Henry Augustus Middleton Smith was born in Charleston on April 30, 1853, the son of Julius Pringle Smith and Elizabeth Middleton. He graduated from the College of Charleston in 1872 and was granted an LL.D. degree by the same college. He studied law in the office of McCrady and Sons and was admitted to the Bar in 1874. For 34 years, he was a member of the firm of Mitchell and Smith. In 1879, he married Emma Rutledge of Tennessee. He was appointed United States District Judge by President Taft in 1911.
Deeply interested in education, he served as Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Charleston College. He was Chairman and an organizer of the South Carolina Historical Commission and Vice President of the South Carolina Historical Society. He was well read, spoke several languages, and did much research into the records of abandoned towns and settlements in lower South Carolina.
He was a keen sportsman, a farmer who grew both rice and cotton, and, at the time of his death, was the owner of Middleton Place Gardens.
Henry Augustus Middleton Smith died in Charleston, South Carolina on November 23, 1924.