Theodore M. Pomeroy

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Theodore Medad Pomeroy
Theodore Medad Pomeroy - Brady-Handy.jpg
26th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
March 3, 1869 – March 4, 1869
President Andrew Johnson
Preceded by Schuyler Colfax
Succeeded by James G. Blaine
Member of U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 24th district
In office
March 4, 1863 – March 3, 1869
Preceded by Charles B. Sedgwick
Succeeded by George W. Cowles
Member of U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 25th district
In office
March 4, 1861 – March 3, 1863
Preceded by Martin Butterfield
Succeeded by Daniel Morris
Member of the New York Senate
from the 25th district
In office
January 1, 1878 – December 31, 1879
Preceded by William B. Woodin
Succeeded by Dennis McCarthy
Personal details
Born December 31, 1824
Cayuga, New York
Died March 23, 1905 (aged 80)
Auburn, New York
Political party Whig Party, Republican
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Leitch Watson
Children 5
Education Monroe Academy
Alma mater Hamilton College
Profession Law
Religion Presbyterian

Theodore Medad Pomeroy (December 31, 1824 – March 23, 1905) was an American businessman and politician from New York who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1861 to 1869, as the mayor of Auburn, New York from 1875 to 1876, and in the New York State Senate from 1878 to 1879.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Theodore Medad Pomeroy was born on December 31, 1824, the second son and fourth child (of nine) of Rev. Medad Pomeroy (1792–1867),[2] a minister in the Presbyterian church originally from Massachusetts, and Lilly Maxwell (1794–1857),[3] who was originally from Connecticut. He spent his childhood in the village of Elbridge where he went to live when he was nine years old.[1]

He was educated at the Monroe Academy and at 15, entered Hamilton College,[4] as a Junior as students under 13 were not admitted. He graduated in 1842 at 17 years-old and was ranked in the first division of six in a class of 24.[1]

Career[edit]

Legal career[edit]

In May 1843, at the age of 18, he left his parent's home in Cayuga and moved to the Village of Auburn where he entered the firm of Beach & Underwood, as a law student. William H. Seward was counsel for the firm as he had just finished serving as the Governor of New York from 1838 to 1842.[5] Christopher Morgan and Samuel Blatchford, who later became one of the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, became associated with the firm. On May 23, 1846,[4] he was admitted to practice as an attorney in New York State.[1]

Political career[edit]

In 1847, he was elected by the Whig Party as clerk of Auburn and in 1851, he was nominated by the Whigs and was elected district attorney.[4] He was reelected again in 1853 and served a second term. At the end of his second term he was chosen to be a Member of the New York Assembly by the Republicans to represent the second district of Cayuga and served in the legislature in 1857 but declined renomination.[1]

In September 1860, he was nominated and elected by the Republican party to represent the 25th Congressional district, composed of the counties of Cayuga and Wayne, in the House of Representatives. On July 4, 1861,[6] he took his seat at the extra session of the 37th Congress convened by the President Abraham Lincoln, right after the start of the Civil War.[7] He was referred to as the youngest looking member on the floor by Washington newspaper correspondents, who described him as follows:[1]

Mr. Pomeroy of Auburn is small in stature, with keen black eyes, a peculiarly expressive countenance and somewhere near as smart as chain lightning, at least when he deals with lower law Democracy. He is one of the most energetic and effective debaters in the House and brimful to running over with that kind of Republicanism which is found in the now somewhat antiquated document known as the Declaration of Independence. The lions of buccaneer Democracy fare hard when they fall into his hands and he occasionally handles certain old fogy Republicans without gloves.

He was nominated by acclamation in 1862, 1864, and 1866 from the then 24th Congressional district which comprised the counties of Cayuga, Wayne and Seneca. For a few hours, Pomeroy was the Speaker of the House,[4] due to Vice President-elect Schuyler Colfax's resignation on March 3, 1869, until the session was adjourned sine die.[7]

Pomeroy returned to politics and was elected mayor of Auburn, New York,serving from 1875 to 1876, then as a member of the New York State Senate (25th D.) in 1878 and 1879.[4][7]

Banking career[edit]

