Member Biography

Charles H. Smiley Sr.

Sessions Office Position District Party
1881-1882       31 Republican
1883-1884       31 Republican


05/09/1844 - 03/18/1912

Sergeant Charles H. Smiley, Sr. (R31) Perry, Juniata and Mifflin Counties, 1881-1884   

Early Life: 

Sergeant Charles H. Smiley, Sr., born May 9, 1844, Shermans Dale, Perry County, Pennsylvania; son of Samuel and Sarah McMurray Smiley; Carlisle public schools; Bloomfield Academy; teacher; enlisted, United States Army Signal Corps, Civil War, 1861-1865; elected, Prothonotary, Perry County, 1867-1870; read law, admitted, Perry County bar, 1872; married, Emily M. Ferguson, 1876, son, Charles H. Smiley Jr.; elected, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1881-1884; president, Perry County Railroad Company; law practice, Perry County; died, March 18, 1912, heart attack, New Bloomfield, Perry County, Pennsylvania; Interment, Bloomfield Cemetery, New Bloomfield, Perry County, Pennsylvania.

Early Career:

Enlisted, 1861, Elliottsburg, Pennsylvania, United States Army Signal Corps, participated, Shenandoah Valley, Valley of Virginia battles, Manassas, Winchester, New Market, Cedar Mountain, Lynchburg; transferred, Department of West Virginia, May 18, 1864; meritorious performance at Round Top Station, Strasburg, Virginia; mustered out on August 2, 1865, Signal Corps Camp, Arlington, Virginia. 

The Signal Corps primary functions included repairing and building stationary telegraph lines; operating the Beardslee railroad car telegraph; constructing observation towers during major battles; reconnaissance; balloon reconnaissance; utilizing the Wig-Wag flag-signaling system during battles; and in some cases, espionage.

Professional titles; business ownership; board memberships; local government; club memberships:

Member, Bloomfield Presbyterian Church; member, treasurer, Adams Lodge, No. 319, Free and Accepted Masons; member, Mackinaw Lodge, No. 380, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected, Republican, Prothonotary, Perry County, 1867-1870.

Elected, Pennsylvania State Senate, 31st District, Perry, Juniata and Mifflin Counties, 1881-1884; committee assignments, Compare Bills, Education, Insurance, Judiciary Local (Chairman), Library. 


Cox, Harold. "Senate Members S"Wilkes University Election Statistics ProjectWilkes University.

Smull’s Legislative Handbook, (1883). Smull, W.P., (Editor) Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pages 765, 770-772, Biographical Sketches of Senators, page 735.

Charles H. Smiley (1844-1912) - Find a Grave Memorial