Seba Smith Photo

Seba Smith

Born: Sep 14, 1792

Death: Jul 28, 1868

Birthplace: Buckfield

Nationality: United States

Seba Smith

Date of Birth : Sep 14, 1792
Date of Death : Jul 28, 1868
Birth Place : Buckfield

Seba Smith was an American humorist and writer. He was married to Elizabeth Oakes Smith, also a major writer and feminist, and he was the father of Appleton Oaksmith. Born in Buckfield, Maine, Smith graduated from Bowdoin College in 1818 and then lived in Portland, Maine. He edited various papers including the Eastern Argus and then founded the Portland Courier and edited it from 1830 to 1837. He was one of the first writers to use American vernacular in humor. His series with the New England character Major Jack Downing was popular after its start in 1830. Under date of November 26, 1833, John Quincy Adams records in his diary an encounter with Colonel David Crockett, newly returned to Congress, whom he quotes as saying that he "had taken for lodgings two rooms on the first floor of a boarding-house, where he expected to pass the winter and to have for a fellow-lodger Major Jack Downing, the only person in whom he had any confidence for information of what the Government was doing." Diary, p. 445. His dry, satirical humor influenced other 19th century humorists, including Artemus Ward and Finley Peter Dunne.

Also known as

  • Jack Downing


  • Elizabeth Oakes Smith


  • Appleton Oaksmith
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