HON. GEORGE I. POST.
HON. GEORGE I. POST son of John G. Post, was born in the town of Fleming, in this
County, April 2d. 1826. His ancestors were descendants of four nationalities,- Gernian, Hollander, Scotch and English.
His greatgrandfather, Christopher Post, came front New Jersey in 1796, and took up a large tract of very valuable
land on the west shore of Owasco Lake, and the farms, into which it was afterwards divided, are still occupied
by his descendants, and are among the most fertile and productive lands in the County. There occupants have always
been men of honorable character, substantial and thirfty.
The subject of this sketch received such early instruction as the public schools of the time afforded was brought
up in habits of industry, and subjected to the wholesome discipline of farm-life, thus developing his naturally
vigorous constitution, and rendeting him capable of enduring, with impunity, great physical and mental labor- His
public school education was supplemented by that of private schools and by attendance at the Lima Seminary. At
the age of seventeen he engaged in teaching. At twenty-one he married Miss Esther C. Wyckoff. daughter of Peter
Wvckoff, and bought, and for eight years cultivated a farm, engaging also in land surveying. A friend and intelligent
advocate of popular education, he was called to the superintendency of the schools of his town.
His mental aspirations were not fully satisfied with the routine of farm-life. He engaged in a thorough course
of general reading. and his retentive memory grasped and held the facts thus brought to his knowledge. Procuring
elementary law books, he began at home their study, not with a view to making law his profession. but for personal
culture. The study pleased him, and he continued it. In 1854 he entered the law ofilce of George Rathbun, and afterwards
that of Pomer, Allen & Beardsley, and was admitted to the bar in 1855.
In 1857 he went to Kansas on a tour of observation, as president of an organization. whose object was the promodon
of the settlement of that territory. While there he saw the efforts of pro-slavery men to retain Control of the
region and the violent measures, to which they resorted to dnve out the Free-state immigrants. He was threatened
with mobviolence, and his impressions of the barbarities of slavery were deepened by observation and personal experience.
Having taken up his residence in Auburn in 1855, he represented the Third Ward in the Common Council in 1858-'59,
and was Chairman of the Board in the laborious and difficult work of revising the charter of the city.
In 1859 he was electea District - Attorney, holding the position for three years. That year lie commenced his long
and eventful railroad career to behalf of the Lake Ontario. Auburn & New York Railroad Company work on whose
road was suspended for want of means to prosecute it. He procured an extension of the charter, by which the corporate
rights of the Company were continued, and was indefatigable in his efforts, through the press and in public meetings,
to secure the constructins of the road, devoting thereto, it is believed, more tune than any tither friend of the
enterprise. He abandoned it only when there was no hope of success, when he transferred his energies to the construction
of the Southern Central Railroad.
In the Fall of 1862 he was elected Member of Assembly from the first district, and was a participant in the three
weeks' struggle for the organization of the House. Mr. Seymour was then Governor. The darkest clouds of the Rebellion
were hovering over us, and intense and bitter party feeling actuated the Members. The famous tie of 64. and 64
was maintained for weeks, and when 65 and 6; were reached, filibustering and anarchy interposed. The vote was finally
reached, and the House duly organized, During this session, Mr. Post made an elaborate speech, in review of the
Governors message, especially criticising his war-policy and that of his advocates, in the course of which he said:-
We must have war or disunion, that is the issue. Is peace desirable at such a price? God forbid Peace at the price
of disunion? No l never! never! never! Better perish than submit to disunion. War is the only way to peace. Let
us then have war upon war principles; war until treason is disconifited; * war until the union is completely restored."
Of this speech the correspondent of the Nesv York World a political opponent, thus wrote:
Mr. Post made a vigorous speech last evening in favor of the policy of the President. Mr. Post ts strong and earnest,
and the President ought to be a grateful man, that lie has friends so bold."
In the general legislation of the body, to which his time and, energies were assiduously devoted, he wasa close
and careful participant.
