Enoch Joyce Smithers (1828-1895)

E. J. Smithers was born on July 14, 1828 in Dover, Delaware to Joseph and Sarah Ann Joyce Smithers. He was the brother-in-law of his half-cousin Nathaniel B. Smithers. With wealthy parents, Enoch was educated first at home and then entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with the class of 1849. He left at the beginning of his senior year, however, to study law. Smithers read under Justice Gilpin of Delaware and was passed to the bar in that state in 1851. Although independently wealthy, he opened a law practice in Dover.

At the opening of the Civil War, Smithers served guarding railroads as first lieutenant of Company D in the First Regiment of Delaware Volunteers. This was a ninety-day unit that mustered in during May 1861 and out on August 17, 1861. When the regiment was called for three-year service, Smithers again enlisted and became company commander of Company D. Soon, however, President Lincoln removed him from the ranks to serve as U.S. Consul at the newly created legation on Chios, a Turkish-occupied island in the Aegean Sea, now the fifth largest island of Greece. The diplomatic posting of consul at Smyrna in Turkey followed.

Smithers returned to Delaware in 1867 and took up a position with the Department of the Treasury in Washington for a time, before being re-assigned as consul in Smyrna. He then began his extensive career representing the United States in Asia. He was appointed consul to Chinkiang, an important commercial center in eastern China. From there Smithers took charge at the legation at Shanghai. He served as temporary charge de affaires in Tientien, the empire's diplomatic center, and in March 1887, President Cleveland appointed him consul there. His next postings were in Korea and Japan. In keeping with his long record of protecting American commercial interests at major trading centers, Smithers was appointed to his final posting as consul to Osaka.

Smithers married while he was on Chios. Enoch Smithers died in 1895 while in service in Osaka. He was sixty-seven years old.

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Dickinson College Archives
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