George Z. Erwin

George Z. Erwin

George Zalmon Erwin (January 15, 1840 Madrid, St. Lawrence County, New York - January 16, 1894) was an American politician.


He was educated at St. Lawrence Academy at Potsdam, New York. He graduated from Middlebury College in August, 1865. He studied law with the then United States District Attorney for the Northern District of New York William Allen Dart and Charles O. Tappan, and was admitted to the bar in 1867. He commenced practice in Potsdam, N.Y., and entered into partnership with Samuel B. Gordon in 1868. The same year he married Dart's daughter Caroline (b. 1842), but they had no children. A year later, he succeeded his father-in-law as partner in the law firm of Dart & Tappan, and practiced for ten years under the firm name of Tappan & Erwin. In 1878, Tappan was elected to the New York Supreme Court, and William Dart returned to Potsdam, N.Y., and resumed practice in partnership with Erwin under the name of Dart & Erwin.

He was a member from St. Lawrence County of the New York State Assembly from 1882 to 1887. In 1884, allied with Thomas C. Platt, he was a strong candidate for Speaker, but was defeated by Titus Sheard, the candidate of Warner Miller. He was Speaker in 1885.

He was a member of the New York State Senate from the 20th District from 1888 to 1893. In 1892-93 he was the Republican leader of the State Senate. To him is due the credit of organizing the dairy department for suppressing the sale and manufacture of oleomargarine. He secured the enactment of the bill preventing the sale of liquor in quantities of five gallons or more in towns having no license. In 1891, he was Chairman of the Committee on General Laws and made interesting investigations into the subject of electricity for lighting and power. In the session of 1892, when Republican leader, he made a strong but unsuccessful fight against the reapportionment of the state, and for his refusal to vote on an enumeration bill he and two other senators were declared guilty of contempt by Lieutenant Governor of New York William F. Sheehan and their names taken from the roll. But they were supported by the judiciary committee in their position, were purged of contempt and their names restored.

He was interested in various local industries. He was one of the proprietors and organizers of the Thatcher Manufacturing Company, and up to the time of his death was its vice-president. He helped to organize the High Falls Sulphite Pulp and Mining Co., and was its president.


* [] Political Graveyard
* [] Dart ancestry, at Rootsweb
* [] Erwin ancestry, at Rootsweb
* [] Obit in NYT on January 17, 1894
* [] His graduation from Middlebury, in NYT on August 13, 1865

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