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Smith, Otis David


Age: 0, credited to New Haven, VT
Unit(s): 6th AL INF
Service: Pvt, 6th AL INF CSA, enl 5/61, in battles of Manassas, Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill, Fair Oaks, wdd and taken prisoner at South Mountain, after exchange transferred to QM Department, m/o 1865 [College: UVM '53]

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 06/27/1831, New Haven, VT
Death: 05/07/1905

Burial: Pine Hill Cemetery, Auburn, AL
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone photographer: JC/Findagrave
Findagrave Memorial #: 8844671


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Not eligible
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: UVM 53
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: None


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Pine Hill Cemetery, Auburn, AL

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.


Smith, Otis David (1831-1905)

Born: 27 June 1831, New Haven VT, son of Oliver and Adeline (Doud) Smith
Early Life: UVM 1853; moved to Alabama, principal Smiths Station, and Opelika schools
War Service: Pvt, 6th AL INF (CSA) May 1861 to 1861, wdd and taken prisoner Antietam Sep 1862; QM Dept. 1863 to 1865
Later Life: prof. of English 1873-74, prof./chair math dept. 1874-1904, acting pres. 1902, Alabama Polytechnic Institute (present-day Auburn Univ.)
Married: Mary Antoinette Howell Porter
Died: 7 May 1905; interment unknown

The Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, AL, has his papers
Wounded and taken prisoner at Antietam, Smith "was offered the chance to go to his home to remain without taking the oath, but he was exchanged, served through the war, and is yet one of the most useful men in the state as professor of mathematics at Auburn." (Two Boys in the Civil War and After; W. R. Houghton, M. b. Houghton. Montgomery, AL: The Paragon Press, 1912. p. 187.)
postwar photograph in Auburn University Digital Library
Auburn University building names, namesakes includes a description of Smith Hall.


The Montgomery Advertiser

Montgomery, Alabama, Tuesday, May 9, 1905
Auburn, May 8, ---(Special)--- No teacher in Alabama has ever been more generally beloved than Professor O. D. Smith, who died at Auburn on Sunday morning. For fifty years he had given the full strength of his vigorous body and mind to the work of education in this State. For thirty two years he has been a member of the Faculty of the college at Auburn, from the first year of its existence as a State institution down to the present day.
He was always quiet in manner, unobtrusive, and self-forgetful in the service of others. His purity of character, the sanity of his mind and his cheerful disposition and warm heart won the respect and the love of all who knew him. Amongst the hundreds who were his pupils, or his associates in teaching or his acquaintances in other walks of life, not one could be found who ever harbored against him an unkind thought or would have believed him capable of an ungenerous act. All old Auburn men will feel in his death the loss not merely of a great teacher, but of a personal friend.
In his character Prof Smith united the sturdy qualities of the New Englander with the warm heart of the South. A native of Vermont he was educated in its schools and University, where he graduated in 1853.
Here he imbibed a respect for genuine scholarship and a healthy scorn for all educational schemes that did not rest upon hard work and steady mental discipline.
He at once came South and taught for a year at LaGrange, Georgia, in the school of his uncle, whose name he bore, Prof O. D. Smith, a noted member of the Baptist church, who afterwards became President of Mercer University, Georgia. Here he formed the acquaintance of Ben Hill and John B. Gordon. From 1854 until the civil war he taught in Alabama, first at Salem and later at Smith's Station, near Columbus.
At the outbreak of the war he enlisted in the 6th Alabama regiment and served under his old friend, Gen. John B. Gordon, to whom on a recent memorial occasion he paid a touching tribute. He was in the battles of Manassas, Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill, and Fair Oaks; and was severely wounded twice taken prisoner at South Mountain, Maryland.
After the war he taught at Salem and later at Opelika. In June, 1873, the State Agricultural and Mechanical College was opened at Auburn; and in January Professor Smith was elected to chair in it, From that to this he has been the head of the department of mathematics.
When Dr. W. L. Broun died in January, 1902, he was appointed president for the remaining half session. He performed the duties of this new office with the usual tact and courtesy, and with an administrative ability that won unstinted praise.
No honor ever lessened the charm of his modesty or affected the quiet dignity that sprang from a perfect freedom from self-consciousness.
Those who were present at the first faculty meeting over which he presided as president, recall how, in expressing his views on some topic, he forgot his new office and dropping into the phrase he had so often used, he began with the usual words, "Mr. President, I think-"
In 1876 Professor Smith had the degree conferred upon him bu the University of Vermont, and six years ago the degree of LL. D. by the University of Alabama.
But his labors and his influence were not confine to one section of the State. He was one of the earliest and most faithful members of the Alabama Educational Association, a frequent contributor to its proceedings and at one time its president. He was an earnest supporter of the State Historical Society. In the early seventies he was a trustee of the University of Alabama and rendered such valuable services there during the difficult days of reconstruction that he was retained even after he became a professor in the A and M College.
Prof Smith was a sincere and earnest Christian by profession and in his daily life. He was an active member of the Methodist church and a frequent member of his church conferences.
Courtesy of Bob Hackett.

Additional sources:

General Catalog of the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, Burlington, Vermont, 1791-1875, Burlington: Free Press Association, 1875; Dowd, W. W. The Descendants of Henry Doude, who Came From England in 1639. Hartford, CT: Case, Lockwood & Brainard, 1885; Auburn University board of Trustees Minutes, 1905.

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