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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Smith, Hiram 1817 - 1890

Definition: farmer, leader in promotion of scientific agriculture, university regent, politician, b. Bucks County, Pa. He moved to Wisconsin in 1847, settling in Sheboygan County. In 1858 he began dairy farming, and by 1874 had become one of the largest cheese producers and most successful dairymen in the state. An active champion of the cause of scientific dairying, Smith was vice-president of the Wisconsin Dairymen's Association (1874), its president (1875-1876), and a regent of the Univ. of Wisconsin (1878-1890), the first farmer to serve in this capacity. During his tenure on the board of regents, Smith was largely responsible for bringing William Arnon Henry (q.v.) to the university, and was a leader in the movement to establish the Univ. of Wisconsin Agricultural Experimental Station and the farmers' institutes. He was a frequent speaker on the institute programs, and in 1885 was among those instrumental in establishing the Univ. of Wisconsin College of Agriculture. A Republican, Smith was state assemblyman (1871), and was subsequently an unsuccessful candidate for Congress. Wis. Mag. Hist., 32; W. H. Glover, Farm and College (Madison, 1952); R. G. Thwaites, ed., Univ. of Wis. (Madison, 1900); Sheboygan Falls Sheboygan County News, May 21, 1890; WPA MS.

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]
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