From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Smith, Hiram S.

(born: Mar. 24, 1860  -  died: Nov. 10, 1930) In 1913, Hiram S. Smith was the only Republican and only African American nominee for the Hopkinsville City Council. He was uncontested and therefore became the 5th Ward Councilman. He had been in office a year when his wife Mary died in 1915. She had been ill for a time prior to her death.

Smith's tenure as a city councilman in Hopkinsville was a continuation of what had begun in 1885 when Republican Edward Glass become the first African American city councilman.

Hiram Smith was not a new name to the public. In 1902, he was elected the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten (U.B.F. & S.M.T.), serving in that position for six years. The organization held their annual meetings in various cities in Kentucky. The 1904 meeting was held in Frankfort, the 1907 in Paris, and the 1908 in Versailles. One of Hiram S. Smith's most noted achievements within the organization was the development of the Endowment Department. Under his leadership, the organization had paid out $83,976 in death claims.

In 1914, Smith was named a delegate to the Negro Fraternal Congress. He attended the meeting held in Louisville, KY. "The purpose of the Congress is to form an association of those colored people who are connected with secret orders to the end that benefits may be derived for the race." Source: "Hiram Smith honored," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 10/13/1914, p. 8.

Hiram Smith was a stone contractor who continued operating his business after his term as a city councilman. He was also a property owner. In 1914, he erected an addition to a building he owned on Virginia Street near Sixth Street in Hopkinsville. The building was occupied by African American-owned businesses, hailed as a "Good Investment." Smith had purchased the business block, referred to as the Gran property, in 1909 from J. F. Ellis.

Smith continued his involvement in community events and causes. In 1917, he served as a judge for precinct 7 at the Christian County voting polls. He had served as a precinct officer in 1909 and 1912. In 1918, he was among the African American men who organized a speaking campaign promoting War Stamps (World War I). C. W. Merriweather was chairman of the campaign. There are many articles in the Hopkinsville newspapers that track the activities and involvements of Hiram S. Smith as a community leader and businessman. The newspapers are available full text in Chronicling America (free) and in the subscription database (fee).

Hiram S. smith was born in Warren County, KY and died in Hopkinsville. He is buried in the Cave Spring Cemetery. He was the son of Jacob and Rachael Smith. The family may have been enslaved. According to the U. S. Census (Ancestry), the Smith family was living in Hopkinsville in 1920 at which time Hiram worked at a brickyard.

Sources: "Grand Master Smith," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 8/15/1902, front page; "Party nominees are ready for the fray: The City contests," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 8/5/1913, front page; "U.B.F. is now in session in Paris," Lexington Leader, 8/14/1907, p. 4; "U.B.F. second day of convention," Lexington Leader, 8/13/1908, p. 4; "Died Sunday," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 9/21/1915, p. 8; "Colored: Grand Lodge of United Brothers of Friendship and companion orders," Lexington Leader, 8/10/1904, p. 4; "Business block sold," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 1/29/1910, p. 7; "New building: owned by Councilman Hiram Smith proves good investment," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 9/17/1914, front page; "Officers are named," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 7/31/1917, p. 8; "Colored workers," Daily Kentuckian, 6/27/1918, p. 4; and Hiram S. Smith at Find A Grave.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Christian County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Warren County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Hopkinsville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Christian County's First Elected Negro Officials
NKAA Entry: Merriweather, Claybron W.
NKAA Source: Hopkinsville Kentuckian (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Lexington leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Daily Kentuckian (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Smith, Hiram S.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 16, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-11-17 13:34:38