Submitted by Gaylene Kerr Banister
Chapter XXI - Political History -- Annual Record
|1788 to 1800
In 1788 and 1792, Allegheny County, which embraced Erie County, gave a unanimous vote for George Washington for President, who was elected without opposition. John Adams was chosen Vice President.
In 1796, the Jefferson Electors received 392 votes, and the Adams Electors 77 in Allegheny County. The State cast 1 electoral vote for Adams, 14 for Jefferson, 2 for Thomas Pickering and 13 for Aaron Burr. Adams was elected President and Jefferson Vice President.
The vote of the commonwealth within the above period was for Governor: 1790 -- Thomas Mifflin, Democrat, 27,725; Arthur St. Clair, Federal, 2,802. 1793 -- Thomas Mifflin, Democrat, 18,590; F. A. Muhlenberg, Federal, 10,706. 1796 -- Thomas Mifflin, Democrat, 30,020; F. A. Muhlenberg, Federal; 1,011. 1799 -- Thomas McKean, Democrat, 38,036; James Ross, Federal, 32,641.
Allegheny County voted each time for the successful candidate.
The first election of which there is a record in Erie County occurred in 1798. Judah Colt, agent for the Population Company, says in his journal that he accompanied about sixty-five of his people from Colt's Station to Erie to take part in an election. This was in October. "All," says Mr. Colt, "voted in favor of a Federal Representative."
April 8, 1790, six election districts were created in the township of Erie -- one to hold elections in the town of Erie; one at the house of Timothy Tuttle, in North East; one at the house of John McGonigle, at or near Edinboro; one at the house of Thomas Hamilton, in Lexington, Conneaut Township; one at the house of Daniel Henderson, in Waterford; one at the house of William Miles, in Concord Township.
The State cast 8 electoral votes for Jefferson, 8 for Burr, 7 for Adams, and 7 for C. C. Pinckney. Jefferson was chosen President, and Burr Vice President. This section of the State gave a majority for Jefferson and Burr.
Albert Gallatin was elected to Congress from the Western District of the State, embracing Erie County. He received 1,937 votes to 944 for Perry Neville. Erie and Crawford gave Gallatin 214 votes. Gallatin was appointed Secretary of the Treasury by President Jefferson in 1801, and resigned his seat in Congress.
The candidates for other positions received the following votes:
State Senator -- John Hamilton, Washington County, 2,002; John Hoge, Washington, 847. The district comprised the whole of Western Pennsylvania north of Virginia and west of the Allegheny.
Assembly -- Samuel Ewalt, 2,137; Thomas Morton, 2,002; James Sample, 1,049; Dunning McNair, Erie County, 1,027. The district comprised Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Venango and Warren Counties, electing one member. This arrangement continued until 1807.
William Hoge, Washington Township was elected to fill the vacancy in Congress caused by the resignation of Albert Gallatin.
William McArthur, of Meadville, was elected to represent Erie, Mercer, Crawford, Venango and Warren Counties in the Senate. This Senatorial District continued until 1836.
The vote of the district for Assembly was as follows: Alexander Buchanan, Crawford County, 416; John Lytle, 75; John Lytle, Jr., Erie County, 353; John Findley, Mercer County, 208. Three of the Judges signed a return declaring John Lytle, Jr. and Sr., to be father and son, and three others refused to sign the return in the belief that the same person was intended. Alexander Buchanan got the certificate.
For Governor, Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Venango and Warren Counties still voting together, cast 1,835 votes for Thomas McKean, the Democratic, and 187 for James Ross, the Federal candidate. The vote of the State was as follows: Thomas McKean, Democrat, 38,036; James Ross, Federal, 32,641.
William Hoge, Washington County, was elected to Congress by about 750 majority.
For Assembly, the following was the vote: Alexander Buchanan, 520; John Finley, 197; John Lytle, Jr., 570; James Harrington, Mercer County, 238; James Lytle, 13. John Lytle, Jr., was declared elected.
This year, Erie County voted separately for county officers for the first time. The following was the result: Sheriff -- Wilson Smith, Waterford, 267; Martin Strong, Waterford, 201. Coroner -- Abraham Smith, Erie, 288; John C. Wallace, Erie, 184.
