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Born near Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Smith attended the district schools and Howe's Academy at Mount Pleasant. He taught school in Winfield, Iowa. He moved to California in 1879 and engaged in agricultural pursuits. He taught school in Colusa and Kern Counties in 1883. He studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1885 and commenced practice in Bakersfield, California. Edited the Kern County Echo. He resumed the practice of law. He served as member of the State senate 1894-1902. He was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1902 to the Fifty-eighth Congress.
Smith was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-ninth and to the three succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1905, until his death in Los Angeles, California, January 26, 1913. He was interred in Union Cemetery.
- United States Congress. "Sylvester C. Smith (id: S000614)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Sylvester C. Smith, late a representative from California, Memorial addresses delivered in the House of Representatives and Senate frontispiece 1914
|U.S. House of Representatives|
Milton J. Daniels
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 8th congressional district
Everis A. Hayes
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