Santa Cruz County History - People

Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

SMITH, LUCAS F (1844-1924)

Santa Cruz Surf (September 27, 1894)

Portrait of Lucas F Smith
Portrait of Lucas F. Smith


Is the Peoples Party nominee for Judge of the Superior Court.

Mr. Smith has been a resident of this county about six years, coming here from Texas, although originally a resident of Indiana. On the day of his nomination Mr. Smith gave before the convention a very full review of his career. When a mere boy he enlisted in the army and served during the war participating in several of the noted campaigns and most important engagements. As he told the convention he was never shot in the back nor in the neck.

After the war he went to the Michigan Law School at Ann Arbor, and commenced practice in Indiana, afterwards removing to Texas and thence to California.

Mr. Smith stated before the convention that he had tried cases in nine different States, and that since coming to Santa Cruz he had been counsel for forty persons charged with felony only two of whom were convicted.

He is one of the most energetic and indefatigable [sic] men in the profession, and has acquired a liberal share of practice and a wide acquaintance since he has been a resident here.

Upon the death of Judge McCann [Ferdinand Jay McCann] last year [Aug. 8, 1893] Mr. Smith was an applicant for the appointment to fill the vacancy, and had a strong Grand Army backing for the position, he being at that time identified with the Republican party.

Mr. Smith made a rousing speech before the Populist nominating convention and is now fully in accord with that party.

Santa Cruz Evening News (October 5, 1908)

With Sherman to the Sea
Old Soldiers who Marched Through Georgia to Hold Reunion
Judge Smith Unable to Greet His Grizzled Comrades in Arms

Judge Smith has received an invitation, which he has been compelled to decline on account of the campaign, to go to Bluffton, Ind., as the guest of the Lew Dailey post of the G.A.R. for the 24th annual reunion of the 75th and 101st Indiana volunteers, in which he served during the civil war. The 75th and 101st Indiana were distinguished by service with Sherman in the march to the sea, and their annual reunion gathers a large number of old soldiers from all parts of the country

Santa Cruz Sentinel (September 23, 1924)

Judge L.F. Smith Dies Following Brief Illness

Judge Lucas F. Smith passed away yesterday morning at a local hospital after a short illness. In his removal the city loses a citizen who has been a public figure in the community life for nearly forty years, and during all that time he has been engaged in the practice of law, and of this time he has served 18 years as the superior judge of the county.

He will ever be remembered as one of the most genial and friendly men of the community, one interested in the civic affairs of the nation, state and count, and above all, one who loved his home and his splendid family.

Judge Smith was born in Wells County, Indiana, and was the son of the farm, attended the schools there, and at 15 years of age he learned the printing business, in the Bluffton Banner office.

On August 22, 1862, at the age of 17 years, en enlisted in Co. G. 101st regiment of the Indiana volunteers and served throughout the war, being discharged in July 1865. He participated in the battles of Perryville, Stone River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Resaca, Kennesaw, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta and Jonesboro, Georgia. He was with General Sherman in his famous march to the sea in the capture of Savannah and the march through the Carolinas. He was in the battle of Bentonville, N.C. and was present at the surrender of the confederate general, Joe Johnson, and then marched thru Virginia to Washington, and was in the grand review of May 1865.

Judge Smith had a keen recollection of the happenings of the war, and his reminiscences were listened to with great interest the old soldiers. He was a member of the Wallace Reynolds Post, G.A.R. from its inception, and he was always interested in this order. No man in the post had more loyal friends among its members than did judge Smith and by them he was honored as delegate to encampments and to represent them as speaker. Often of the Lincoln-Washington day exercises at the schools he served as one of the speakers.

After he was returned to his native town in Indiana, where he declined the appointment to West Point, which was tendered him, but early in 1866 he entered the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor from which he graduated in 1866.

Believing in education, all his children were given the benefit of higher education, the boys both graduating from Stanford, and Luke pursuing a course at Harvard, two of the daughters attending the state normal and one the University of California.