The Commissioners elected were John Vincent, of Waterford; James Weston, of LeBoeuf; and Abiather Crane, of Mill Creek.
John Lytle, Jr., was elected to the Assembly.
John Hoge, of Washington County, was elected to Congress
The county cast 112 ballots for President, all for the Jefferson electors. The State gave its electoral votes to Jefferson and Burr, who were elected.
John B. C. Lucas was elected to Congress.
Wilson Smith, of Waterford, was elected to the Assembly. William Clark, of Erie, James Lowry, of North East, and John Phillips, of Venango, were elected County Commissioners.
The candidates for Governor were Thomas McKean and Simon Snyder, both Democrats. Erie County gave McKean 254, and Snyder 377 votes. The vote of the State was as follows: Thomas McKean, 43,644; Simon Snyder, 38,433; Samuel Snyder, 395.
For Sheriff, John Milroy, of Erie, received 296, and Jacob Carmack, of Erie, 295 votes. By law the two highest candidates were returned to the Governor, who made a choice between them. Carmack received the appointment.
William McArthur was re-elected to the Senate and Wilson Smith to the Assembly. John Hay, of Erie, was chosen County Commissioner.
John B. C. Lucas having resigned from Congress November 7, Samuel Smith, of Mill Creek, Erie County, was chosen in his place.
Copies of papers printed in Meadville from 1805 to 1820, and of the Erie Gazette in 1820 and afterward, show that the opposing parties were distinguished as Democratic-Republican and Federal Republican. This continued to be the case until 1829, when the anti-Masonic excitement came up. Erie County was strongly Democratic-Republican, and all of the candidates elected up to 1830 were nominated by that party, except an occasional independent. The Democratic Republicans held a convention in the county every year from 1805 to 1830. The name Democratic -- without the annex -- is first found in the Erie Observer in 1831.
Samuel Smith was reelected to Congress by a majority of 715.
Wilson Smith was elected Assemblyman, and John McCreary, of Mill Creek, County Commissioner.
The vote for Coroner was -- John Milroy, 187; George Hurst, of North East, 142; Martin Strong, 142.
Wilson Smith was reelected to the Assembly.
April 11, 1807, the following election districts were constituted, and their voting places designated:
No. 1. Erie and Mill Creek, at the court house.
No. 1. "Coniaute" and McKean, at house of James McGuines.
No. 3. Fairview, at house of William Sturgeon.
No. 4. Springfield, at house of William Porter.
No. 5. "Conniat" and Elk Creek, at town of Lexington.
No. 6. "LeBoeuff" and Waterford, at house of Jonas Clark.
No. 7. Beaver Dam and Harbor Creek, at house of Thomas Morton.
No. 8. North East, at house of Andrew Lowry.
No. 9. Greenfield and Venango, at house of Philo Parker.
No. 10. Brokenstraw and Union, at house of John Taylor.
In 1808, Venango was made District No. 11. The election place was fixed at the house of John Yost.
For Coroner, John Gray, of Erie, received 230 votes, and George Lowry, of North East, 220.
John Boyd, of Waterford, was elected County Commissioner.
Erie County cast 200 votes for the Madison electors, and 86 against them. The State gave her vote for James Madison for President and George Clinton for Vice President, who were elected.
The vote for Governor was 345 for Simon Snyder, Democrat, and 244 for James Ross, Federal. That of the State was as follows: Simon Snyder, Democrat, 67,975; James Ross, Federal, 39,575; John Spayd, Independent Democrat, 4,006.
Samuel Smith was reelected to Congress.
John Phillips, of Erie County, and James Harrington, of Mercer, were elected to the Assembly.
The vote on other officers was as follows: Sheriff -- Jacob Spang, of Erie, 318; Robert Irvin, of Erie, 287; John Salsbury, of Conneaut, 307. Coroner -- Thomas Rees, of Harbor Creek, 274; Thomas Wilson, of Erie, 41.
Francis Brawley, of North East, was elected County Commissioner.
The Democratic-Republicans had a meeting at Cochran's mill this year, at which every prominent member of the party was present. Gen. John Phillips presided and Judge Cochran was the moving spirit. The following was among the toasts on the occasion:
"Though Erie lies far in the wood,1809
Wilson Smith was elected to the State Senate.
