Reuben Fenton

Reuben Fenton

Infobox Governor
name = Reuben Eaton Fenton

order = 22nd
office = Governor of New York
term_start = 1865
term_end = 1868
lieutenant = Thomas G. Alvord (1865-1866)
Stewart L. Woodford (1867-1868)
predecessor = Horatio Seymour
successor = John T. Hoffman
birth_date = birth date|1819|7|4|mf=y
birth_place = Carroll, New York
death_date = death date and age|1885|8|15|1819|7|4|mf=y
death_place = Jamestown, New York
party = Republican
spouse =
profession =
religion =

Reuben Eaton Fenton (July 4, 1819 Carroll, Chautauqua County, New York - 15 August 1885 Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York) was an American merchant and politician from New York.


He was the son of a farmer. He was elected a colonel of the New York State Militia in 1840. He became a lumber merchant, and entered politics as a Democrat. He was Supervisor of the Town of Carroll from 1843 to 1850.

He was elected as a Democrat to the 33rd, and served from March 4, 1853, to March 3, 1855. In his first term in Congress, Fenton strongly opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 and unsuccessfully tried to persuade President Franklin Pierce and U.S. Secretary of State William L. Marcy to oppose the bill. He was defeated for reelection that year. He was again elected, now as a Republican, to the 35th, 36th, 37th and 38th United States Congresses, and served from 1857 to 1865.

He was Governor of New York from 1865 to 1868. In 1868 he was among the candidates to be Vice President but the nomination went eventually to Schuyler Colfax. Afterwards he was elected to the U.S. Senate and served from 1869 to 1875. In 1872 he was among the Republicans opposed to President Ulysses S. Grant who joined the short-lived Liberal Republican Party.

In 1878, he represented the United States at the international monetary conference in Paris.

Fenton was known as "The Soldiers' Friend" for his efforts to help returning Civil War veterans. Fenton worked to remove tuition charges for public education, helped to establish six schools for training teachers, and signed the charter for Cornell University.

After his death, a building at The State University of New York at Fredonia, Fenton Hall, was named in his honor because he had attended the previous incarnation of the school, the Fredonia Academy.

His former home in Jamestown is the site of the Fenton Historical Society.


* [ Mr. Lincoln and New York: Reuben E. Fenton]
* [ Google Book] "Life Sketches of State Officers, Senators, and Members of Assembly in the State of New York in 1867" by S. R. Harlow and H. H. Boone (Weed, Parsons & Co., Albany NY, 1867)

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