Monday, February 6, 2012

Attention!! Interesting Political History In Our Own Backyard!!!!

  Anyone who has read the previous posting about the Honorable NY Congressman Pius L. Schwert will realize that I sometimes go above and beyond the call of duty in researching the lives of some of the people posted here. Along with that fact, we here in the Southern Tier have lucked into the good fortune of having quite a bit of obscure political history buried in our backyard. Along with the aforementioned Pius Schwert, there are a few other oddly named politicians who call Western NY their final resting place.
 This article is a brief snippet of some of those folks, and larger biographies on them will be added when time permits. Photographs of them, as well as their gravestones, will also accompany their articles.

1. Pius Louis Schwert (1892-1941): U.S. Congressman from NY, 1939-1941. Buried in the Forest Avenue Cemetery in Angola (pretty self explanatory, considering that I wrote an article about him yesterday!)

2. Eleazer Green Jr. (1846-1933): Mayor of Jamestown, NY from 1894-1896. Buried Lakeview Cemetery (Yes.....we did indeed have a goofy named Jamestown Mayor!) Green served as the second Mayor of an incorporated city of Jamestown and he even has a picture! Check out the muttonchops on this guy......

3. Albion Winegar Tourgee--(1838-1905): U.S. Consul to Bordeaux, France from 1897-1905; candidate for Congress from North Carolina in 1875; Superior Court Judge, 1868-1874; also a prominent American attorney and novelist. Mr. Tourgee is buried under a fairly large obelisk in the Mayville Cemetery, and you'd never know that this was the man who argued the case of Homer Plessy (of Plessy v. Ferguson fame) in front of the Supreme Court! This court case is one of the most famous in the annals of American jurisprudence, and a major figure in the case is buried right here in Chautauqua County!!! A larger biography of Tourgee (as well as the photos I took of his grave) will be posted as some point down the road....

                                                                       Albion Tourgee

4. Sextus Heman Hungerford (1806-1867): This wonderfully named man was a prominent resident of Westfield, NY and served as a New York State Assemblyman in 1865, representing Chautauqua County. I've known about this gentleman for years (there's even a 1854 Chautauqua County map in my home that shows the location of his house!) but all the while his final resting place remained a mystery. Recently it was found that he was buried in the Westfield Cemetery, so stay tuned for an article on him!!

5. Zattu Cushing (1771-1839): Anyone remotely familiar with Chautauqua County history knows about Zattu Cushing. This towering figure in local history served as the first judge in Chautauqua County (more precisely, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, 1811-1824.) Cushing is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Pomfret/Fredonia. His name is quite unique in regards to my chronicling strangely named politicians, and I've yet to stumble across any other figure with the given name "Zattu." A larger blog biography on him is in the works....

                                                                         Zattu Cushing

5. Obed Edson (1832-1919) is another prominent oddly named figure in Chautauqua County history. Besides authoring numerous works on the history of our county, Edson represented Chautauqua County in the New York State Assembly in 1875. He died at age 87 in 1919 and lies in the Evergreen Cemetery in Sinclairville, New York. A larger biography on Mr. Edson (as well as my photos of his gravesite) will be posted in a blog article at some point.

6. Girvease A. Matteson (1857-1935): This very obscure man served in the New York State Assembly from 1896-1898. Little else is known of him, excepting that he was a resident of East Otto, New York. He is buried in the East Otto Cemetery, which I plan on visiting at some point for article research purposes...I am also on the lookout for a picture of him, so please help!!!!

7. Commodore Perry Vedder (1838-1910): Another prominent Cattaraugus County resident, Vedder's actual first name is indeed Commodore! This Ellicottville native served in the New York State Senate from 1876-77 and again from 1884-1891. He was later a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention of 1898. Vedder is buried in Ellicottville and also has had a few pictures of himself discovered by me, including the one posted below.

                                                                   Commodore P. Vedder

8. Walkerman D. Dugan (1902-1959): This resident of Cattaraugus County, NY served as the Mayor of Olean from 1942-1943. Dugan was also a businessman, serving as the director of the Olean Glass Plant during the 1930s. He died in 1959 and is buried in the St. Bonaventure Cemetery in Allegany.

9. The man shown above, DeHart Henry Ames (1872-1955) served as a member of the New York State Assembly as well as the New York State Senate. He later was named as a delegate to the 1938 NY State Constitutional Convention. Ames also gained local fame for being the prime mover behind the legislation that created the Allegany State Park. Ames is buried in the Little Valley Rural Cemetery in Little Valley, New York.

10. Marcius Simons--(1792-1865): This obscure Chautauqua County man was a prominent Brocton physician who served in the NY State Assembly in 1844. His burial location is in the Evergreen Cemetery in Portland, so stay tuned for an eventual article on him!

11. Waterman Ellsworth (1797-1849) was an obscure 19th century resident of the town of Stockton and he was also one of the first physicians in said town. He represented Chautauqua County in the Assembly in 1839 and was also an in-law of noted American educator Mary Lyon (1797-1849).

12. Adolphus Freeman Morrison (1805-1852) was an obscure resident of Hanover, NY who represented Chautauqua County in the Assembly in 1843. Little else is known of him, except his burial location in the Forestville Pioneer Cemetery.

13. The man shown above, Rexford Guy Tugwell (1891-1979) is one of the most eminent persons buried in our county, and I'm willing to bet that hardly anyone knows that he's buried here! Tugwell was a professor at Columbia University when he became friends with Franklin D. Roosevelt during the early 1930s and eventually worked his way into Roosevelt's inner circle. When Roosevelt began his campaign for the Presidency this circle was dubbed "The Brain Trust" and Tugwell was one of its brightest lights. He was appointed as Under Secretary of Agriculture in the late 1930s and in 1941 was tapped by Roosevelt to be Governor of Puerto Rico. Tugwell served until 1946 in the latter office and is remembered as the last appointed American Governor of that country.
  Tugwell spent the remainder of his life as an "elder statesman", teaching and authoring numerous works relating to American economic policy and the Roosevelt administration. He died in Santa Barbara, California in 1979 at age 88 and I originally thought that he was buried there. As it turns out, Tugwell was buried in the place of his birth (Sinclairville, NY) in the Tugwell family plot in the Evergreen Cemetery!

At some point in the future I'll get around to posting some of my Erie County, New York and Warren, Pennsylvania-area findings (there are a number of them.) So there you have it!!! Some interesting local political history buried right in your own backyard!!! Go out and have a look for yourself.....they obviously aren't going anywhere!!!

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