George William Smith

Gov. George William Smith


January 15, 1811 - January 19, 1811
April 3, 1811 - December 28, 1811

January 1, 1762

December 26, 1811



Succeeded, Died in office

Birth State

Married twice--Sarah Adams, Jane Reade Jones; eight children by his first marriage


GEORGE WILLIAM SMITH was born at Bathurst in Essex County, Virginia. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1801, 1802, 1807 and 1808. He entered the Virginia Privy Council–or Council of State–in 1807. As President of the Council, he served as acting governor for just a few days prior to the election of James Monroe, but assumed the governorship again three months later after Monroe resigned to become Secretary of State. Although he won election by his own right via joint ballot of the state legislature on December 5, 1811, he died just three weeks later in a fire that destroyed the Richmond Theater. Smith and the many other victims of the fire were buried beneath a marble monument in the portico of the Monumental Church erected on the site of the burned theater.

*Note: exact date of birth is not known.


Leonard, Cynthia Miller, comp. The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619-January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members. Richmond: published for the General Assembly of Virginia by the Virginia State Library, 1978.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 5. New York: James T. White & Company.

Library of Virginia, Virginia Governor (1811: Smith), Executive Papers. Accession 41324. Biographical/Historical Note. State Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA 23219.

Salmon, Emily and Edward D. C. Campbell, Jr. Hornbook of Virginia History. 4th ed. Richmond: Library of Virginia, 1994.

Smith, Margaret Vowell. Virginia, 1492-1892: A History of the Executives. Washington, D.C.: W. H. Lowdermilk & Co., 1893.

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols