Osborne L. Smith
1819 - 1878
Osborne Smith was the eldest son of 11 children. His father was a farmer and carpenter with very limited means. Osborne was sent to Emory College, but was about to be called home during his senior year due to his father’s financial crisis resulting from a failed crop. Professor George Lane stepped in and paid Smith’s remaining expenses. After graduation in 1842, Smith was offered the ancient languages professorship at Emory and was able to help his younger brother complete his education. In 1850, Smith accepted a professorship at Wesleyan College. He would go on to serve as president of that institution from 1854 to 1859. During the Civil War years, Smith served in Georgia’s House of Representatives and Senate. After the end of the war, Smith became president of Emory College in 1871, a position he held for four years.