John Phillips, of Erie County, and James Harrington, of Mercer County, were chosen to the Assembly.
For Coroner, John C. Wallace, received 245, and John Salsbury 226 votes.
Thomas Forster, of Erie, was elected County Commissioner.
John Phillips, of Erie County, and Roger Alden, of Crawford County, were elected to the Assembly.
Abner Lacock, of Beaver County, was elected to Congress.
For Sheriff, James E. Herron, of Erie, received 278, and James Weston, of LeBoeuf, 278 votes. Weston obtained the appointment from the Governor.
John Salsbury, of Conneaut, was elected County Commissioner.
The county gave Simon Snyder, Democratic candidate for Governor, 343 votes, he having no regular opposition. The vote of the State was as follows: Simon Snyder, Democrat, 52,319; William Tilghman, Independent, 3,609.
Phillips and Alden were reelected to the Assembly.
Thomas Wilson, of Erie, was elected County Commissioner.
The vote of Erie County was 152 for the Madison, and 129 for the opposition electors. The State cast its electoral vote for James Madison for President, and Elbridge Gerry for Vice President, who were elected.
John Phillips, Erie County, and Patrick Farrelly, Crawford County, were elected to the Assembly.
Abner Lacock, Beaver County, was reelected to Congress.
For Coroner, John Milroy received 107, and Abiather Crane 72 votes.
Henry Taylor, North East, was elected County Commissioner.
The Legislature having chosen Abner Lacock United States Senator, he resigned, and Thomas Wilson, of Erie, was elected to Congress in his stead.
Joseph Shannon, of Beaver County, was elected to the Senate, and James Weston, of Erie County, and James Burchfield, of Crawford County, to the Assembly.
For Sheriff, David Wallace, of Erie, received 187, and John Tracy, of Waterford, 127 votes.
Thomas Forster was reelected County Commissioner; John Grubb, of Mill Creek, was elected to the same office to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Thomas Wilson.
The vote of the county was 308 for Simon Snyder, Democrat, 55 for Isaac Wayne, Federal, and 77 for George Lattimore, Independent Democrat. The State voted as follows:
Simon Snyder, 51,099; Isaac Wayne, 29,566; George Lattimore, 910.
Thomas Wilson was re-elected to Congress, and Weston and Burchfield to the Assembly.
Henry Taylor, of North East, was reelected County Commissioner.
Jacob Harrington, of Mercer, James Weston, of LeBoeuf, and Ralph Marlin, of Meadville, were elected to the Assembly. The district had been changed to Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Warren and Venango, electing three members.
John Morris, of Erie, received 182, and James Boyd, of Waterford, 180 votes for Coroner.
Robert McClelland, of Mill Creek, was elected County Commissioner.
James Monroe was elected President, and Elbridge Gerry, Vice President. The county gave the Monroe ticket 130, and the opposition 84 votes. In the State, Monroe had 25,609 votes, and the opposition ticket 17,537.
Henry Hurst, of Crawford County, formerly of North East, was elected State Senator in place of Joseph Shannon, resigned.
Robert Moore, of Beaver, was elected to Congress; James Harrington, Ralph Marlin and Samuel Hays, of Venango County, to the Assembly, and Thomas Forster, of Erie, County Commissioner.
The vote for Sheriff was as follows: Stephen Wolverton, of Erie, 290; James Hall, of Springfield, 242.
The candidates for Governor were William Findley, Democrat, and Joseph Hiester, Federal. Erie County gave Findley 385 votes, and Hiester 261. The vote of the State was:
William Findley, 66,331; Joseph Hiester, 59,292.
Henry Hurst was re-elected to the Senate, the district comprising Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Venango and Warren Counties.
Samuel Hays, of Venango County, Thomas Wilson, of Erie County, and Ralph Marlin, of Crawford County, were elected to the Assembly, and Robert Brown, of Erie, was elected County Commissioner.
Robert Moore, of Beaver County, was reelected to Congress over Thomas Wilson, of Erie.