Later he settled at Bonham in northern Texas, where he was elected county attorney of Fannin county. In 1870 he was appointed by Governor Davis to the office of the 11th judicial district, composed of five counties, and was prosecuting attorney in cases that attracted nation wide notice.

In Illinois he prosecuted the case of Stephen M. Bellow for the murder of James P. Golden of Quincy, and for his labors in this case a complimentary resolution was passed by the legislature of Illinois and notice most complementary from The New York World. [In speaking of this case The New York World of May, 1872 said: "The execution of Stephen M. M. Ballew, at McKinney, Texas for the murder of young Golden, ends the chapter of one of the most remarkable murder cases ever tried in this country. The particulars of the atrocious crime were fully published in the World at the time of the arrest of Ballew, in Illinois, in 1871. His execution will be hailed with satisfaction by all persons who are familiar with the facts of the case. Too much credit cannot be given to the young district attorney, L.F. Smith, Esq., who successfully prosecuted the case through all the courts of Texas and finally brought the guilty wretch to justice."]

In 1874 he formed a law partnership with Throckmorton and Judge Brown of Sherman, Texas, and in the same year was appointed to the United States district attorney for New Mexico, which office he resigned to raise a company to fight the Apache Indians, and during the three months of service the company killed and wounded over 100 warriors, and recovered much stolen property. For this he was offered a commission as captain in the regular army, which he refused.

He later went to St. Louis and formed a law partnership with F.W. Crozier, son of ex United States Senator Crozier. While in St. Louis he had a law partnership with Judge Hurt until 1878 when he was elected to the supreme court bench of Texas and later formed a law partnership with Colonel Crawford, one of the best known attorney of the southwest.

In 1888 he came to California and after visiting different parts of the state he engaged in the practice of law in Santa Cruz.

Judge Smith for three terms, or 18 years served as superior judge with many cases of note before him and was succeeded by Judge B.K. Knight.

Following his judgeship he entered into a law partnership with his sons Lucas S. and Stanford, and he practiced until is last illness.

His home has been on Ocean View Ave. and it has been one most hospitable, and here the large family resided, the children were married and friends were entertained.

Judge Smith was taken ill on Wednesday and Sunday Drs. Fehliman and Dowling were called and it was found necessary to operate as the last resort.

Surviving are the wife Mrs. Della Smith, four daughters, Lucille, wife of A.H. Moffitt of Oakland, Nellie Winn, wife of George Azbell of Vailton, Monterey County; Katherine wife of Lester Wessendorf and Dorothy wife of Malcolm Sinclair, and two sons, Lucas E. an attorney of Los Angeles, and Stanford, District Attorney of this county.

All his children were summoned and all were home before the passing of their father.

He leaves three brothers, William H. Smith of St. Helena, Zac Smith of Bonham Texas, Joseph Smith of Papan Texas, a sister Mrs. Louise Hughes of San Diego.

The funeral services are to be held from the family residence on Ocean View Ave. on Wednesday afternoon.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (September 25, 1924)

Services Over Judge L.F. Smith

The services over the late Judge Lucas F. Smith were held yesterday afternoon from the family residence on Ocean View avenue, where the family, relatives, county officials, old soldiers, Masons and friends gathered.

The large rooms were filled with the many who came to pay their last respects. The simple and impressive service was conducted by Dr. B.M. Palmer of the Congregational church, the church attended by the family, and the hymns "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere" and "Jesus Savior Pilot Me," by Mrs. A. N. Mellor and Miss Geraldine Hayes.

The services at the grave were conducted by the Masons and the last prayer were by Dr. B.M. Palmer, the burial being at the Odd Fellows cemetery.

The pallbearers were Judge B.K. Knight of the appellate court, Judge H.C. Lucas, Judge C.C. Houck, H. A. Van Coenen Torchiana, J.A. Hall and W.B. Peery.

The plot at the cemetery was covered with the most beautiful of floral pieces sent by the many friends.

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