Fenton, Reuben E. (Reuben Eaton), 1819-1885

Alternative names
Birth 1819-07-04
Death 1885-08-25

Biographical notes:

Born in the Town of Carroll, Chautauqua County, New York on 4 July 1819, and was educated in a rural school. At the age of twenty he moved to Jamestown, where he entered the lumber business and soon became a prosperous merchant. He also studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1841. Elected to Congress as a Democrat in 1852, he vigorously opposed the extention of Slavery, and soon afterward joined the Republican Party and was elected to Congress of that party, representing the Chautauqua District, from 1856 to 1864, when he was elected Governor of New York State. Both as Congressman and Governor, he was a strong supporter of the Lincoln Administration and its war policies. In 1869, he was elected to the United States Senate, holding the office for one term. As a Senator, he most often voted with the radical wing of the Republican Party. In 1878, he was appointed chairman of the International Monetary Conference in Paris. He died in Jamestown, New York on 24 August 1885.

From the description of Papers, 1854-1885. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122519796

Congressman, governor.

From the description of Papers, 1842-1938. (New York State Historical Documents). WorldCat record id: 155439724

Governor of New York and United States Senator.

From the description of Letter signed : Albany, N.Y., to President Johnson, 1865 Jun. 16. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270537565

Governor of New York State, 1865-1868.

From the description of Reuben Fenton papers, 1865-1875. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 63534477

Reuben Eaton Fenton was a United States senator and governor of New York State. Shortly before his retirement from public life in 1875, he wrote to Mrs. Barnes (24 May 1875):

...it is my fixed purpose not to be a candidate, under any circumstances. Why should I? Is not twenty years of service in high official positions enough to fill the measure of ordinary ambition? I do not ignore the public view, outside of all personal considerations, to which you refer, but feel that you overestimate my importance to it.

From the guide to the Reuben E. Fenton Letters, 1864-1884, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)


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  • Women--Education
  • Governor
  • New York State
  • Harnesses
  • Governors--New York (State)


  • Politicians
  • Governors


  • Albany (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Jamestown (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--Jamestown (as recorded)