Smith, Francis H. (Francis Henney), 1812-1890
Major General Francis Henney Smith (b. 1812 d. 1890) was appointed VMI's first Superintendent in 1839. An 1833 graduate of West Point, he had previously served briefly in the U. S. Army and was a Professor of Mathematics at Hampden-Sydney College (VA) when he accepted the position as head of the newly established Virginia Military Institute. He served for fifty years, from the Institute's infancy, through the Civil War, and through the difficult post-war period. He is known as the "builder and rebuilder of VMI." Smith retired on January 1, 1890 and died only a few months later, on March 21, 1890.
Found in 1 Collection or Record:
Letter, John T. L. Preston to Francis H. Smith, 1889 July 4
Scope and Contents Poignant letter from Preston to Smith, written on the occasion of VMI's Semicentennial celebration, in which he reminiscences about Smith's role in the founding and growth of the Virginia Military Institute.