A.T. (Alvin Thompson) Smith was an early Oregon pioneer who participated in the formation of the government of the Oregon Territory, and who also helped to found Pacific University. One of eleven children, he was born on November 17, 1802 to Thomas and Desire Thompson Smith in Branford, Connecticut. He was working as a carpenter in Illinois when he met and married his wife, Abigail Raymond of Sherburne, New York, in 1840. Later that year, he and his wife traveled overland to the Tualatin Valley area of Oregon in order to preach to the Native Americans. He was the first white American to settle in the area that would later become the city of Forest Grove.
As one of the earliest American settlers in Oregon, A.T. Smith became a prominent member of society. He participated in the Champoeg Meetings that established the Oregon Provisional Government, served as magistrate for the Twality District (now Washington County), and later as a probate judge.
His first wife, Abigail, died in 1858. In 1869, at the end of a three year trip back east, A.T. Smith met and married Jane Maria Averill, 34 years his junior. A.T. Smith died in his home on January 22, 1888 at the age of 85. Jane Smith lived on for another 34 years, ensuring the survival of Smith’s papers by donating them to the Oregon Historical Society.