Elected 1789, Day 7; served to 1801

The Rev. William Smith was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, on September 7, 1727. After graduating from the University of Aberdeen in 1747, he became a clerk for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. In 1751 he came to America, where he became the first Provost of the College and Academy of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania). In 1753 he returned briefly to England and was ordained to the diaconate and, two days later, to the priesthood. In 1766, he and his brother laid out the town of Huntingdon, PA, named for the Countess of Huntingdon, a liberal donor to the College in Philadelphia, and in 1769 he founded the Corporation for the Relief of Widows and Children of Deceased Clergymen. Ten years later, he moved to Maryland, where he founded and became the first president of Washington College. Smith was present at the gatherings to set and approve the Constitution in 1784 and 1785, and attended every General Convention from 1789 to 1799. He was chosen as President of the House for all four of those Conventions but in 1799 his health was very poor and he was unable to preside. William Smith died at his home in Philadelphia in 1803.


A Sermon on the Present State of American Affairs, 1775. Preached at the request of the officers of the Third Battalion of Philadelphia in July of 1775.