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Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York

by John H. Selkreg, 1894; D. Mason & Co., Publisher

Chapter VI.
Tompkins County Political Notes—Reminiscences of Important Campaigns—Vote of the County on Prominent Officials from 1817 to the Present Time—Political Officials of the County, Past and Present.

While the political character of Tompkins county at and since the year 1859 has been quite pronounced, previous to that date majorities were limited as to size and not definitely fixed as to party, varying at different times from one side to the other. In 1820, the first presidential election after the formation of the county, MONROE received the vote, as there was practically no opposition, and the name of Daniel D. TOMPKINS upon the ticket for vice-president (the county being named after him) added materially to what would have been otherwise a somewhat one-sided contest. In 1824, in the struggle between JACKSON, ADAMS, CRAWFORD and CLAY, Mr. ADAMS had a small majority, followed by a large majority in 1828 for General JACKSON, and by a smaller majority for his re-election in 1832. Mr. VAN BUREN's majority in 1836 was very light, reaching only 150 in the county. This was reversed in 1840 and HARRISON had several hundred votes over VAN BUREN. In 1844 POLK received a slight majority, while in 1848 TAYLOR had a majority of some 350 over VAN BUREN and a very large vote over CASS. The majority for PIERCE in 1852 was only 62.

The anti-Masonic excitement which swept through the State was felt in some towns of the county, where the popular vote was very largely controlled by it, while in other towns opposition to it was very pronounced. The most marked contest upon these lines occurred in 1831 when Samuel LOVE and Eleazer BROWN were candidates for county clerk, LOVE being the Masonic favorite and BROWN representing the anti-Masonic sentiment. The vote of that year is given to illustrate the division. While LOVE received 575 majority in Ithaca and Caroline, BROWN's large vote in Hector, Ulysses, Enfield and Groton, left LOVE but 37 majority in the county.

Ulysses 109 325
Hector 235 346
Enfield 69 235
Newfield 205 118
Danby 179 187
Caroline 238 69
Dryden 338 401
Groton 146 279
Lansing 244 172
Ithaca 580 174
  2,343 2,306

In 1853 the so-called American party first appeared in Tompkins county politics, and although failing to cast a large vote, it gave evidence of great vitality. Following the agitation of the compromise measures of 1850, supplemented by the threatening aspect of the slavery question, culminating in the anti-Nebraska legislation in 1854 and the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, great meetings were held in various parts of the county, participated in by men who had before been members of the Democratic and the Whig parties. This antislavery agitation measurably broke up former organizations, the Whig party after the defeat of General Scott in 1852 becoming disorganized, although Myron H. CLARK, its candidate for governor, was elected in 1854.

The organization of the Republican party in 1854, so far as it proceeded, took for its members portions of the Barn-burner or Free-soil Democrats of 1848, and the SEWARD or Free-soil Whigs from the Whig party. Those opposed to the Democratic party who were termed Silver Grey Whigs (so named from the silvery locks of one of their leaders, Francis P. GRANGER, of Canandaigua), largely entered the American party, and that party elected its local candidates by a vote of 817 to 93 at the Ithaca charter election in the spring of 1855, and county candidates in November by nearly 600 majority. Stephen B. CUSHING, of Ithaca, candidate for attorney- general on the American ticket, was successful, and assemblymen and lesser officers also by nearly the same vote.

The FREMONT campaign of 1856 was one of the most exciting ones which ever took place in this locality. Old party lines disappeared, a very heated canvass, opening in July, continued in intensity up to election, and the FREMONT ticket received 4,019 votes, the BUCHANAN ticket 1,430 votes, and the FILLMORE ticket 1,470 votes. Since 1856 Tompkins county has never given an anti-Republican majority at a presidential election, and only once were the Democrats successful on any State officer previous to 1884.

At the election of 1882, the FOLGER and CLEVELAND campaign, President CLEVELAND received a majority of 929 for governor. The normal Republican majority in the county on a full vote in a national campaign can be set down as scarcely less than 1,000; it has at times reached 700 above this, and once it gave General GARFIELD only 454.

