Charlestonian Augustine Thomas Smythe was the son of a prominent lawyer of the same name and great-grandson of Langdon Cheves. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1907 and earned his M.A. at Harvard Law School in 1910. He married Harriott Ravenel Buist and had two sons and a son-in-law who became lawyers and one son who became a physician.
He joined the firm of Smythe, Lee and Frost, later Smythe and Visanska, and then for years carried on a practice alone. In 1949, he formed Smythe and Smythe with his eldest son. He was an eminent trial lawyer, learned in the law, strong in intelligence, untiring in industry, devoted to his clients’ interests, absolute in his legal ethics, a legal philosopher, a delightful companion. A longtime Presbyterian Elder, he was a leader in civic, cultural and social affairs.
Wide reading, interest in people, an unusual vocabulary and a gift of expression made him renowned and sought as a speaker and conversationalist of charm, clarity and wit.