Alexander W. Brewster (1796-1851)
Brewster was one of the original incorporators and was the first person
buried in Erie Cemetery. in his early years he taught at the log
house at 7th and Holland, and later at the Erie Academy. A prominent
merchant and manufacturer, he was elected sheriff in 1828 and burgess
of Erie in 1849. The old Brewster Home built in 1823 and refurbished
by Erie Insurance in 1984, stands beautifully today on East 5th between
Holland and French.
William Himrod Sr. (1791-1870)
Himrod came to Erie in 1810 and worked as a carpenter and joiner until
1840. At that time, he became involved in the establishment of a stove,
agricultural implement and engine manufacturing works of Johnson, Himrod & Co.,
a business which ultimately developed into the Chicago and Erie Stove
Works and the Erie City Iron Works. He was one of the city fire wardens
in 1853; a member of the common council in 1856-7; a director in the
branch U.S. bank; and one of the incorporators of the Erie Cemetery.
He provided a shelter for fugitive slaves and founded, at his own expense,
The Himrod Mission Sunday-School, to provide Bible education to African
Americans. He served as its supervisor until he died when his son,
William Jr., succeeded him. The first monument in Erie Cemetery was
erected at Himrod's grave.
Thomas Forster (1762-1836)
Born near Harrisburg, he served in the Revolution and was a colonel
of volunteers during Whiskey Rebellion and also served as captain in
the War of 1812. Forster was a collector for the Port of Erie (1799-1836),
and was the originator of the Erie and Waterford Turnpike.
Sarah A. Reed (1838-1934)
Reed is the great-granddaughter of Erie's first settlers, Colonel Seth
Reed and Hannah Reed. She was a major force in the cultural and charitable
activities of the community for almost 70 years and served as president
of the Home for the Friendless for 44 years. Following her death, the
name of the institution was changed to Sarah A. Reed Home.
Pierre Simon Vincent (P.S.V.) Hamot (1783-1846)
Born in Paris, this French immigrant and skilled businessman began
in the salt trade and soon became one of Erie's most successful merchants.
One of Erie's first philanthropists, he donated the land overlooking the bay
at State and 2nd streets for Hamot Hospital, with the provision that
no one ever be denied medical treatment there.
The Reed Family Plot
No family played as great a part in the early history of Erie as that
of the descendants of Erie's first settler, Colonel Seth Reed and his
wife Hannah. That distinction is reflected in the fact that the Reed
Family plot is the only one to occupy its own mound surrounded by a
walkway. The centerpiece of the plot is a granite pillar topped with
a life-sized statue of a woman, perhaps looking to the family farm
on Walnut Creek.
Colonel Seth Reed (1744-1797)
A veteran of the Battle of Bunker Hill in the Revolutionary War, Reed
was the first settler to arrive in Erie in July 1795 with his wife,
Hannah, and two of his sons. They erected a one-story log cabin covered
with bark at the mouth of Mill Creek and labeled it the "Presque
Isle" Hotel. This was the first building in Erie.
Rufus S. Reed (1775-1846)
Son of Colonel Seth Reed, he was one of Erie's first and most successful
capitalists. He opened a store in 1796 doing business with settlers,
soldiers, and indians. He later secured large government contracts
to supply western military posts with beef, pork, flour and whiskey.
He served as burgess of Erie in 1841. Seven years later he owned an
extensive fleet of lake vessels. His second wife was the daughter of
General William Irivine, who, with Andrew Ellicot laid out the town
of Erie in 1795. Rufus and Agnes had one son, Charles M. Reed.
Charles M. Reed (1803-1871)
Charles was educated in Washington, PA, then went to Philadelphia where
he read law and was admitted to the bar in 1821. He returned to Erie
and became the largest owner of steamboats on the Great Lakes. He was
instrumental in developing the Erie Extension Canal and was one of
the first to build railroads in the Erie area. He served for one year
in the State Legislature and a term in Congress. Reed died in his mansion
at the corner of West 6th and Peach known today as the Erie Club. His
fortune at the time of his death was estimated to be between $5 and
Giles Sanford (1782-1866)
Born in Connecticut, he came to Erie in 1810 and for many years was
a partner of Rufus S. Reed, with whom he helped provide suppliers for
the building of Perry's fleet. He was a descendant of John Sanford
who served as president of Rhode Island in 1655. Giles' daughter, Laura
Giles, published the first history of Erie County in 1862 and founded
the Home for the Friendless in 1871. On September 10, 1895, as part
of Erie's 100th year anniversary, she and her mother laid the corner
stone to the "Free Public Library," located on the corner
of South Park Row and French Streets, which had served as Erie's library
until 1996 when a new library was constructed on Erie's bayfront.
