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Reuben Eaton Fenton
New York

Gov. Reuben Eaton Fenton

  • January 1, 1865 - January 1, 1869
  • Union
  • July 4, 1819
  • August 25, 1885
  • New York
  • Married twice—Jane Frew, Elizabeth Scudder; three children
  • Representative, Senator


REUBEN E. FENTON, the twenty-fifth governor of New York, was born in Carroll, New York on July 4, 1819. His early education was attained in the public schools of his native state. While studying law, he worked as a logger and merchant. Fenton first entered politics as the supervisor of Carroll, a position he held from 1846 to 1852. He also served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1853 to 1855 and 1857 to 1864; and he played a key role in organizing the state’s Republican Party in 1855. Fenton next won election to the governorship on November 8, 1864. He was reelected to a second term in 1866. During his tenure, Cornell University was founded; a free public school system was initiated; and relief measures were sanctioned that benefited veterans. After leaving the governorship, Fenton served in the U.S. Senate, an office he held from 1869 to 1875. In 1878, he secured an appointment to serve as chairman of the U.S. Commission to the International Monetary Conference in Paris. Afterwards, he retired from public service, returning to his business interests. Governor Reuben E. Fenton passed away on August 25, 1885, and was buried in the Lakeview Cemetery in Jamestown, New York.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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