Jacob Harrington, Mercer, James Cochran, Crawford, and Joseph Hackney, Venango, were elected Assemblymen, and George Moore, of Erie, County Commissioner.
For Coroner, the vote stood: Samuel Hays, Erie, 262. Thomas Laird, Erie, 255.
Wilson Smith, of Erie County, James Cochran, of Crawford, and William Connelly, of Venango, were elected to the Assembly.
The vote for county officers was as follows:
Sheriff -- Thomas Laird, Erie, 349; David Wallace, Erie, 330; Amos P. Woodford, Waterford, 157.
Commissioner -- Stephen Wolverton, Erie, 427; James Hall, Springfield, 255; Abiather Crane, Mill Creek, 49; Jonah Cowgill, Erie, 3.
The Presidential election was held in the fall of this year, James Monroe being unanimously supported for re-election. Patrick Farrelly was the elector for this district. For Governor, the Democrats supported William Findley, of Franklin, and the Federalists Gen. Joseph Hiester, of Berks. Hiester was elected. The following was the vote of the county:
The candidates for Congress were Robert Moore, Beaver; Patrick Farrelly, Crawford, and Beavan Person, Mercer, all Democrats. Patrick Farrelly received a majority of 407 votes in the county, and was elected by a plurality of 1,104 in the district. The candidates for Assembly were Wilson Smith, Erie County; George Moore, Erie; Jacob Herrington, Mercer; William Connelly, Venango; James Cochran, Crawford; William Moore, Venango, and Walter Oliver, Mercer. All of the above candidates claimed to be Democrats. Messrs. Smith, Connelly and Harrington were elected. George Nicholson, Fairview, was chosen Commissioner by 75 majority over Henry Colt, of Waterford. Thomas H. Sill, Erie; Thomas Dunn, McKean; E. D. Gunnison, Erie; Abiather Crane, Mill Creek, and Clark Putnam, North East, were candidates for Auditor. Sill and Dunn were elected.
Alexander McNair, formerly of Mill Creek, was this year elected first Governor of Missouri.
The following were the candidates: State Senate -- Samuel Lord, Meadville; Gen. Henry Hurst, Meadville; Jacob Harrington, Mercer. Harrington was elected. Assembly -- George Moore, Erie; Wilson Smith, Waterford; Rev. Robert C. Hatton, Erie; Thomas King, Waterford; James Cochran, Robert L. Potter, Crawford; Arthur Chenowith, John Leech, C. S. Sample, Walter Oliver, Mercer; Andrew Bowman, Robert Mitchell, William Moore, Venango, and David Brown, Warren. Brown, Cochran and George Moore were elected. Thomas Forster, Erie, was elected Commissioner by 23 majority over Henry Colt. Thomas Rees, Harbor Creek, was elected Auditor by 211 majority over P. S. V. Hamot. Benjamin Russell, Mill Creek, was chosen Coroner.
The candidates for Congress were Patrick Farrelly, Crawford, and Samuel Williamson, Mercer, both Democrats. Farrelly received 992 votes and Williamson 136 in the county. Farrelly was elected by a majority of about 2,000 in the district.
The Assembly District was changed this year, Erie and Warren being placed together, and allowed one member. George Moore, Erie Borough, and James Weston, LeBoeuf, were the candidates for that office, the latter being elected by a majority of only 17 votes. Stephen Wolverton, Erie, David Wallace, Mill Creek, and Simeon Dunn, Erie, were candidates for Sheriff. Wolverton's majority was 366 over both of his competitors. Henry Colt, Waterford; Alexander McClosky, North East, and Thomas Rees, Harbor Creek, were candidates for Commissioner. Colt was elected by a majority of 62 votes over both the others. Thomas Dunn, McKean, was chosen Auditor over Conrad Brown, Mill Creek, and James Love, of the same township.