Sanford assisted substantially in the promotion
of local agricultural and horticultural interests and may truly be
termed the father of our natural history society.
Judah Colt Spencer (1813-1885)
Born in Connecticut, he came to Erie in 1829 to take a position in
the land office of his uncle, Judah Colt, succeeding to the business
on Colt's death in 1832. Spencer played an important role in the early
history of the Erie and North East Railroad and was president of the
Common Council of Erie. One of the Founders of the First National Bank,
he served as its president for 22 years and was president of Erie Cemetery
for more than 20 years.
Judah Colt (1761-1832)
Colt came to Erie County in 1795 to purchase land, and was appointed
the general agent for the Pennsylvania Population Company, which held
the warrants for all the land in the triangle. He opened a land office
which has since been known as "Colt Station" and opened a
road from Lake Erie at the mouth of 16 Mile Creek where he furnished
suppliers to settlers on generous terms of credit. One of the most
widley known and respected of the earliest settlers in this area, he
served as burgess of Erie, 1813, 1820-21.
William L. Scott Mausoleum (1828-1891)
Born in Washington, D.C., he came to Erie at age 17 on the invitation
of Charles M. Reed who was at the height of his commercial career.
He entered the coal mining business, eventually controlling over 70,000
acres of coal lands in four states, earning him the name "Coal
King." He, and his associate John F. Tracy from Erie, branched
into railroads, becoming key figures in the building and operating
of a number of successful lines. He owned over 22,000 miles of railroad,
and subsequently became known as "The Railroad King." Scott,
a democrat, served two terms as Mayor of Erie and two terms as Congressman
from this district. A close friend of President Grover Cleveland, he
helped Cleveland formulate policy during his first administration.
Scott married Mary Tracy, granddaughter of Daniel Dobbins. Their daughter,
Annie Wainwright, married Charles Hamot Strong, and for their wedding
gift Scott designed, and built, what is known today as Gannon University's
Administration building on the south corner of West 6th and Peach streets.
Charles H. Strong (1853-1936)
Charles Strong, grandson of Martin Strong (paternal) and P.S.V. Hamot
(maternal), and son-in-law of William L. Scott, is interred with his
wife Annie Wainwright, in the mausoleum. A graduate of Yale University,
he returned to Erie where he read law in the office of Frank Gunnison,
later Judge Gunnison, and became Erie's railroad magnate. Strong served
as president of the Mount Hickory Iron Works, Union Coal Company,
Shamokin, PA., Erie-Pittsburgh Railroad and was owner of Erie County
Electric Company. He also served as president of the Erie Morning Dispatch,
later to combine with the Erie Evening Herald to become the Dispatch-Herald.
Strong was a friend of President William Taft, who once visited him
at his Erie mansion at West 6th and Perry Square.
Daniel Dobbins (1776-1856)
Arriving in Erie in 1796 he witnessed, at the American fort over-looking
the bay, the burial of one of the greatest American military heros
at the time, General Anthony Wayne. Young Dobbins became owner of a
lake schooner, hauling salt, whiskey, and furs on Lake Erie and Lake
Huron. Captured by the British at the outbreak of the War of 1812,
he believed that the U.S. must build a fleet to protect the southern
shore of Lake Erie and convinced President Madison to build the fleet
at Erie. Dobbins, along with Oliver H. Perry, helped oversee the building
of the fleet and supplied provisions for it once it had sailed. He
went on to play an important role in the development of Erie's first
Public Dock in 1823, which is now named "Dobbins Landing" in
John A. Tracy (1798-1875)
Born in New York, Tracy moved with his family to Erie County in 1799.
Raised in Waterford, he came to Erie at age 18. He entered into a partnership
with P.S.V. Hamot for several years, and served as director of the
U.S. Bank in Erie. He became a contractor on New York and Erie Railroad
and Erie and North East Railroad, and served as director until 1853
when he became president. He then became Director of Railroads for
Buffalo and Erie; Lake Shore and Michigan; and Erie and Pittsburgh.
