Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Freeborn Garrettson Jewett (1791-1858), Freeborn Woodbury Cressy (1839-1908)

Portrait from the Medico-Legal Journal, 1903.

    Receiving his name in honor of prominent American Methodist clergyman Freeborn Garrettson (1752-1827), Freeborn Garrettson Jewett was born in Sharon, Connecticut on August 4, 1791, the fifth child of ten born to Alpheus and Abigail Sears Jewett. Freeborn would attend common schools in the Sharon area and began studying law at the age of twenty. Following his admittance, Jewett married in 1814 to Ms. Fannie Warner and the couple later had one son, William (born in 1816.) The Jewett family eventually relocated to Skaneateles, New York and it was here that he formed a partnership with a local attorney named James Porter.
   Jewett entered the political life of New York State in 1823 when he was elected as Onondaga County Judge. He would serve in that capacity from 1824-31 and during his term pulled political double duty when he won election to the State Assembly from Onondaga County in 1825. Serving in the session of 1826, Jewett would make his first move into national politics in 183o when he was elected as Jacksonian Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives from New York, besting National Republican candidate William Jerome by a vote of 4,539 to 2,739. Shortly after leaving Congress in 1833 he was honored as the first President of the village of Skaneateles, which had recently been incorporated as a village.
   After his short stint on the national political scene, Jewett served one year (1838-1839) as the Inspector of Auburn State Prison. A brief term as Onondaga County District Attorney followed, and in 1845 continued his political ascent when he was named as an Associate Justice of the New York State Supreme Court. His time here proved to be short, due to his election to the New York State Court of Appeals in 1847. 
   Jewett was named as Chief Judge of the Appeals Court in the same year as his election and served as its head until 1850. His tenure on the court ended in 1853 when he resigned due to health concerns. He died on January 27, 1858 and was shortly thereafter interred in the Lake View Cemetery in his native town of Skaneateles. The rare photograph of Freeborn Jewett shown above was taken shortly before his death and appeared in the December 1903 edition of the Medico-Legal Journal, Volume 21.

Portrait from "Beverly: Garden City By the Sea", 1897.

    A two-term member of the Massachusetts General Court, Freeborn Woodbury Cressy was a well-to-do resident of Beverly, Massachusetts and was a prominent leader in the civic and political life of his native city for many decades. In the twilight of his life he would win election as Mayor of Beverly, serving one year in that post.
   Cressy was born in the aforementioned city on January 4, 1839, being the son of John and Johanna Ober Cressy. After attending local schools he began work in a shoe factory, continuing in that employ for several years. In 1873 he and a partner, Israel Lee, began developing their own furniture and upholstery company, which later underwent a name change to F.W. Cressy and William F. Lee. Cressy was also quite active in the local Fire King Engine Company and would serve as both a foreman and member of its board of engineers.
   In May 1866 Freeborn Cressy married to Sarah Godfrey, a native of New Hampshire. The couple would be married for over four decades and their union produced four children: Lewis W., Mary, John and Willis. 
   While still very attentive to his business pursuits, Cressy began venturing into local politics, winning election as a town selectman in 1869, an office he would continue to hold for nearly thirty years. Cressy continued his rise in Massachusetts political life with his election to the Massachusetts State House of Representatives in 1869 and three years later won a second term in that body. During his time as a selectman, Cressy was an avowed leader in the development his native city's infrastructure, helping to design a new sewer system for the city, as well as bringing modern accommodations to the local fire department.
    An "acknowledge authority in all that pertains to town and city forms of government",  Cressy was "handsomely elected" as Mayor of Beverly in 1896, serving a one year term beginning in 1897. He died in his office in Beverly on April 26, 1908 at age 69, and a burial location for him remains unknown at the time of this writing.

Cressy as he appeared during his second term in the legislature, 1872.

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