The identify Richmond has change into practically synonymous with Batavia, however the individual behind the identify had farther reaching influence than simply Batavia.
Dean Richmond was a nationwide participant within the railroad trade, and even had sway within the political area. In honor of what would have been his 218th birthday, let’s delve somewhat deeper into his life.
Richmond was born within the city of Barnard Vermont, on March 31, 1804, the son of Hathaway and Rachel Dean Richmond. His father moved the household to Syracuse, the place he turned engaged within the early thriving salt trade there.
Dean was solely 14 years previous when his father died out of the blue, leaving him to assist his mom and two sisters. Regardless that he by no means formally discovered learn, Dean expanded his father’s salt enterprise and finally moved to Buffalo in 1842.
He married Mary Elizabeth Mead on Feb. 19, 1833 — they might have 9 youngsters collectively. With unimaginable foresight, he noticed the significance railroads would play and established a freight forwarding enterprise that transported items from producers to firms and people.
With these two industries, Richmond turned one of many wealthiest and most influential residents of the Nice Lakes Area. He turned a director within the Utica and Buffalo Railroad Firm and settled first in Attica in 1846, earlier than coming to Batavia in 1852.
In 1854, they moved into the previous dwelling of William Davis on East Most important Road. With Dean’s cash and his spouse Mary’s beautiful style in furnishings, the mansion finally was thought of probably the most imposing buildings within the state.
The Richmond household used Dean’s cash to assist Batavia develop. As an example, Richmond gave cash in direction of the acquisition of the land that the New York State College for the Blind was constructed.
When in Batavia, Richmond assisted within the consolidation of 12 native railway strains into the New York Central Railroad the next yr. He was chosen the primary vp and second president after the retirement of Erastus Corning in 1864.
Whereas in these distinguished positions, Richmond was chargeable for constructing a bridge over the Hudson River between Albany and Troy, doubling your entire system’s mileage of monitor, and implementing the extra resilient metal rails over the weaker iron rails. Whereas on this place he rubbed elbows with lots of the nations elite, and even had quite a few dealings with different railroad magnates, comparable to Cornelius Vanderbilt.
Within the political realm, Richmond was identified for his bipartisanship — although he served as chairman of the Democratic State Committee from 1857 till his loss of life in 1866.
Richmond led the New York Delegation that nominated Normal George McClellan for president in 1864. Throughout President Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural journey to Washington, the Democrat Richmond welcomed the Republican Lincoln aboard his personal practice, The Dean Richmond. That very same locomotive would carry the president’s funeral practice between Albany and Buffalo after Lincoln was assassinated. The practice would make a cease in Batavia on April 27, 1865.
In the summertime of 1866, after attending a political occasion in Philadelphia along with his protégé and lawyer Samuel J. Tilden, Richmond was stricken with an sickness. He was taken to Tilden’s dwelling in New York Metropolis the place he died on Aug. 27, 1866 at 62.
Upon his loss of life, Richmond was a really rich man. Actually, in 1865 his annual revenue was reported at over $100,000. His property was price within the vary of $2 million in 1866.
His funeral was the most important within the historical past of Batavia, with 1000’s in attendance, together with Millard Fillmore, Thurlow Weed, Horatio Seymore, and lots of different well-known political figures. At midday, all enterprise in Batavia ceased and all of the church bells rang 12 chimes. A whole bunch of mourners adopted the hearse from St. James Episcopal Church to the household mausoleum in Batavia Cemetery.
Ryan Duffy is govt director of the Holland Land Workplace Museum in Batavia. His column seems twice a month in The Every day Information.