This being the year to select a Governor, each party had candidates in the field. The Democrats supported John Andrew Shulze, Lebanon; the Federalists, Andrew Gregg, Centre. The vote of the county was: Shulze, 754; Gregg, 604 -- Democratic majority, 150. The vote of the State was: John Andrew Schulze, Democrat, 89,928; Andrew Gregg, Federal, 64,211. For Assembly, George Moore, Erie, and Thomas H. Sill, Erie, were the candidates. Sill was beaten 199 votes in Erie County, but received so strong a support in Warren as to overbalance these figures and elect him by a majority of 149 in the district. Alexander McClosky was chosen Commissioner over John Cochran, Mill Creek, and E. D. Gunnison, Erie. Daniel Sayre, Fairview, was elected Auditor over Hamlin Russell and Abiather Crane, both of Mill Creek. Owing to a misunderstanding, no election was held in Union and Concord, which is claimed to have operated to the disadvantage of Messrs. Gregg and Sill.
A convention met March 4, of this year, at Harrisburg, and nominated Andrew Jackson for President, and John C. Calhoun for Vice President. Henry Clay, who at that time acted with the Democratic party, received 10 votes for the latter position. Another convention was held in Harrisburg, August 9, which nominated William H. Crawford, of Georgia, for President, and Albert Gallatin, of Pennsylvania, for Vice President. Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams were also candidates before the people for President, but we have no record giving the manner of their nomination. The candidates for elector were as follows: For Jackson, John Boyd, Waterford; for Adams, Jesse Moore, Meadville; for Crawford, James Montgomery; for Clay, Charles H. Israel.
The vote of the county was: For Jackson, 302; Adams, 55; Crawford, 10; Clay, 3 -- not half the ballots being cast.
The vote in the State was: Jackson, 35,894; Adams, 3,405; Crawford, 4,186; Clay, 1,701; Jackson's majority over all, 24,601.
None of the candidates received a majority of the electoral votes in the Union, and the election was thrown into the House, where Adams was chosen President.
For Congress, Patrick Farrelly and Samuel Williamson were again opposing candidates, the former receiving in Erie County, 1,030 votes to 68 for the latter. Farrelly's majority in the district was 3,133, in a total vote of 5,100. The district consisted of Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Venango and Warren.
John Phillips, of Venango Township, was elected to the Assembly over George Moore. John Morris, Erie, was chosen Commissioner over John Salsbury, Conneaut, and E. D. Gunnison, Erie. Rufus Seth Reed, Erie, defeated John Dickson, Erie, for Coroner. Thomas Rees, Harbor Creek, was elected Auditor over Amos Wilmot, Waterford.
For State Senate, Wilson Smith, Waterford; George Moore, Erie; Thomas Atkinson, Crawford; James Herriott, Mercer; and John Leech, Mercer, were opposing candidates. Moore had one majority over all in this county, but Leech received a majority in the district. Stephen Wolverton was chosen to the Assembly over John Phillips and Abiather Crane, Erie County, and Archibald Tanner and J. W. Irvine, Warren. The candidates for Sheriff were: Henry Colt, Waterford; Thomas Forster, Erie; Thomas Laird, Erie; A. W. Brewster, Erie; Albert Thayer, Mill Creek, and David McCreary, Mill Creek. Mr. Thayer was elected. The candidates for Commissioner were: John Salsbury, Conneaut; William Benson, Waterford; John Gray, Erie; Thomas Dunn, McKean, and Giles Hulbert, Waterford. Mr. Salsbury was elected. The candidates for Auditor were Amos Wilmot, Waterford; Hamlin Russell, Mill Creek; John J. Swan, Erie, and Col. James McKay, Waterford, the latter being successful. William E. McNair, Mill Creek, was chosen Auditor for one year, over William Hurley, Erie, in place of Daniel Sayre, who moved out of the county.
In this year, a proposition to form a new State Constitution was brought before the people and voted down, the majority against it in Erie County being 1,062.
Patrick Farrelly, Congressman from this district, died at Pittsburgh, on his way to Washington, February 12, 1826, and a special election was held March 14 following for his successor. The candidates were Thomas H. Sill, Erie; Samuel Hays, Venango; Jacob Herrington, Mercer; and Stephen Barlow, Crawford. Sill was elected.
At the regular October election, Sill, Barlow and John Findley, Mercer, were candidates for Congress. Barlow was elected. At the October election of this year, Gov. Shulze had no opposition in Erie County. The vote of the State was: John Andrew Shulze, Democrat, 64,211; John Sergeant, Philadelphia, Federal, 1,474.
