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Wilson S. Bissell

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Wilson S. Bissell
Chancellor of the University of Buffalo
In office
Preceded byJames O. Putnam
Succeeded byCharles Phelps Norton
36th United States Postmaster General
In office
March 6, 1893 – March 1, 1895
PresidentGrover Cleveland
Preceded byJohn Wanamaker
Succeeded byWilliam Lyne Wilson
Personal details
Wilson Shannon Bissell

(1847-12-31)December 31, 1847
New London, New York, U.S. (now Rome)
DiedOctober 6, 1903(1903-10-06) (aged 55)
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Resting placeForest Lawn Cemetery,
Buffalo, New York
Political partyDemocratic
Louise Fowler Sturges
(m. 1890⁠–⁠1903)
RelationsArthur D. Bissell (brother)
EducationYale University (BA)

Wilson Shannon Bissell (December 31, 1847 – October 6, 1903) was an American politician from New York and considered one of the foremost Democratic leaders of Western New York.[1]

Early life[edit]

Bissell was born on December 31, 1847, in New London, Oneida County, New York. He was the son of John Bissell (1808–1889), a prominent forwarding merchant in Buffalo,[2] and Isabella Jeanette (née Hally) Bissell (1813–1885). His older brother, Arthur D. Bissell, was the president of the New York State Bankers Association and president of the People's Bank of Buffalo.[1] He was of Scotch-Irish ancestry.[3]

He prepared at Hopkins Grammar School in New Haven, Connecticut, and graduated from Yale University in 1869 and was a member of Skull and Bones.[4]: 489 


Following his graduation from Yale, he began the study of law in Buffalo with Lanning, Cleveland & Folsom.[1] He was admitted to the bar in 1871 and began practicing.[1]

From 1873 to 1882 he was a law partner of future President Grover Cleveland and acted as chief groomsman when Cleveland was married.[5] Bissell entered Democratic Party politics as a candidate for presidential elector in 1888. He served as Postmaster General under Cleveland from 1893 to 1895.[6] In 1896, he was a delegate to the 1896 Democratic National Convention.[7]

Apgar's Corners in Tewksbury Township, New Jersey, was renamed in 1893 to the village of Bissell in an effort to sway him into ordering that a post office be created in the settlement. A small post office building (no longer in existence) was established soon thereafter.[8]

From 1902 until his death in 1903, Bissell served as the Chancellor of the University of Buffalo.[9]

Personal life[edit]

On February 6, 1890, Bissell married Louise Fowler Sturges (1866–1921) of Geneva, New York.[1] They were the parents of one child.[2]

Bissell died at age 55 on October 6, 1903, at his residence in Buffalo, New York.[10] After a funeral at Trinity Episcopal Church in Buffalo (where former President Cleveland was a pallbearer),[3] his body was cremated and his ashes were buried in the family lot at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e Cutter, William Richard (1912). Genealogical and Family History of Western New York: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 142. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events of the Year ... D. Appleton & Company. 1894. p. 736. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Buffalo Historical Society Publications. Buffalo, New York: Buffalo Historical Society. 1904. p. 489. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  4. ^ Publications of the Buffalo Historical Society, vol. 7, 1904.
  5. ^ Waterloo, Stanley; Hanson Jr., John Wesley (1896). Famous American Men and Women: A Complete Portrait Gallery of Celebrated People, Whose Names are Prominent in the Annals of the Time, Each Portrait Accompanied by an Authentic Biographical Sketch, Secured by Personal Interview--the Whole Forming a Text Book of National Character. J.H. Moore Company. pp. 130–131. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  6. ^ "Wilson Shannon Bissell letter to Frank Campbell". archives.nypl.org. Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Wilson S. Bissell, United States Postmaster
  8. ^ Stevenson, R. P.; Potter, M., Oldtime Days In Mountainville, and Surrounding Towns, (1990), p. 92.
  9. ^ White, Truman C. (1898). Our County and its People | A descriptive work on Erie County, New York. The Boston History Company. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Obituary". Buffalo Medical Journal. LIX.-XLIII. August 1903 to July 1904: 275. 1904. Retrieved April 18, 2018.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by United States Postmaster General
Served under: Grover Cleveland

Succeeded by