County officers since 1856 have been uniformly Republican, although the Democrats have succeeded in electing assemblymen five times within the period in question.

The temperance sentiment is quite strong in the county, many of the towns voting uniformly against license. At the election in November, 1893, the anti-saloon candidates received a vote of about 1,300, the highest ever cast by the county organization, although the mayoralty of Ithaca turned upon that question in March, 1893, the anti-saloon candidate being successful by a majority of 127.

The following table is valuable for reference, at least, showing the vote of each town in the county in the year 1817 for the several State officials:

  Ulysses Hector Covert Dryden Lansing Division Total
De Witt CLINTON 345 87 223 301 228 202 1286
Peter B. PORTER 6 6
Lieut.Governor, John TAYLOR 340 84 226 208 229 201 1278
Jedediah PRENDERGRAST 308 52 207 228 202 1010
Isaac WILSON 198 94 228 198 228 202 1148
John SUTTON 671 88 286 88 121 1245
Samuel CRITTENDEN 669 87 283 88 121 1248
Isaac ALLEN 63 216 373 53 267 109 1081
Caleb SMITH 63 221 373 54 267 111 1088

Horace PIERCE, Phineas CULVER, each one vote for governor; David WOODCOCK, one vote for lieutenant-governor; John WILSON, David JUNE, Isaac WILTON, each one vote for senator, all from Hector; John SUTTON, one vote for governor, and Nathaniel KING, one vote for lieutenant-governor, both from Covert.

Vote for 1818 (same towns).—Senator, Gamaliel H. BARSTOW, 720; David E. EVANS, 806; Perry G. CHILDS, 568; Samuel S. PAYNE, 371. For Assembly, John SUTTON, 1,305; Samuel CRITTENDEN, 1,311; Richard TOWNLEY, 666; Alex. McG. COMSTOCK, 666. Charles H. MONELL and Garrett G. LANSING, each 42 for senator.

1819—(Covert not in county)—For senators, Gideon GRANGER, 729; Lyman PAYNE, 717; Philetus SWIFT, 414; Nathaniel GRANOW, 425. For Assembly, Joshua PHILLIPS, 1,194; Hermon CAMP, 1,143; Richard TOWNLEY, 638; Peter HAGER 2d, 732.

1820—For governor, De Witt CLINTON, 582; Daniel D. TOMPKINS, 941; lieutenant governor, John TAYLOR, 580; Benjamin MOORES, 1,034.

1821—For senator, Henry SEYMOUR, 890; James McCALL, 891; Samuel M. HOPKINS, 484; Stephen BATES, 487. For member of congress, William B. ROCHESTER, 1,452; David WOODCOCK, 1,198, Jonathan RICHMOND, 944; Hermon CAMP, 724. The vote for a convention to amend the Constitution was 2,402 in favor, and 19 against. This election was held from the 24th to the 26th of April. On the 19th of June an election for delegates was had, Richard TOWNLEY and Richard SMITH being chosen. TOWNLEY had 853 votes and SMITH 754.The convention assembled on the last Tuesday of August, 1821.

1822—On the 3d Tuesday of January, 1822, a vote on the Constitution was had. It resulted 1,521 in favor and 165 against. The general election under the new Constitution was held November 4, 5, and 6, 1822.The vote for governor was: Joseph C. YATES, 1,798; Solomon SOUTHWICK, 19, and 29 for all others.

1823—On the 3d, 4th, and 5th of November, at the election, Latham A. BURROWS received 1,271 votes for senator; 36 for all others. For Assembly, Peter HAGER 2d, 1,735 Nicoll HALSEY, 1,310; Benjamin JENNINGS, 988; 57 scattering.

1824—Samuel YOUNG received 1,897 votes for governor, and De Witt CLINTON 1,667.

1825—For senator, Peter HAGER 2d, received 1,612 votes; Andrew D. W. BRUYN, 1,470.

