An Early Donation

The Hometown History column is presented by the Fenton History Center and The Post-Journal. Each Friday, a distinct item from the Fenton History Center collections or archival special collections will be featured. Learn about your hometown history through parts of its past.

If one of the items featured brings back some memories or brings up a question, please contact the Fenton History Center at 664-6256 or information@fentonhistorycenter.org to share your memory or get an answer to your question.

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By Karen E. Livsey

Archivist

In celebration of the Fenton’s 50th anniversary, a number of the first donations to the historical society will be featured in this column. This artifact is one of those early donations. A number of oil paintings of Jamestown residents are part of the collection at the Fenton History Center. Some are on display throughout the museum and others are resting in storage. One painting that has been in storage was painted by William Greaves and is a portrait of Daniel Hazeltine Post.

Daniel Hazeltine Post is a native of Jamestown, born here on July 17, 1850, to William and Susanna (Hazeltine) Post. He was the grandson of Daniel Hazeltine who arrived in Jamestown in 1816 and started his fulling mill and related textile enterprises. Daniel Hazeltine married Mehitable Bemus, youngest daughter of William and Mary (Prendergast) Bemus.

Daniel Hazeltine Post graduated from the Jamestown Union School and Collegiate Institute in its first class in 1868. He received his college degrees from Williams College which was the same college his uncle, Hon. Abner Hazeltine, had attended. Back in Jamestown, Post was engaged in newspaper work at the Jamestown Journal and Chautauqua Democrat and wrote for other papers and periodicals. In 1894 he wrote a book, Jotham Bemus of Bemus’s Heights, which tells of Jotham Bemus and his family’s involvement in the Revolutionary War Battle of Bemis Heights which took place in Saratoga County on the farm owned by Jotham Bemus, Post’s great-great-grandfather.

Post became involved in the furniture business as a partner in the Jamestown Bedstead Company and he was secretary of the Chautauqua Lake Railway company. He was a Mason and was a lieutenant in the 13th separate company of the New York State National Guard which had started as the Fenton Guards. In 1878, he accompanied former Gov. Reuben E. Fenton to the International Monetary conference in Paris, France. Fenton was the head of the American Delegation and Post served as his private secretary and as clerk for the American Delegation. On July 16, 1883, Daniel Hazeltine Post married Evelyn M. Newland, daughter of Robert and Evelyn (Patchin) Newland of Jamestown. Daniel Hazeltine Post died on June 3, 1904, and is buried in Lake View Cemetery.

The artist who painted the portrait of Daniel Hazeltine Post was William A. Greaves. He was born in Watertown New York on March 12, 1847, and died in Kansas City, May 26, 1900. Greaves was a resident of Warren, Pa., from 1873 until his death in 1900.

While in Warren, Greaves painted portraits of many area people of social and political prominence, as well as, others outside the area. Twenty-seven of these portraits were featured in an exhibit at the Warren County Public Library in 2006 including two from the collection of the Fenton History Center. Greaves’ portrait of Gov. Reuben E. Fenton is located at the Library of Congress.

Also in the collection of the Fenton History Center are some diaries written by George W. Tew, of Jamestown. Entries in these diaries for October 1878 record the fact that William Greaves painted a portrait of Dolly Tew, 5-year-old daughter of George W. Tew. The entry for Oct. 8, 1878, is “Wm. A. Greaves, artist, is settled at the house has Laura’s room for a studio. The picture grows in beauty as it nears completion. It pleases us wonderfully. It is ‘very like’ our Dolly & is a very beautiful picture we think.” The location of this portrait is unknown.

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The purpose of the Fenton History Center is to gather and teach about southern Chautauqua County’s history through artifacts, ephemeral and oral histories, and other pieces of the past.

Visit www.fentonhistorycenter.org for more information on upcoming events.

If you would like to donate to the collections or support the work of the Fenton History Center, call 664-6256 or visit the center at 67 Washington St.

just south of the Washington Street Bridge.