First Fifty Years of Cazenovia Seminary


Madison County

Sketches of Students of First Decade.

  HON. JAMES S. T. STRANAHAN. This gentleman, whose name is so prominently connected with the public interest of Brooklyn and New York, was born in Peterborough, Madison County, N.Y., April 25, 1808. His father died when he was but eight years of age, leaving him in indigence. Thrown upon his own resources when thus quite young, he soon began to develop enterprise and self-reliance. At twenty he visited the upper lakes for trade with the Indians. In 1832, under the auspices of Gerrit Smith, he established a manufacturing village in Oneida County. In 1840 he moved to the vicinity of New York, and became interested in the construction of railroads. In 1844 Mr. Stranahan removed to Brooklyn, and soon acquired prominence in connection with public works. The two most prominent, with which his name will long be identified, are "Prospect Park" and "The Atlantic Docks," of Brooklyn. He was appointed commissioner of the park and president of the association, a position which he has ever since held. The expenditure of about nine millions of dollars upon the improvement, under his responsible supervision, evinced at once his sagacity and energy, and the confidence in which he was held by the city of Brooklyn.
  The Atlantic Docks, of which Mr. Stranahan is the chief owner and manager, are considered the most extensive and perfect work of their kind on this continent. The Atlantic Basin, formed by these docks, is said to be the most extensive grain depot in the world, having a storage for twelve millions of bushels. In order to connect the docks with the shore line, it became necessary to create two hundred acres of land by reclaiming it from the bay. His business energy was equal to the work.
  In 1838 Mr. Stranahan represented Oneida County in the State Assembly. 1854, representative in Congress from Brooklyn. 1858, metropolitan police commissioner of New York. 1860, member of National Republican Convention, which nominated Mr. Lincoln for the presidency; and also of the convention, in 1864, which renominated him; also presidential elector of the State of New York. First a Whig, then a Republican. In earlier life was active in political struggles; later, he has retired, except by call for special emergency. For twenty years has been a director of the "Union Ferry Company;" and in the construction of the East River bridge has, from the first, been a prominent director; besides filling other important positions in connection with public institutions and interests. His life has been one of great activity and responsibility. His success in life came not by accident or by birth, but by the exercise of the mental and moral qualities with which he was endowed. Mr. Stranahan was one of the chosen speakers for the semi-centennial jubilee.

pp. 63-65.

1999- All rights reserved.