GrahamClayton: Biography from http://www.migenweb.org/cass/biogra...:
"Harsen D. Smith is a prominent attorney of Cassopolis equally well known because of his activity in political circles. He has chosen as a life work a profession in which success results only from individual merit, from comprehensive knowledge and close application, and his high reputation is well deserved because he has manifested all of the salient characteristics demanded of the successful and able lawyer. A native of Albion, New York, he was born on the 17th of March, 1845, and is a son of E. Darwin and Maria (Arnold) Smith, the former a native of Connecticut and the latter of New York. The paternal grandfather, Moses B. Smith, was a minister of the Universalist church and had a very wide and favorable acquaintance in the western part of the Empire state, to which he removed from New England. He was of Scotch lineage, his father, Moses Smith, Sr., having emigrated from the land of the hiss and heater to the new world. E. Darwin Smith, father of our subject, was a manufacturer of agricultural implements. Following his removal to New York he devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits. He married Miss Maria Arnold, a native of the Empire state and a daughter of Benjamin Arnold, who was of English descent. They became the parents of three children, two daughters and a son.
Harsen D. Smith, who was the second in order of birth, acquired an academic education at Newark, Wayne county, New York, where he was graduated. He afterward engaged in teaching school in that state for a short time, and in 1862 he went to Iowa, locating at Eldora, where for one year he acted as principal of the Eldora Union Schools. He then became a teacher in the Iowa Lutheran College at Albion, Iowa, being professor of mathematics. In the meantime he had taken up the study of law and for a period was a student in the office of Governor Eastman, of Iowa. Subsequently he went to Rochester, New York, where he entered the law office of Judge George F. Danforth, a member of the court of appeals of the Empire state. For about two years Mr. Smith remained in that office and was then admitted to the New York bar, after which he removed to Coldwater, Michigan, and spent about six months in the office of E. G. Fuller. He afterward removed to Jackson, Michigan, and entered the office of Hon. W. K. Gibson. In August, 1870, he removed to Cassopolis, where he formed a partnership with Hon. Charles W. Clisbee, with whom he continued for two years. He then practiced by himself for a year, after which he formed a partnership with Judge Andrew J. Smith, that connection being thus continued until Andrew J. Smith was elected circuit judge, since which time Harsen D. Smith has been alone in practice. He has for thirty-five years been a representative of the Cassopolis bar and is therefore numbered among the pioneer attorneys of the county. He has gradually worked his way upward, demonstrating his ability to cope with intricate problems of jurisprudence and in the handling of his cause he displays great strength, while his devotion to his clients’ interest is proverbial.
In October, 1873, Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Sate R. Read, who was born in this county in 1853, and is a daughter of S. T. and Rhoda R. (Hayden) Read.
In his political views Mr. Smith is a stalwart Republican, thoroughly in sympathy with the principles of the party. He was elected and served as chairman of the Republican County Central Committee for ten years, was a member of the State Central Committee for six years, and fro four years a member of the executive committee. He is widely recognized as one of the foremost Republicans of Michigan, and his efforts in behalf of the organization have been far reaching and beneficial. In 1876 he was elected prosecuting attorney, filling the office for four years, and in 1898 he was appointed by the governor to the position of circuit judge to preside over the bench of a new circuit until an election could be held. He served in that capacity for one year. He was a member of the state pardon board for about seven years, but when appointed judge he resigned that position. Following his retirement from the bench he was reappointed on the pardon board. He was nominated for state senator in 1884, but that was the year of the Democratic landslide. Fraternally he is connected with the dodge, chapter and commandery in the Masonic fraternity and also with Saladin Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Grand Rapids. He has been very successful in his practice, being connected with the greater number of the important cases tried in his district and his broad intellectuality, great strength of character and determined purpose have made him a valued factor, not only as a legal practitioner but also in social, fraternal and political circles. He has done much to mold public thought and opinion in his community and is just classed with the prominent and representative citizens of Cass county."