James Wadsworth (mayor)

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James Wadsworth
Member of the New York State Senate
from the 31st District
In office
January 1, 1856 – August 18, 1858
Preceded by James O. Putnam
Succeeded by Erastus S. Prosser
21st Mayor of Buffalo
In office
March 4, 1851 – March 9, 1852
Preceded by Henry K. Smith
Succeeded by Hiram Barton
Personal details
Born August 25, 1819
Durham, Connecticut
Died May 18, 1891(1891-05-18) (aged 71)
Yonkers, New York
Political party Locofocos, Democrat
Spouse(s) Rosetta F. Robinson
(m. 1845; her death 1866)

Virginia C. Conklin
(m. 1873; his death 1891)
Children 6
Parents Wedworth Wadsworth, Jr.
Content Scranton
Alma mater Yale College (1841)

James Wadsworth (August 25, 1819 – May 18, 1891) was Mayor of the City of Buffalo, New York, serving 1851–1852.[1]

Early life[edit]

Wadsworth was born in Durham, Connecticut on August 25, 1819 to Wedworth Wadsworth, Jr. (1782–1860)[2] and Content (née Scranton) Wadsworth (1783–1839). His elder brothers included Wedworth Wadsworth (1811-1876) and William Wadsworth (c. 1817-1870), the Durham Town Clerk and Justice of the Peace.[2] Wadsworth graduated from Yale College in 1841.[3]


His paternal grandfather, John Noyes Wadsworth II (1758–1814) was the elder brother of William Wadsworth (1765–1833) and James Wadsworth (1768–1844), who settled in and founded Geneseo.[2] Their father, John Noyes Wadsworth (1732–1817) was the younger brother of James Wadsworth (1730–1816), a Brigadier General in the American Revolution and later an anti-Federalist during the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in Connecticut. They were all members of the prominent Wadsworth family of Connecticut, descended from William Wadsworth (1594–1675), one of the Founders of Hartford, Connecticut who under, the leadership of Pastor Thomas Hooker, helped found that city in June 1636.[4]


After graduating from Yale in 1841, he moved to Buffalo. In 1843, he moved back to New Haven, Connecticut, and for two years studied literature and then law.[5]

In 1845, he returned to Buffalo, and established the law firm of Wadsworth & Cameron. He became involved in real estate and purchased land from Judge Ebenezer Walden. In 1850, he was chosen Buffalo city attorney.[6] On March 4, 1851, was elected as the Locofoco candidate for mayor. During his term, the New York and Erie Railroad was completed from New York to Dunkirk and the Buffalo Female Academy opened. His term as mayor ended on March 9, 1852.[6]

In 1851, Wadsworth became president of the Buffalo, Brantford and Goderich Railroad and continued this after his mayoral term ended. He was a Democratic member of the New York State Senate (31st D.) from 1856 to 1858, sitting in the 79th, 80th and 81st New York State Legislatures. He resigned his seat on August 18, 1858.

Later career[edit]

In 1859, he removed to New York City, and for the next 25 years he was engaged in "various railway, mining, and oil companies." He worked for Wells & Fargo's Overland Express, and practiced law part of the time.[6] He also served as chairman of the Loyal League of Union Citizens during the U.S. Civil War.[7]

Personal life[edit]

On September 8, 1845, he married Rosetta F. Robinson. Together, they were the parents of six children, including:

  • Wedworth Wadsworth (1846–1926), a painter and author.[2][8][9]
  • Augustus Henry Wadsworth (1850–1861)
  • Rose Frances Wadsworth (1856–1939)
  • Hannah Wadsworth (b. 1856)
  • James Wadsworth, Jr. (b. 1860)

After her death in 1866, he remarried to Virginia C. Conklin of Norfolk, Virginia on July 9, 1873. Around 1889, he was placed in an institution in Yonkers, New York where died May 18, 1891, and was buried at Durham, Connecticut.[6]


  1. ^ Rizzo, Michael (2005). Through The Mayors' Eyes. Lulu. p. 424. ISBN 978-1-4116-3757-3. 
  2. ^ a b c d Baran, Paul E. (2007). "Wadsworth Family Collection, 1718-1921 (RG 069:052)". ctstatelibrary.org. Connecticut State Library. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  3. ^ University, Yale (1900). Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University. The University. Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  4. ^ Pearson, Henry Greenleaf (1913). James S. Wadsworth of Geneseo: brevet Major-General of United States Volunteers. New York: C. Scribner's Sons. Retrieved 7 April 2017. 
  5. ^ Rizzo, Michael F. (2005). Through the Mayors' Eyes: Buffalo, New York 1832-2005. ISBN 9781411637573. Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d "James Wadsworth". Through The Mayor's Eyes, The Only Complete History of the Mayor's of Buffalo, New York, Compiled by Michael Rizzo. The Buffalonian is produced by The Peoples History Union. 2009-05-27. 
  7. ^ Simpson, Brooks D. (May 2, 2013). The Civil War: The Third Year Told by Those Who Lived It: (Library of America #234). Library of America. ISBN 9781598532616. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  8. ^ William, Shakespeare; Wedworth, Wadsworth. "Under the greenwood tree, with Shakspere.". loc.gov. The Library of Congress. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  9. ^ "Selections from Goldsmith's deserted village / illustrated by Wedworth Wadsworth. - Version details". Trove. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry K. Smith
Mayor of Buffalo, NY
Succeeded by
Hiram Barton
New York State Senate
Preceded by
James O. Putnam
New York State Senate
31st District

Succeeded by
Erastus S. Prosser