At the close of his legislative term he renewed the railroad agitation, and in the Fall of 1865 called a public
convention to consider the question of organizing a Company to construct the Southern Central Railroad, for which
lie had drawn Articles of Association. The result of his efforts was the organization of the Company and she building
of the road, Mr. Post was one of the Directors, and the Secretary of the Company on its organization, and subsequently
in turn Vice-President and President thereof. He resigned the latter position in the Spring of 1872. He had the
merited honor of driving the last spike on the completion of the road in 1871. From 1859 to 1871 he devoted himself
to the enterprise, in public meetings, reports in the legislature, and wherever the interests of the road could
be promoted, by an active interest in its behalf.
In the Autumn of 1867 he took an active and a leadrng part in the organization of a company to construct a railroad
from Oswego to Lewiston, 145 miles in length. entitled the Lake Ontario Shore Road, whch is completed and in successful
operation. Of that Company he was a Director, and a member for four years of the Executive Committee, of which
he was the Chairman for two years. He was also for two years the legal advisor of the Company; during which time
the legal and financial condition of the road were firmly established. Mr. Post represented this district in the
Convention which ncminated Gen. Grant for the second term, in 1872. In the Autumn of 1875, he was again elected
to the Assembly, and took his seat on the first day of January following. He was placed on the important Committees
of Ways and Means, General Laws, and Privileges and Elections, of the latter of which he was Chairman. During this
session he drafted and secured the passage of the act which placed the State Reformatory at Elmira under a Board
of Managers, consisting of Louis D. Pilsbury, a thorough expert in the management of penal institution; Sinclair
Tousey, one of the committee for investigating the prisons of the State Rufus H. King, a talented and honorable
lawyer; and William C. Wey, an eminent physician - thus combining in the Board just the variety of talent to secure
the most intelligent said upright adminiistration, This was the first important step in prison reform. The managers
were non-partisan and served without pay.
The prisons of the State, at that time, had become notorious leechers upon the public treasury, demanding large
annual appropriations to meet their deficiencies. Mr. Post. during this session, devoted himself to a careful consideration
of the important and engrossing question of prison refortn. As he had, by the unanimous assent of the Assembly
and nearly so of the Senate, secured a Board of Managers of the Elmira Reformatory of rare and admitted fitness,
so he sought to place each of the prisons under the care of similar Boards of Managers, and supported his proposition
by a carefully prepared argument. The result of the discussion was the appointment of acornmission to minutely
investigate the prisons of the State and report the result. Mr. Post was elected to the Assembly, for the third
time, in the Fall of 1876. As he represented a district in which was located one of the most important State prisons,
he was made the Chairman of the Committee on that subject, and continued on those of Ways and Means," and
"General Laws." As Chairman of the Committee on Prisons, he prepared the legislation necessary to give
effect to the constitutional changes in their official management, and which have already resulted in an annual
saving to the State of nearly $ $500,000. Mr. Post was a leading Member of the Assembly, in which he was recognized
as a power. All his public undertakings were actuated by an exalted sense of justice. He was a clear, consistent
worker, frank and above-board, voting on all occasions with a boldness evinced only by independent men. -
During the Winter of 1877 was organized the Boston, Hoosac Tunnel & Western Railroad. in which Mr. Post took
a lively interest, and is one of the Directors of the Company. THis is the last and most important railroad enterprise
in which he has been engaged. He may with propriety be denominated the "Railroad-builder," for he has
devoted thereto twenty of the prime years of his life. Physically, Mr. Post is large, being over six tent in height,
and finely formed. He is remarkably vigorous, and ceaselessly active. He is indomitably persevering; a great lover
of liberty of thought, speech and action; and candid almost to bluntness. He is honorable in a high degree. He
is hopeful, expectant and buoyant. rn polities he is a Republican. He has three sons and two daughters: Jane Elizabeth
Hawes, T. Benton, Henry C., Cora W. and George I., Jr.