David Allen Smalley

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David Allen Smalley (April 6, 1809 – March 10, 1877) was a United States federal judge.


Smalley was born in Middlebury, Vermont on April 6, 1809.[1] He graduated from the academy in St. Albans, read law with his uncle, and was admitted to the bar. He practiced in Jericho, Vermont, where he was also postmaster from 1831 to 1836.

He subsequently relocated, first to Lowell, Vermont, and then to Burlington, Vermont. He was a member of the Vermont State Senate from 1843 to 1844. He practiced law in Burlington with different partners at different times. One partner was Edward J. Phelps, and the firm of Smalley & Phelps included George F. Edmunds among those who studied law in their offices.[2]

At the 1852 Democratic National Convention he was Vice Chairman of the Vermont delegation, a member of the platform committee and was selected to serve as Vermont's member of the Democratic National Committee.[3]

President Franklin Pierce appointed him Collector of Customs for the District of Vermont in 1853 and he served until 1857.[4] Again a delegate at the 1856 Democratic National Convention held in Cincinnati, Ohio, he was reappointed to the National Committee, and he served Chairman from 1856 to 1860.[5]

On February 2, 1857, Smalley was nominated by President Franklin Pierce to the seat on the United States District Court for the District of Vermont vacated by the death of Samuel Prentiss. Smalley was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 3, 1857, and received his commission the same day.[6]

As Chairman of the Democratic National Committee it was Smalley's task to open the ill-fated 1860 Democratic National Convention in Charleston, South Carolina.[7][8]

Death and burial

He continued to serve as District Judge until his death in Burlington on March 10, 1877.[9] He was buried in Burlington's Greenmount Cemetery.[10]


Smalley received an honorary master of arts degree from the University of Vermont in 1846.[11]


In 1833 Smalley married Laura Barlow, the daughter of Bradley Barlow (1770–1836), and sister of Congressman Bradley Barlow. They had five children, three of whom lived to adulthood; Henry Adams; Bradley Barlow; and Eugene Allen.[12]

Henry A. Smalley (1834–1888) attended Norwich University and the University of Vermont. He was a graduate of the United States Military Academy and attained the rank of brevet Brigadier General during the American Civil War. He later worked as an engineer for New York City, and was responsible for the construction of the New Croton Aqueduct.[13]

Bradley B. Smalley (1835–1909) was a Vermont attorney. He served on the staff of Governor Frederick Holbrook with the rank of Colonel during the Civil War. Bradley B. Smalley was later appointed Clerk of the U.S. District Court and Collector of Customs. He also served on the Burlington City Council and was a member of the Democratic National Committee.[14]

Eugene A. Smalley (1839–1913) attended the University of Vermont and Union College. He enlisted for the Civil War as a Private in the 19th Ohio Infantry. He was subsequently commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. After his 1866 discharge he was a farmer in Colchester, Vermont, and also worked as Vermont's Deputy Customs Collector and Deputy U.S. Marshal.[15][16][17]


  1. Bernan Press, Biographical Directory of the Federal Judiciary, 2001, page 765
  2. Prentiss Cutler Dodge, Encyclopedia of Vermont Biography, 1912, page 179
  3. Democratic National Committee, proceedings of the Democratic National Convention, 1852, pages 7, 11, 18, 30, 39, 42, 45, 71
  4. Vermont Historical Society, Annual Meeting Proceedings, 1915, page 218
  5. Democratic National Committee, Official Proceedings of the Democratic National Convention, 1856, pages 47, 66, 72
  6. Marcus Davis Gilman, The Bibliography of Vermont, 1897, page 251
  7. Democratic National Committee, Proceedings of the Democratic National Convention, 1860, page 3
  8. New York Times, The Proceedings of the First Day: Detailed Report From the Charleston Papers, April 27, 1860
  9. New York Times, Obituary, David A. Smalley, March 11, 1877
  10. David Allen Smalley at Find a Grave
  11. University of Vermont, General Catalogue, 1901, page 223
  12. Frederick W. Baldwin, Biography of the Bar of Orleans County, Vermont, 1886, page 131
  13. William Arba Ellis, Norwich University, 1819–1911, Volume 2, 1911, pages 502-503
  14. Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Vermont, Year Book of the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Vermont, 1912, page 205
  15. University of Vermont, General Catalogue, 1901, page 116
  16. Union University, Union College Alumni in the Civil War, 1861–1865, 1915, page 70
  17. University of Vermont, University of Vermont Notes, Volumes 6-10, 1914, page 343

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Samuel Prentiss
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Vermont
Succeeded by
Hoyt Henry Wheeler