Charles A. Smart of Ottawa is one of the ablest lawyers and jurists of Kansas. He began the practice of law at Ottawa, coming to that city from Wisconsin, his native state, in 1883, in which year he was admitted to the bar. He had read law in the office of A. A. Jackson of Janesville, Wisconsin. He was born in Rock county, Wisconsin, Jan. 5, 1858. His parents were Robert and Euphemia (McArthur) Smart, both of whom were born in Scotland, where they were reared and married, and whence they came with their two eldest children to America in 1849, settling in Janesville, Wis. The father first engaged in carpentering, then farmed successfully for thirty years. His later years were spent in a deserved retirement from active business cares at Milton, Wis. His death occurred in 1903 while visiting his son in Ottawa. His father, Andrew Smart, also born in Scotland, emigrated to America, settled in Wisconsin, there farmed and resided till his death which occurred in 1880. The maternal grandfather of Judge Smart was Franklin McArthur, a cooper by trade, who was born and reared in Scotland, where he also spent his life. His mother, now past eighty-five years of age, lives in his home at Ottawa. She and her husband were reared in the faith of the established church of Scotland, but in America they were members of the Methodist Episcopal church. They had nine children as follows: Elizabeth (now Mrs. Page); Andrew, of Portland, Ore.; Frank R.; James H.; Charles A.; Ella (now Mrs. Plumb); Effie (now Mrs. Von Poole) and Winfield Scott Smart. The last named died in infancy.
Charles A. Smart first attended the common schools, and then the academy at Milton, Wis., from 1877 to 1882, during which period he also taught eight terms of school. Thus attending and teaching school alternately he was enabled to obtain literary education. He became a lawyer from choice and has been eminently successful. Soon after beginning the practice of his profession at Ottawa he became prominently identified with the Republican party, and in 1885 was elected to his first public officethat of city attorney for Ottawa, a position held for three consecutive terms. In 1888 he was elected county attorney, but failed of reëlection in 1890 through the strength of the Populist party. In 1896 he was nominated by the Republican party as its candidate for judge of the district court, and on the face of the returns he was declared elected over the Populist party candidate, S. A. Riggs, who contested Judge Smart's election and in whose favor a Populist senate decided the contest, removed Judge Smart, who had already qualified in the office and had served as judge of the court for three months. In 1900, when the next election for the district court judgeship came about, Judge Smart was given the nomination for the office by the Republican party, and he was successful of election at the polls. In 1904, and 1908 he was reëlected to the office. The judicial district is composed of Franklin, Anderson and Douglas counties and known as the Fourth judicial district. Over the courts of this district Judge Smart has presided with a pleasing dignity and fairness, which together with his exceptionally able ruling and decisions, have won for him the distinction of being one of the ablest district court judges in Kansas. An examination of the supreme court reports in cases which have been carried up from the district courts, show that less than fifteen per cent. of Judge Smart's rulings and decisions has been reversed, a percentage which is far below the average number of reversals. Judge Smart's decisions have been characteristic of a profound knowledge of the law, an analytic mind, a broad grasp of the principle of law involved, and in addition thereto, unbiased judgment. He is held in highest esteem by the legal profession, and likewise by the populace, who respect him for his strict regard for the rights and privileges of others, for his fairness, kindness and keen sense of duty and honor as a public official and as a citizen.
In 1885 was solemnized the marriage of Judge Smart, Miss Lola S. Bedford of Wisconsin becoming his wife. Her father, James Bedford, was a native of England, whence he came to America, settling in Wisconsin. Unto Judge Smart and wife five children have been born as follows: Georgia and Lola, graduates of the 1909 class, University of Kansas; Euphemia; Charlotte, and Carolee. The family are communicants of the Congregational church. Fraternally Judge Smart is a Knight Templar Mason, Transced Commandery No. 11, at Ottawa. He holds a financial interest in the First National Bank of Ottawa, and is a director in the Ottawa Mutual Loan & Savings Association.Pages 1035-1037 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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