Representing the only notable structure featuring the Egyptian Revival style of architectural style in the state of Maine, the F.O.J. Smith Tomb in the Evergreen Cemetery of Portland was designed by Francis Ormand Jonathan Smith himself. Smith designed the tomb for his final resting place in 1860 and this tomb is one of only a handful of tombs like this in all of New England. Amid the other tombs of Evergreen, it stands out as starkly unique, and many travel to the Tomb to read the profound inscription carved into the marble door.
Ormand Jonathan Smith, nick-named “Fog” Smith, was born in Brentwood, New
Hampshire on November 23rd of 1806.
He came to Portland, Maine, hoping to practice law in 1823, and shortly
afterwards began a respectable career in politics. Smith served the State of Maine and the United
States in the House of Representatives through three terms before later turning
his interest to telegraph technology and infrastructure. Throughout the latter half of his life, Smith
did business with telegraph great and Morse code inventor Samuel Morse.
business ventures with the telegraph were lofty and ambitious, bringing him so
close to success that likely would have lasted for decades. Unfortunately, however, due to patent
disputes, company stock conflicts, personal disagreements with Morse and other
business partners, and the failure of one of the telegraph lines, Smith was
remembered as “Maine’s magnificent failure.”
Despite being respected (and sometimes feared) for his ambition, vision,
and “flexible conscience,” his misfortune in the telegraph industry would come
to characterize much of Fog Smith’s story for most of his generation.
closest friends, he was remembered for his generosity and charisma, though the
public looked on him much less generously.
He was largely disliked for his vehement disgust with Lincoln’s
Emancipation Proclamation, and his white supremacist views did not win him
popularity among the more liberal citizens of New England. His business behavior has been described as “perfidious,”
which resulted in him losing many of the business partners who had once been
his friends. Most painfully, his
obituary in the Portland newspaper “the Portland Transcript” ended with a
scathing criticism. It read, “he failed
in most of his endeavors, and his record serves as a warning rather than an
The tomb he
designed for his family after the death of his daughter in 1860 is as eclectic and
strange in comparison to the popular designs of the time as he was in
comparison to his peers. The poem on the
door seems to portray some religious hope, that perhaps life may be better
All Flesh Must Die.
inspires Hope that all
Spiritual Beings will
live forever, in spheres
and forms to which they
And fear not to leave wholly
to Him the Great Future.
His plans for Heaven
as for Earth must be
All men can know of future life.