Jewett, Gen. Edgar B - Erie County

GEN. EDGAR B. JEWETT, ex-Mayor and ex-Police Commissioner of Buffalo and head of the John C. Jewett Manufacturing Company, enjoys the triple distinction of military, civic and business achievements of a very high order. As a soldier. Gen. Jewett has a brilliant record of service and promotion. Elected Mayor of Buffalo by the largest majority up to that time ever given a candidate for the office, he proved the power of a strong personality in municipal affairs. His administration was characterized by the large number of difficult and important questions that arose and by the able way they were met.

Edgar Boardman Jewett was born at Ann Arbor, Mich., December 14, 1843. While still a child he came to Buffalo with his parents and was educated in the public schools of that city. In 1860 he entered the John C. Jewett establishment. A year later the Civil War broke out, and he enlisted as a private in Company C, 74th Regiment N. G. S. N. Y. In May, 1863, he was elected Sergeant, and held that rank during the period, following Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, from June to August of the same year. In the campaign immediately succeeding the Confederate leader's famous attempt to gain a foothold on Northern soil, Sergeant Jewett participated, his services being highly creditable. Returning to Buffalo as First Sergeant June 29th, 1865, he was commissioned First Lieutenant; April 3d, 1866, Captain; October 9th, 1870, Inspector of the 14th Brigade; April 11th, 1877, Major; and was also appointed Inspector of Rifle Practice of the 31st Brigade. October 25, 1880, he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel and Chief of Staff of the 14th Brigade. March 29th, 1884, he was elected Brigadier General of the 8th Brigade, serving until December 7th, 1885, when he resigned to accept the position of President and General Manager of the John C. Jewett Manufacturing Company.

March 1st, 1894, Mayor Bishop appointed him one of the Police Commissioners of Buffalo. In this capacity Gen. Jewett proved an able, interested and very popular official, and his record as Commissioner was one of the chief factors in his nomination by the Republicans of Buffalo for Mayor, an office to which he was elected in November, 1894, by nearly 10,000 majority, the largest till then ever received by a candidate.

By his very first veto Mayor Jewett prevented the awarding of the street-cleaning contracts to a few hitherto favored bidders, and in the Street Department alone saved the city over $24,000 by his insistence that contracts should be let to the lowest bidders. It was Mayor Jewett who introduced the plan of utilizing vacant land in Buffalo for the benefit of the poor. He carried the project through with signal success. Five hundred and seventy-eight families were thereby made self-supporting, and the municipality was relieved of the burden of their maintenance. Immediately after his accession to office, Mayor Jewett began the erection of school buildings, twelve of which were completed during his term, including the handsome new Masten Park High School. A firm believer in Civil Service Reform, Mayor Jewett, early in 1896, made a new classification of all the city offices, a leading feature of the plan being a wide extension of the merit system.

October 3, 1865, Gen. Jewett was married at Ann Arbor, Mich., to Elizabeth Poster Danforth of that city. Their children were: Maude, born January 8, 1868, died June 5, of the same year; George Danforth, born May 21, 1869, died August 21 of that year; John Edgar, born September 2, 1871; and Mabel, born February 19, 1877.

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