In 1825 on the 15th day of November, the county canvassers, as the record shows: ''Do set down in writing in words written at full length, the number of votes thus given as aforesaid, that is to say: fifteen hundred and sixty-four votes were given for the election of electors of President and Vice President 'by districts;' nine hundred and fifty-five votes were given for 'by general ticket plurality' and two votes were given for `by general ticket majority."'

1826—William B. ROCHESTER had 2,130 votes for governor, and De Witt CLINTON, 1,588.

1827—For senator, Grattan H. WHEELER had 2,424 votes and 78 scattering.

1828—For governor, Martin VAN BUREN had 3,062 votes; Smith THOMPSON, 1,595; Solomon SOUTHWICK, 713, and 5 scattering.

1829—For senator, Levi BEARDSLEY had 1,632 votes; Joseph MAYNARD, 1,373, and 6 scattering.

1830—For governor, Francis GRANGER had 2,591 votes; Enos T. THROOP, 1,882; 17, scattering.

1831—For senator, John G. McDOWELL had 2,357 votes; Nehemiah PLATT, 2,279; 8 scattering.

1832—William L. MARCY had 3,269 votes for governor, and Francis GRANGER 3,093. The JACKSON electors received 3,336 votes, and CLAY electors, 3,045.

1833—For senator, Ebenezer MACK received 2,063 votes; John A. COLLIER, 2,048; 4 scattering.

1834—For governor, William L. MARCY received 3,511 votes; William H. SEWARD, 3,077; 5 scattering.

1835—For senator, George HUNTINGTON received 1,569 votes; 15 scattering.

1836—VAN BUREN electors, 2,935; HARRISON, 2,786. For governor, W. L. MARCY, 2,997; Jesse BUEL, 2,718.

1837—For senator, Laurens HULL, 2,960; Calvin H. BRYAN, 2,658.

1838—For governor, William H. SEWARD, 3,444 votes; Wm. L. MARCY, 3,211.

1839—For senator, Andrew B. DICKINSON, 3,409; William MAXWELL, 3,275.

1840—HARRISON electors, 3,969; VAN BUREN electors, 3,558. For governor, W. H. SEWARD, 3,903; William C. BOUCK, 3,632.

1841—For senator, James. FAULKNER, 3,405; Allen AYRAULT, 3,381. Assembly, Ber- nardus SWARTWOUT, 3,416; Charles HUMPHREY, 3,414; Levi HUBBELL, 3,368; Alpha H. Shaw, 3,372.

1842—For governor, William C. BOUCK, 3,619; Luther BRADISH, 3,395.

1843—For senator, Clark BURNHAM, 3,005; Henry S. WALBRIDGE, 2,432.

1844—POLK electors, 4,013; CLAY electors, 3,845. For governor, Silas WRIGHT, 4,051; Millard FILLMORE, 3,831.

1845—For senator, Thomas J. WHEELER, 3,022; Lorenzo DANA, 2,891.

1846—For governor, Silas WRIGHT, 3,009; John YOUNG, 3,153.

1847—For lieutenant-governor, Hamilton FISH, 2,957: Nathan DAYTON, 2,637. At the special election in May, for county judge, Alfred WELLS received 1,837 votes; Benjamin G. FERRIS, 1,723.

1848—TAYLOR electors, 3,003; VAN BUREN, 2,648; CASS, 1,270. For governor, Hamilton FISH, 3,006; John A. DIX, 2,635; Reuben H. WALWORTH, 1,312.

1849—Secretary of state, Christopher MORGAN, 2,932; Henry S. RANDALL, 3,132.

1850—For governor, Horatio SEYMOUR, 3,475; Washington HUNT, 3,344.

1851—At the special election on the 27th of May, for senator, Henry B. STANTON, 2,970; Josiah B. WILLIAMS, 2,984. At the November election, Henry S. RANDALL for secretary of state, 3,180; James C. FORSYTH, 3,100.

1852—PIERCE electors, 3,472; SCOTT electors, 3,410.

