Smith was a gifted church leader—a teacher,
writer, editor, poet, hymn writer, inventor, and
engraver. His family were Millerite Adventists,
so at age 12 he experienced the 1844 disappointment.
Around that time, his infected left leg had to
be amputated above the knee. In later life he
invented an artificial leg with flexible knee
and ankle joints. Late in 1852 he became a Sabbath-keeping
Adventist. Early the next year he joined James
and Ellen White in Rochester, New York, in publishing
Like Annie, Uriah was well educated and had turned
down an attractive teaching position. In 1853
the Review published his first contribution—a
35,000-word poem entitled “The Warning Voice
of Time and Prophecy.” When the Review moved
to Battle Creek in 1855, Uriah became editor at
age 23. For much of the next 50 years he served
either as editor or on its editorial staff.
In addition to his editorial duties, Smith was
elected the first secretary of the General Conference
when it organized in 1863. He also was treasurer
of the General Conference for one year, and he
taught Bible for several years at Battle Creek
College. He is probably best known today as author
of Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation.
As Review editor, Smith became “pastor”
to many isolated Adventists who could not regularly
attend church services. His wit and his scholarship
graced hundreds of articles and editorials. His
public speaking also blessed many thousands. The
last words he wrote, directed to the 1903 General
Conference, were: “I am with you in the
endeavor to send forth in this generation this
gospel of the kingdom, for a witness to all nations.
And when this is completed, it will be the signal
for the coronation of our coming King.”
At age 71, Smith died of a stroke on his way to
the Review office.