R. C. Nesmith, attorney at law of Smithville, was born in Dekalb County in 1837, a son of William A. and Elizabeth M. (McDowell) Nesmith. The father is of Scotch- Irish decent, born in 1799, in York District, South Carolina. In 1809 with his father, William Nesmith, immigrated to Blount County, E. Tenn. A year later they went to northern Alabama, where for a number of years they lived among the Cherokee Indians. In 1824 he came to Dekalb County, and three years later married. He settled in the Nineteenth district, where he engaged in wagon making and farming. There were but two wagons in the county when he settled there. He has lived in various portions of the county, but for past few years has made his home in Smithville. From 1859 to 1862 he was county tax collector. He is the oldest living man in the county, and until the last seven years was unusually vigorous and active. He is rather eccentric, witty and humorous. He is now quite feeble. His wife was born in Wilson County in1803, and died April, 1885. She was the mother of eleven children, of whom nine are living, our subject being the seventh.
He attended the common schools but a short time. At the age of seventeen he began teaching, continuing four sessions. In 1862 he enlisted in Company G, Forty-fifth Tennessee Infantry. He was engaged in the battle of Murfreesboro, was captured and made prisoner of war. He was retained at Camp Douglas three months, then exchanged at City Point and rejoined his command at Tullahoma. In August, 1863, he returned home. After the war he farmed. In January 1867, he began the study of law. Under direction of his brother J. A., and April of the same year was admitted to the bar. In partnership with the above mentioned he began to practice. In 1870 he became a partner of Judge Robert Cantrell, now of Lebanon; the firm existed two years and changed to Nesmith & Smallman, who is now Judge M. D. Smallman, of McMinnville; the past two years he has had no partner. He is one of Dekalb County’s most talented and eminent lawyers, and has a fine chancery practice. He is a stanch Democrat, and a Master Mason.
In 1865 he married Miss Mary J., daughter of James and Mary McDearmon, who was born in Wilson County in 1839. Mrs. Nesmith is an earnest and active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.