Member Biography

George Handy Smith 


McAtee, William, comp. Souvenir: Portraits and Biographies of the Members of the Legislature of Pennsylvania and Heads of Departments, Session of 1895. Harrisburg, Pa.: The Roshon Portrait Company, 1895.

Sessions Office Position District Party
1875       1 Republican
1877       1 Republican
1879-1880       1 Republican
1881-1882       1 Republican
1883-1884       1 Republican
1885-1886     President Pro Tempore 1 Republican
1887-1888       1 Republican
1889-1890       1 Republican
1891-1892       1 Republican
1893-1894       1 Republican
1895-1896       1 Republican

COUNTIES: Philadelphia  


07/21/1832 - 04/14/1898

George Handy Smith (R1) Philadelphia (Part) County 1875-1896

Early Life: 

George Handy Smith, born July 21, 1832, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; son of Levin Handy Smith and Margaret Phillips Smith, attended, Locust Street Elementary School; corporal, 9th Regiment, Pennsylvania Emergency Militia (1862, Civil War); jeweler and silversmith; night clerk, Central Police Station, city of Philadelphia; detective, city of Philadelphia; married, Sophia Cecilia McGowan; elected, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1872-1874, not a candidate for reelection, 1875 term; elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1875-1896; elected, president pro tempore, 1885-1886; elected, superintendent, Guardians of the Poor, Philadelphia, 1884; died, April 14, 1898, city of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; interment, Mount Moriah Cemetery, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

Early Life: 

Enlisted, Corporal, 9th Regiment, Pennsylvania Emergency Militia, mustered out, 1862. 

Clerked, jeweler, Gould and Company, Wriggins and Warden, Bennet and Caldwell, silversmiths, Bailey and Kitchen, Philadelphia.

Night clerk, detective, Philadelphia’s Central Police Station.

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

Member, Hector Tyndale Post Grand Army of the Republic, 9th Regiment Pennsylvania Guard; member, First Regiment, National Guard of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1872-1874 terms, not a candidate for reelection, 1875 term.

Elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate 1st district, Philadelphia (Part) County, 1875-1896, elected, president pro tempore, 1885-1886; committees chaired, Congressional Apportionment, Corporations, Insurance, and Public Buildings, committee assignments, Appropriations, Finance, Legislative Appropriations and Municipal Affairs; defeated, primary reelection, George Augustus Vare.

Elected, superintendent, Guardians of the Poor, Philadelphia, 1884.

Pennsylvania State House of Representatives Biography:

Official Website - PA House Archives Official Website (


Chaired, inaugural committees, Republican Governors John F. Hartranft, Henry M Hoyt, Daniel H. Hastings, member, Democrat Governor Robert E. Pattison committee.  

Thrown from a carriage, Gwynadd country home, mid-1896, suffered paralysis, contracted pneumonia, never recovered. 

Established by an act of the Pennsylvania Legislature, Mount Moriah Cemetery Association of Philadelphia, incorporated, March 27, 1855, (1857 (1855) P.L. 729, No.732).

Act of February 17, 1865 (1865 P.L.172, No.163), ceded at least some portion of the Mount Moriah Cemetery to the Federal Government.

Mount Moriah Cemetery closed its gates in April 2011 and had no owner when the last member of the board of directors died. The Orphans Court of Philadelphia granted the Mount Moriah Cemetery Preservation Corporation, a receivership in 2014.


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

Smull’s Legislative Handbook, (1889). Cochran, T.B., (Editor) Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pages 687, 693-695, Biographical Sketches of Senators, page 660.

Scharf, John Thomas (1884). History of Philadelphia, 1609–1884. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co. p. 2360. Retrieved 23 August 2019. moriah.

History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884 : Scharf, J. Thomas (John Thomas), 1843-1898 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive 

History and notable burials Mount Moriah Cemetery (Philadelphia) - Wikipedia

George Handy Smith (1832-1898) - Find a Grave Memorial