1853—Secretary of state, James H. VER PLANCK, 1,487; George W. CLINTON, 1,300.

1854—For governor, Myron H. CLARK, 2,347; Horatio SEYMOUR, 1,482; Daniel ULLMAN, 1,406. At a special election on the 3d Wednesday of February, 1,852 votes were cast for the proposed convention in regard to canals, and 1,583 against.

1855—For secretary of state, J. T. HEADLEY, 3,163; Preston KING, 1,956; Aaron WARD, 173; Israel T. HATCH, 474.

1856—Fremont electors, 4,019; BUCHANAN, 1,430; FILLMORE, 1,470. For governor, John A. KING, 3,900; Amasa J. PARKER, 1,511; Erastus BROOKS, 1,470.

1857—Secretary of state, Almon M. CLAPP, 2,865; Gideon J. TUCKER, 1,570; James O. Putnam, 867.

1858—For governor, Edwin D. MORGAN, 3,450; A. J. PARKER, 1,954; Lorenzo BURROWS, 745.

1859—For secretary of state, Elias W. LEAVENWORTH, 3,280; D. R. Floyd JONES, 2514.

1860—LINCOLN electors, 4,348; DOUGLASS, 3,026. For governor, Edwin D. MORGAN, 4,293; William KELLY, 3,067.

1861—Secretary of state, Horatio BALLARD, 3,383; D. R. Floyd JONES, 1,845.

1862—For governor, James S. WADSWORTH, 4,005; Horatio SEYMOUR, 2,627.

1863—Secretary of state, Chauncey M. DEPEW, 4,277; Daniel B. ST. JOHN, 2,708.

1864—LINCOLN electors, 4,518; McCLELLAN electors, 2,996. For governor, Reuben E. FENTON, 4,509; Horatio SEYMOUR, 3,006.

1865—Secretary of state, Francis C. BARLOW, 4,621; Henry W. SLOCUM, 2,437.

1866—For governor, Reuben E. FENTON, 4,456; John T. HOFFMAN, 2,952.

1867—Secretary of state, James B. McKEAN, 3,635; Homer A. NELSON, 2,926.

1868—Grant electors, 4,646; SEYMOUR, 3,100.

1869—Republican secretary of state, 3,539; Democrat, 2,456.

1870—Republican governors, 3,965; Democrat, 2,893.

1871—Republican secretary of state, 3,562; Democrat, 2,278.

1872—GRANT electors, 4,318; GREELEY, 3,369.

1873—Republican secretary of state, 3,118; Democrat, 2,809.

1874—Republican, 3,370; Democrat, 3,340.

1875—Republican, 3,704; Democrat, 3,531.

1876—Republican, 5,032; Democrat, 4,028.

1877—Republican, 3,293; Democrat, 3,158.

1878—Republican, 3,549; Democrat, 2,586.

1879—Republican, 4,382; Democrat, 3,587.

1880—Republican, 4,896; Democrat, 3,956.

1881—Republican, 3,592; Democrat, 2,652.

1882—Republican, 2,690; Democrat, 3,619.

1883—Republican, 3,050; Democrat, 3,206.

1884—Republican, 4,420; Democrat, 3,992.

1885—Republican, 4,362; Democrat, 3,681.

1886—Republican, 4,161; Democrat, 3,369.

1887—Republican, 3,939; Democrat, 2,896.

1888—Republican, 5,073; Democrat, 3,909.

1889—Republican, 3,762; Democrat, 2,930.

1890—Republican, 3,720; Democrat, 3,075.

1891—Republican, 4,330; Democrat, 3,450.

1892—Republican, 4,717; Democrat, 3,404.

1893—Republican, 3,666; Democrat, 2,751.

For delegates at large to the Convention of 1894, Republican average, 3,654; Democrat, 2,743. For district delegates to same, Frank E. TIBBETTS, Republican, 3,705; Murray E. POOLE, Democrat, 2,718.

Landmarks - Chapter VII

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