He married Susan Jane Dobbins, daughter of Daniel Dobbins in 1826.
John F. Tracy (1827-1878)
Born in Erie, the son of John A. Tracy, he is considered one of the
fathers of the American railway system. He engaged in railroad construction
carrying on in the tradition of his father, John A. Tracy, and became
Superintendent of Railroads for Erie and North East railroad; a post
he held during the Erie Railroad War. He served simultaneously as president
of railroads for Chicago and Rock Island, and Chicago and Northwestern.
During the Erie Railroad War in 1853, Tracy held the position that
railroad gauges be one size and did not yeild to the pressure of popular
sentiment which sought to maintain a break in the continuous line in
what was destined to become a great continental highway. He also built
the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River.
General Strong Vincent (1837-1863)
Born in Waterford, PA in 1837, he was one of the Union's heroes in
the Civil War. He was also in charge of the 83rd Pennsylvania volunteers
at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. On the second day of the battle,
the Confederacy had one great opportunity to outflank and destroy the
Union Army by sweeping over Little Round Top, but Colonel Vincent's
brigade never yielded. Vincent, who was mortally wounded in the action,
was posthumously promoted to the rank of general by President Lincoln.
Prescott Metcalf (1813-1891)
Born in Vermont, he came to Erie as a young man. He became associated
with Rufus S. Reed, and eventually managed all his business affairs.
Metcalf was a prominent figure in the operation of stage coaches between
Erie and Pittsburgh, construction of the Canada Southern Railway, the
extension canal and the Erie and North East railroad. He was incorporator
of Erie Cemetery, Erie Gas Works and Dime Savings Bank and founded
the Burdett Organ Factory and Erie Malleable Iron Works.
Honorable William A. Galbraith (1823-1898)
Moving to Erie with his family in 1837, Galbraith attended Erie Academy
and graduated from Allegheny College. In 1845 he graduated from the
Dane Law School of Harvard University, and returned to Erie to practice
law. From 1846 to 1850 he was deputy attorney-general of Pennsylvania.
He became the director of railroads for Sunbury and Erie and for Cleveland
and Erie. He also served as president of the Erie Dime Saving and Loan
Company. He made large investments in real estate, particularly in
Chicago where his "Galbraith Building" stood at the corner
of Madison and Franklin streets. Galbraith, along with Herman Haupt,
spent two years (1856-1858) supervising the building of the Hoosac
tunnel through the Berkshire Hills in western Massachusetts.
Harry T. Burleigh (1866-1949)
Born in Erie, Burleigh is regarded as the "savior of the spirituals," because
he created arrangements for over 100 African-American folk songs, which
developed under slavery and had been transmitted only in an oral tradition.
A leading baritone of his time, he performed across the U.S. and before
crowned heads of Europe. Buried in White Plains, N.Y. in 1949, he was
reinterred in Erie Cemetery in May 1994.
Reid T. Stewart (1850-1872)
The only son of prominent Erie physician and surgeon, James L. Stewart,
he graduated from West Point in 1871, and was commissioned second lieutenant
to Company G, 5th U.S. Calvary. He was killed by Apache Indians near
Tucson, Arizona Territory in 1872.
Colonel John W. McLane (1820-1862)
At the outbreak of the Civil War, McLane formed the 83rd regiment with
men from Erie, Crawford, Warren, Venango, and Mercer Counties. In the
Union invasion of Virginia in 1862, the 83rd distinguished itself at
the Battle of Gaines Mill by preventing a Confederate breakthrough.
McLane was mortally wounded in the battle.
Honorable Thomas Sill (1783-1856)
Born in Connecticut, Sill opened law practice in Erie (1813) becoming
Erie's first lawyer. He was a member of the militia as "Minute
Man", who guarded the building of the ships in Erie during the
War of 1812. Sill was elected to the state legislature in 1823 and
to Congress in 1826 and 1828. He became president of U.S. Bank at Erie
in 1837. Sill took a lively interest in public matters, especially
projects of public improvement, and the cause of education serving
as School Director, and as Trustee of Erie Academy for more than 30
years. Sill also served as Postmaster of Erie from 1849-1853, and as
Burgess in 1816-17, 33-34, 43-44.