Thursday, May 22, 2014

Elloy Ring Ganey (1881-1950)

Portrait from the October 28, 1948 Fredonia, New York Censor.

    Every so often I receive the pleasant surprise of discovering a political figure local to to my home county of Chautauqua, New York who is blessed with peculiar name. Just a short while ago I experienced one of those surprises when I stumbled across the name of Elloy Ring Ganey, a Chautauqua County resident who was for many years prominent in local Democratic circles, being a candidate for the New York State Assembly, an alternate delegate to the 1928 Democratic National Convention, chairman of the Chautauqua Democratic Committee and Postmaster of Jamestown, New York. Despite Ganey's prominence in Chautauqua public life several decades ago he is all but forgotten today, and the succeeding lines aim to be a proper biography of a historically neglected Chautauquan from the past.
    A native of Pennsylvania. Elloy Ring Ganey was born in Warren on December 12th, 1881, being the second of five children born to Mathew and Littie Ganey. The family would later remove from Warren to the village of Carroll in Chautauqua County, and as a young man Ganey would find work as a steam engineer under the employ of the Charles Haas Construction Company of Jamestown, New York. Ganey's obituary in the Warren Times Mirror further relates that he worked as motorman for the Chautauqua Traction Company for a time, and would also serve as a game warden in Chautauqua County beginning in the early 1910s.
   E.R. Ganey became active in Chautauqua County political circles in the early 1920s, and in the succeeding years grew to be a prominent Democrat within the county. In 1926 he was a Democratic candidate for a seat in the New York State Assembly from Chautauqua's 1st district, and in the November election was defeated by Republican candidate Adolph Johnson, receiving 2,333 votes to Johnson's 11, 022. Two years following his defeat Ganey served as an alternate delegate from New York to the 1928 Democratic National Convention in Houston, Texas, which nominated Alfred E. Smith for the Presidency.
   Following his service as a delegate Ganey achieved further prominence in April 1932 when he was selected to be chairman of the Chautauqua County Democratic Committee. The Silver Creek, New York News reported on his ascension to that office, noting that he was elected "without opposition." He held this post for two years, being succeeded in 1934 by Loren Lamphere. In that year E.R. Ganey received the appointment of Postmaster of Jamestown, New York, and would serve in this capacity until his death sixteen years later.

Elloy Ganey (pictured on the far left), from the January 6, 1946 Jamestown Post Journal.


                           Elloy R. Ganey (pictured at left), from the Buffalo Courier Express, July 13, 1945.

   In addition to his political and civic activities within the county, Ganey maintained an avowed interest in an interesting non-political subject: horse racing. As the owner of a stable of several harness racing horses, he is remarked as being "a familiar figure at the Buffalo Raceway in his striking shirts and ties" and one of his horses, a "consistent trotter" named Camilla Hanover, earned over $17,000 in purse money. Ganey was also involved in a number of fraternal organizations in the county, including the Jamestown Elks Lodge and the "Protected Home Circle" and was also active in the running of the annual Chautauqua County Fair, serving as its president and head of horse racing.
   Elloy Ring Ganey died at WCA Hospital in Jamestown on March 21, 1950 at age 68. A heart ailment is attributed as being his cause of death, and following his passing was interred at the Fentonville Cemetery located near Frewsburg, New York. A life-long bachelor, Ganey was survived by three siblings and had resided with the Burch family of Jamestown as a border in their home.
  In keeping with the sometimes exhaustive research I do on some of these oddly named folks, I made a point to seek out Elloy Ganey's gravesite at the Fentonville Cemetery, and as luck would have it, this cemetery is comparatively small when compared to several others I've visited in the past. Within two minutes of beginning my hunt for his gravesite I located Ganey's modest headstone near the front of the cemetery (photographs below.)



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