Thursday, January 7, 2010

First Indiana Resident To Hold A Cabinet Position

Caleb Blood Smith a member of Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet died January 7th 1864.

Caleb Blood Smith was born April 16th 1808 in Boston Massachusetts. His parents moved the family to Ohio in 1815. Smith attended Cincinnati and Miami University, and than studied law, being admitted to the bar in 1828. He started the paper “The Sentinel” in 1832. After serving several terms in the Indiana Legislature, Smith was elected to the US Congress in 1843-1849 as a member of the Whig party. President Zachary Taylor appointed him to investigate claims made by Americans against Mexico. Smith returned in 1850 to Cincinnati and the practice of law.

President Abraham Lincoln appointed Smith in 1861 to be the United States Secretary of the Interior. Smith was the first resident of Indiana to hold a Presidential Cabinet position. However due to health issues, Smith let most the responsibilities of his jobs fall to his Assistant Secretary John Palmer Usher. In 1862 Smith temporarily filled the empty sear on the Supreme Court, left vacant by John Archibald Campbell, however Lincoln nominated David Davis to fill the position. Smith resigned in December 1862 do to differences in political oppion, and went back to Indiana where he served as a United States circuit judge.

Smith died January 7th 1864 in Indianapolis Indiana. He is believed to have been buried in the City Cemetery in Connersville Indiana. For two days after his death government building were draped in black by order of the President.

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