practice of law at
Butte for 5 years. When failing health forced his retirement, Smith
relocated to the east shore of Flathead Lake where he engaged in the
He died November 16, 1908 in Kalispell, Montana.
Montana Governor Index