Cornell, Alonzo B.

Cornell, Alonzo B.

(kôrnĕl`), 1832–1904, American businessman and politician, b. Ithaca, N.Y. Cornell was a director (1868–69) and vice president (1870–76) of the Western Union Telegraph CompanyWestern Union Telegraph Company,
enterprise created (1851) to provide telegraphic communications services in the United States. Originally known as the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company, Western Union (as it was renamed in 1856 after a series of
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, founded by his father, Ezra CornellCornell, Ezra,
1807–74, American financier and founder of Cornell Univ., b. Westchester Landing, N.Y. Cornell, who began life as a laborer, was of an ingenious mechanical bent and had a shrewd business mind.
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. A supporter of Senator Roscoe ConklingConkling, Roscoe,
1829–88, American politician, b. Albany, N.Y. On his admission to the bar in 1850, he was immediately appointed district attorney of Albany. The son of Alfred Conkling, Congressman and federal judge, he became a U.S.
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, he was surveyor of customs (1869–73) at the port of New York, chairman (1870–78) of the Republican state central committee, and speaker (1873) of the New York assembly. President Grant, just before leaving office, appointed him naval officer in the New York customhouse. President Hayes, in an attempt to wrest control of the port of New York customhouse from the Conkling machine, brought pressure upon him to resign because of his official party connection. Cornell refused, and though strongly supported by Conkling, he and Chester A. ArthurArthur, Chester Alan,
1829–86, 21st President of the United States (1881–85), b. Fairfield, Vt. He studied law and before the Civil War practiced in New York City. In the war he was (1861–63) quartermaster general of New York State.
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, the collector of the port of New York, were removed in 1878. Cornell was promptly chosen governor of New York for the term 1880–83. He modernized the state finances, made good appointments, and vetoed much extravagant legislation. By not taking sides in the patronage fight between President Garfield and Conkling in 1881, he contributed to Conkling's defeat in the legislature and was himself defeated for renomination as governor. He wrote a biography of his father (1884).

Bibliography

See his public papers (3 vol., 1880–82).

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