Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Erbin Cone Wattles (1825-1909)

    Today's blog profile is a return to a local oddly named politician from Chautauqua County......Erbin Cone Wattles! This interestingly named man with the impressive facial hair served as Township Supervisor for the town of Ripley during the mid-1870s. Although his political career didn't extend past the confines of his hometown, Wattles was nevertheless a prominent figure in Ripley, New York for many years.
   Erbin Cone Wattles was born in Ripley on February 21, 1825, the son of Gurdon Huntington and Lucretia Phelps Wattles. Erbin's father Gurdon was also a prominent Ripley resident and served as Township Supervisor in 1835 and 1836. Erbin received his education in Ripley and in 1845 married a woman who also had an unusual name...Wealthy Ann Tennant. The couple was married for nearly sixty years until his death in 1909. Four children were eventually born to the couple and are listed as follows: Gurdon Moses, Sarah, Burt and lastly, Jay B.
   The few sources that mention Wattles show that he purchased a large farm in Ripley in 1859 and resided here with his family for many years. His obituary in the Buffalo Express also notes that Wattles was a school teacher and music teacher during his life, and makes light of his service as Ripley Town Supervisor. Wattles was elected to this office in 1873 and served two more terms in 1874 and 1875. A roster of past Ripley supervisors has been posted below, with Wattles's name highlighted in yellow.

 In addition to his tenure as town supervisor, Wattles was also a devoutly religious man and was a prominent member of the Ripley Baptist Church. At some point during the late 1870s, Wattles and his family resettled in Buffalo, New York and he resided here until his death on April 17, 1909. He was subsequently buried in the Quincy Rural Cemetery in Ripley and was survived by his wife Wealthy, who died in 1916. 

                         Wattles's obituary in the April 21, 1909 edition of the Buffalo Express.

   On April 27, 2012, myself and two "blog friends" made a visit to the Quincy Rural Cemetery to photograph Erbin C. Wattles's gravesite. The Quincy Cemetery houses quite a few interesting graves, including those of NY State Assemblyman Jeremiah Mann (1800-1868), New York State Senator Joseph A. McGinnies (1861-1945) and U.S. Congressman Charles Mann Hamilton (1872-1941). Interestingly, two of these men are buried in close proximity to the Wattles plot! I had made an earlier visit to this cemetery in March 2012 in order to photograph the grave of Charles M. Hamilton but was unable to find it at the time. That being said, it certainly pays to have two extra pairs of eyes with you when seeking out gravesites!

  The above picture is of the Wattles plot, which houses both Erbin, his wife, and their children. To the left in the background of this picture, you'll notice a large white obelisk, and this happens to be the gravestone of the earlier mentioned Jeremiah Mann, who represented Chautauqua County in the NY State Assembly in 1845.

                                           The gravemarker of Erbin C. Wattles, 1825-1909.

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