After the war ended, a boom in business production and industry began around the country. In the spring of 1866, the Merchants Union Express Company was organized to transport trade and goods across the United States with Elmore P. Ross as president, William H. Seward, Jr. as vice-president, John N. Knapp as secretary, William C. Beardsley as treasurer, and Pomeroy as their attorney. By October 1866, the company was transporting goods across the major U.S. railroads and by the beginning of 1867, the company operated a network of express lines across the entire United States.[1] The huge business incurred equally huge debts and in 1868,[8] the company was acquired and merged with the American Merchants Union, now known as the American Express Company. Pomeroy stayed on and served as first vice-president[4] and general counsel, along with co-founder William Fargo and later with William's brother, J. C. Fargo, in 1868.[7][9][10]

Personal life[edit]

On September 4, 1855, while serving his second term as District Attorney, he married Elizabeth Leitch Watson (1835–1892), the second daughter of Robert Watson, also of Auburn. Elizabeth's sister, Janet MacNeil Watson (1839–1913), married William H. Seward, Jr. (1839–1920).[11] Together, they had five children:[12]

Pomeroy retired from public life in 1879 and lived at 168 Genesee Street in Auburn, where he died in 1905.[4] Harriet Tubman (1822–1913) was a close friend of the family who helped care for the Pomeroy children. She attended his funeral and it was reported that only her flowers and letter were placed on his casket and buried with him.[11][12]

Descendants[edit]

Pomeroy's grandchildren include New York State Senator Robert Watson Pomeroy (1902–1989), Janet Pomeroy Avery (1891–1969), who married John Foster Dulles (1888–1959), the U.S. Secretary of State during the Eisenhower Administration, and Josephine Herrick (1897–1972), photographer and teacher.[12]

His great-children include John W. F. Dulles (1913–2008), a professor of history and specialist in Brazil at the University of Texas at Austin,[20] Lillias Dulles Hinshaw (1914–1987), a Presbyterian minister, and Avery Dulles (1918–2008), who converted to Roman Catholicism, entered the Jesuit order, and became the first American theologian to be appointed a Cardinal.[12]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Pomeroy, Robert Watson (1910). A Sketch of the Life of Theodore Medad Pomeroy, 1824-1905. Cayuga County, New York: Cayuga County Historical Society. p. 68. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  2. ^ "Rev Medad Pomeroy". www.findagrave.com. Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "Lilly Maxwell Pomeroy". www.findagrave.com. Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Theodore M. Pomeroy". The New York Times. March 24, 1905. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  5. ^ Van Deusen, pp. 87–90.
  6. ^ McPherson, James M. (2008). Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief. The Penguin Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-59420-191-2. 
  7. ^ a b c d http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=P000424
  8. ^ "William G. Fargo". sfmuseum.org. San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser August 27, 1881. 
  9. ^ "A SUCCESSOR TO W.G. FARGO.". The New York Times. August 19, 1881. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  10. ^ Grossman, Peter Z. (1987). American Express: The People Who Built the Great Financial Empire. Beard Books. ISBN 9781587982835. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  11. ^ a b c "Auburn, NY Pomeroy Anvil Monument". American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Association. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  12. ^ a b c d Pomeroy, Bill. "Honorable Theodore Medad POMEROY". rootsmagic.com. American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Association. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  13. ^ "Lillias Pomeroy Avery". www.findagrave.com. Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  14. ^ Tilson, John Quillin (1951). Sixty Years After: Being a History of the Class of Eighteen Ninety One, Yale College. New Haven, CT: Yale University. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  15. ^ Hartford, William J. (1900). The Successful American; Volume 3, Part 1 - Volume 4, Part 1. Press Biographical Company. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  16. ^ "A magnificent restoration on Oakland Place". buffalospree.com. Buffalo Spree. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  17. ^ "Mrs. Pomeroy Dies in NYC" (PDF). New Castle Tribune. North Westchester Times. April 24, 1958. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  18. ^ The Hamilton Record. Hamilton College. 1902. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  19. ^ American Kennel Club Stud Book, Vol. 19. American Kennel Club. 1903. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  20. ^ "90-year-old Still Active at University", The Daily Texan
Sources
  • Van Deusen, Glyndon (1967). William Henry Seward. New York: Oxford University Press. OCLC 426046. 
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Martin Butterfield
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 25th congressional district

March 4, 1861 – March 3, 1863
Succeeded by
Daniel Morris
Preceded by
Charles B. Sedgwick
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 24th congressional district

March 4, 1863 – March 3, 1869
Succeeded by
George W. Cowles
New York State Senate
Preceded by
William B. Woodin
New York State Senate
25th District

1878–1879
Succeeded by
Dennis McCarthy