The candidates for Assembly were Stephen Wolverton, Alex. McCloskey, George Moore and George Stuntz, Erie County; and John Andrews, Warren. Wolverton was reelected William Benson, Waterford; Thomas Forster, Erie, and James M. Moorehead, Harbor Creek, were candidates for Commissioner. Benson was elected. Martin Strong, McKean, was chosen Auditor over David H. Chapman, Fairview.
Stephen Wolverton was reelected to the Assembly over Alex. McCloskey, North East, his only opponent. The candidates for Coroner were William Flemming, Erie; Samuel Brown, Erie; Jesse Tarbell, Mill Creek; Benjamin Russell, Mill Creek; and James Graham, Beaver Dam. Flemming was elected. James M. Moorhead was chosen Commissioner over Thomas Forster. David H. Chapman, Fairview; Thomas Dunn, McKean; Robert Cochran, Mill Creek, and Charles Lay, Erie, were candidates for Auditor. Chapman was elected.
The Jackson State Convention was held in Harrisburg January 8. Andrew Jackson was nominated for President, and John C. Calhoun for Vice President. James Duncan, Mercer County, was the electoral candidate for this Congressional District.
The Adams Convention met about the 4th of March, and nominated John Quincy Adams for President, and Richard Rush, Pennsylvania, for Vice President. John Leech, Mercer County, was the electoral candidate for this Congressional district.
The State election was held October 14. The candidates in this district and county were as follows: Congress -- Thomas H. Sill, Erie County; and Stephen Barlow, Crawford. The vote in the county was 1,406 for Sill and 366 for Barlow. Sill received a majority of about 600 in the district. Assembly -- George Moore, Stephen Wolverton and Wilson Smith, all of Erie County; Moore was elected. Sheriff -- Alex. W. Brewster, Erie; Thomas Mellen, North East; Daniel Sawtell, Springfield; Smith Jackson, Erie; Richard Arbuckle and John G. Caldwell, Mill Creek. Brewster was elected. Commissioner (three years) -- Albert Thayer, Erie; George Nicholson, Fairview. Thayer was elected by a nearly unanimous vote. Commissioner (one year) -- in place of William Benson, Waterford, resigned -- Myron Hutchinson, Springfield; James Pollock, LeBoeuf; and John Boyd, Waterford. Hutchinson was elected. Robert Cochran, Mill Creek, was elected Auditor over Thomas Dunn, McKean, and James Benson, Waterford. No political issue seems to have been made in this election.
The Presidential election was held on Friday, October 31, and resulted as follows:
The vote of the State was: Jackson, 101,652; Adams, 50,848; Jackson's majority, 50,804. Jackson and Calhoun had a large majority of the electoral vote of the Union.
The Anti-Masonic excitement had by this year risen into a political issue, and a separate party organization was formed, embracing a large portion of the supporters of Mr. Adams. The Democratic State Convention met at Harrisburg on the 4th of March and nominated George Wolf, Northampton County, for Governor. The Anti-Masonic State Convention met at the same place on the same day, and nominated Joseph Ritner, Washington County. The vote of Erie County was: Ritner, 1,545; Wolf, 497. The vote of the State was: George Wolf, Democrat, 77,988; Joseph Ritner, Anti-Mason, 51,724; Wolf's majority, 26,264.
The Anti-Masonic issue does not appear to have entered into the election of district and county officers, and the candidates ran upon their merits, as heretofore, most of them having been previously identified with the Democratic organization. For State Senate, Thomas S. Cunningham, Mercer County, defeated Wilson Smith, Erie County, by over 2,700 majority in the district. George Moore was elected to the Assembly over Stephen Wolverton, Joseph M. Sterrett, Erie, Myron Hutchinson, Springfield and William Gray, Wayne, were candidates for Commissioner. Sterrett was elected by a majority of 26 over Hutchinson, the next highest candidate. Eli Webster, McKean, was elected Auditor over Thomas E. Reed, Venango, by a nearly unanimous vote.
Bibliography: Samuel P. Bates,History of Erie County, Pennsylvania,(Warner, Beers & Co.: Chicago, 1884), Part II, Chapter XXI, pp. 340-430.
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