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Jewett, Sherman S - Erie County

SHERMAN S. JEWETT was born at Moravia, N. Y., January 17, 1818. His early life was passed on his father's farm, attending district school in the winters-. In 1834 he came to Buffalo, where his uncle, Isaac Watts Skinner, owned a small foundry, and with him Mr. Jewett learned the moulder's trade, also attending Silas Kingsley's High School one term.

In 1836 Mr. Jewett formed a co-partnership in the foundry business with Franklin Day and Francis H. Root, under the name of Day, Root & Co., and a few years later a new firm was organized, composed of Thomas J. Dudley and S. S. Jewett. After two years Mr. Dudley withdrew and the business was continued by Mr. Jewett alone until 1843, when Mr. Jewett and Francis H. Root formed the firm of Jewett & Root, which continued for thirty-five years. In 1878 the widely known house of Sherman S. Jewett & Co. was formed, composed of Sherman S., Henry C, and Josiah Jewett. The Bank of Buffalo owes its origin to Mr. Jewett and his friends, and he was President of that institution from its beginning until 1892. He was one of the originators of the Manufacturers' and Traders' Bank, a director of it for over thirty years and of the Marine Bank for more than twenty years. He was a director of the Columbia National Bank from the time of its foundation until his death and was also a director of the Bank of Niagara Falls. Mr. Jewett was one of the earliest promoters of the Buffalo, New York & Philadelphia Railroad, and a director from 1867 to 1881. In 1867 he was called to the presidency. His management of this property was so skillful that the stockholders were repaid every dollar of capital and the $700,000 of bonds held by the city of Buffalo were sold at par. Mr. Jewett was an, originator of the Buffalo Mutual Insurance Co., which had a most successful career, until it was compelled to retire, owing to losses sustained in the Chicago fire of 1871. Then the three principal insurance companies of Buffalo, the Western, the Buffalo City and the Buffalo Fire and Marine, were forced into bankruptcy and Mr. Jewett was appointed assignee of all. This was one of the most important works of his life, and he discharged it with admirable fidelity and success.

Mr. Jewett's liberality was notably seen in his relations with the Young Men's Association, the Public Library and the Iroquois Hotel properties. In 1863 a meeting of nine gentlemen was held to discuss the project of buying St. James Hall and St. James Hotel to improve the facilities of the Association, and Mr. Jewett subscribed $3,000. He headed the list of subscriptions for the erection of the present fireproof Library building and was one of the founders of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, which he endowed with a permanent fund of $10,000, now known as the Jewett Fund. Mr. Jewett served as Curator of the Academy for eight years and. was its President in 1865. Rochester University profited by his benevolence, and he did his full share toward the establishment and development of Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Mt. Jewett was one of the original members of the Republican party and a stanch supporter of President Lincoln and the Union cause. He was elected to the Buffalo Common Council in 1845 and served during that year, 1846 and 1849, being also several times chosen Mayor pro tern. During his term of office occurred the fight between the advocates of the Ohio Basin and the Erie Basin. Mr. Jewett took the position that the city needed both, and through his influence this course was adopted to the vast benefit of the city of Buffalo. In 1878 Mr. Jewett received the Republican nomination for Representative in Congress, but owing to poor health he declined this unsolicited and unanimous honor. In 1880 he was elected Republican Presidential Elector.

Mr. Jewett was one of the founders and a director of the Buffalo Club, served as its President in 1874, and was also one of the organizers and the first President of the Falconwood Club. He was appointed a Park Commissioner in 1871, was President of the Board from 1879 until a few years ago. He was a strong believer in and supporter of the Christian religion, and among the Buffalo churches which benefited by his helping hand were the Washington street Baptist Church, the Prospect avenue Baptist Church, the Delaware avenue Baptist Church, and some churches of other denominations.

August 14, 1839 Mr. Jewett married Deborah Dusenbury of Buffalo. Their surviving children are Henry Clay Jewett, Josiah Jewett, Emma Alice Jewett (Mrs. Charles H. Williams) and Jennie Matilda Jewett (Mrs. Henry C. Howard).

The death of Sherman S. Jewett occurred February 28, 1897.

SOURCE:  Memorial and Family History of Erie County New York; Volume I