Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Thorowgood Smith (1744-1810)
MSA SC 3520-2988

Source:  Wilbur F. Coyle, The Mayors of Baltimore (Reprinted from The Baltimore Municipal Journal, 1919), 15-17.
Thorowgood Smith, Mayor of Baltimore, 1804 to 1808, was chosen to fill the vacancy caused by Mayor Calhoun resigning.  The voting for "Electors" took place October 1st, 1804, and October 6th, 1806, and they selected Mayor Smith to serve the two terms of two years each.

During Mayor Smith's administration the police system of Baltimore was changed from watchmen to a "patrole composed of the Constables of the City."  In the Mayor's message of February, 1806, there was a recommendation to regulate the measuring of coal.  At this period the markets were as follows: Centre or Marsh Market, Fells Point or Broadway Market and Hanover Market.  The offices of City Register and Inspector of Weights and Measures were created.  Authority for drawing of a lottery to raise funds for the Impartial Free School was approved.

An ordinance to encourage the introduction of water into the City and granting to the Baltimore Water Company the right to lay pipes was passed.  The Baltimore Water Company had been organized May 24, 1804.  The fish market at Hanover Market was erected during this administration in 1806.

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Thorowgood Smith, born in Accomac County, Virginia, was the son of Isaac and Sarah West.  He came to this city when a youth and engaged in business with considerable success.  He became a very active citizen as well as a man of prominence.  The future Mayor was one of those who was presented to Court de Rochambeau while the latter was marching through Baltimore with his troops on his return from Yorktown, August 22nd, 1782.  On April 17th, 1798, an address was presented to General Washington, who was then in Baltimore on his way to Congress in New York, and this address was signed by Thorowgood Smith and ten others.  Mr. Smith, with several persons of prominence, was authorized to take subscriptions for the Bank of Maryland in November, 1790.  He was a county justice and a judge of election when the first Mayor of Baltimore (Calhoun) was chosen, January, 1797.  In 1783 he was a member of a local military organization and at the time of his death was president of the Baltimore Insurance Company.  He married Mary Blaikey Stith (born January 20th, 1750; died November 14th, 1822), daughter of Griffin Stith, of Northampton County, Virginia.  Thorowgood Smith died August 13th, 1810, in his sixty-seventh year.  He had no children.

According to family tradition, Thorowgood Smith was proud of his very shapely nose, and in order to prevent the marking of the bridge by spectacles, he invented a new kind of glasses.  A velvet ribbon, passing acrcss the forehead, was tied at the back of the head, and the lenses, attached to this ribbon by wires, hung down before the eyes.  In order, however, to preserve the requisite stiffness, a thin piece of steel, some four inches long and of the general appearance of a whalebone, was, sewed in the ribbon over the eyes, where the glasses were attached. 

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