09 March 2009

Theodore M. Pomeroy

Attorney, Congressman, Mayor of Auburn

Theodore M. Pomeroy
portrait by George L. Clough, 1921,
collection of the United States House of Representatives

Theodore Medad Pomeroy represented Auburn in the United States Congress and in both houses of the New York State legislature. He was elected by his Congressional colleagues to serve, if only briefly, as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Having attained that high position, he continued public service on a much smaller stage, honored to preside over the common council as mayor of Auburn. Few men and women have served their communities in such an array of elected positions at the local, state and national levels.

Pomeroy was born in the village of Cayuga on 31 December 1824, the son of Rev. Medad Pomeroy. He received his early education at the Munro Collegiate Institute in Elbridge, and graduated from Hamilton College in 1842. After reading law, he was admitted to the practice of law in 1846, and began the practice of his profession at Auburn.

Pomeroy combined the practice of law with his commitment to public service, and served as district attorney of Cayuga County (1850-56), member of the state assembly (1857), delegate to the national conventions of the new Republican Party in (1860, 1876), including service as temporary chairman of the latter convention, and member of the thirty-seventh and three succeeding Congresses (1861-69). As a member of Congress, Pomeroy was chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Post Office Department (1863-65), Committee on Banking and Currency (1865-69). On March 3, 1869, the final day of the fortieth Congress, he was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, serving for one day only. After representing his community in the corridors of the nation's capital, Pomeroy was chosen by his townsmen as the mayor of Auburn (1875-76), and was later elected to the New York State Senate (1878-79).

In the commercial realm, Pomeroy was likewise prominent. He was the first vice president and general counsel of the American Express Company (1868).

Pomeroy died in Auburn on 23 March 1905 and was buried in Fort Hill Cemetery. The city park on Genesee Street was named Pomeroy Park in his honor.