SMITHKNIGHT, LOUIS (16 Dec. 1834-27 Mar. 1915), volunteer artillery officer during the CIVIL WAR and a postwar militia artillery officer, was born in Saxony to Frederick and Auralia Smithknight. He came to the U.S. in 1845, and lived in Columbus, Ohio before arriving in Cleveland in 1850. After an unsuccessful gold-hunting journey to Colorado in 1858, he returned to Cleveland and opened a drugstore.
When the Civil War broke out, Smithknight enlisted as a private in the FIRST OHIO VOLUNTEER LIGHT ARTILLERY for 3 months' service. Returning to Cleveland, he was appointed captain, TWENTIETH OHIO INDEPENDENT BATTERY, which organized in Cleveland in 1862. The battery spent the winter of 1863 at Murfreesboro, Tenn., where Smithknight was forced to resign on 23 Apr. 1863 from disability after falling from a horse.
Returning to his drugstore, he reorganized the CLEVELAND LIGHT ARTILLERY in 1872 and remained its captain until 1887. Smithknight also served as colonel of a battery of statewide artillery. He was active in Republican politics and a member of the GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC. He served on 3 committees for the dedication of the SOLDIERS' & SAILORS' MONUMENT.
He married Charlotte Stopps (d. 1857) in 1853 and had a daughter, Julia, and a son, Albert. In 1865 he married Nettie Kinglsey (d. 1906). Smithknight died of bronchitis and was buried next to his wife in WOODLAND CEMETERY.
Finding Aid for the Cleveland Light Artillery Assoc. Records, WRHS.