BENJAMIN SMITH was born in Brunswick County, North Carolina on January 10, 1756. His education was attained in the common schools of his native state. He served as a South Carolina militia captain in 1775. He served as a delegate to the 1788 and 1789 state constitutional conventions; and was a member of the North Carolina Senate in 1784, 1792 to 1800, and 1806 to 1810. He also served as speaker of the senate from 1795 to 1799; and was a member of the North Carolina House of Commons from 1789 to 1792, 1801, and 1804 to 1805. In 1794, Smith secured an appointment to serve as brigadier general in the state militia, and in 1807 he was named adjutant general of the state. Smith next won election to the governorship in 1810. During his tenure, educational advancements were promoted; the initiation of a prison system was lobbied for; and a revision of the state criminal code was recommended. After completing his term, Smith later served in the North Carolina Senate, an office he held in 1816. Smith had a long relationship with the University of North Carolina, and had generously donated 20,000 acres of land to the school. He also served on the school’s first board of trustees in 1789, as well as serving as board president during his gubernatorial term. Governor Benjamin Smith passed away on January 27, 1826, and was buried in the Episcopal Churchyard in Wilmington, North Carolina.
North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources (search keyword: Governors)
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.