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This Week in Port Jervis History

On November 8, 1977, Edward Arthur Gray won the mayoral race in Port Jervis by more than a three to one margin. Gray served as mayor of Port Jervis for ten years before becoming a New York state senator. The city’s post office is named in his honor.

On November 9, 1870 William Stiles Bennet was born in Port Jervis. Bennet graduated from Port Jervis Academy in 1889 and Albany Law School in 1892 and served in the House of Representatvies from 1905 to 1911 and from 1915 to 1917.

On November 13, 1874 William Elliott Griffis gave a lecture, “Japan of Today” at the Reformed Church in Port Jervis. Griffis, author of The Story of the Walloons: At Home in Lands of Exile and America, wrote the introduction to Bushido: The Soul of Japan, a popular book published in 1900. Griffis, a orientalist, minister and lecturer was awarded two Orders of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government in 1907 and 1926.

On November 14, 1873, Port Jervisians celebrated the election of State Assemblymen, Frank Abbott. A cannon was fired, bonfires were lit and the Erie Band played, while Abbott invited a large number of his constituents to his house. Abbott, however, only held the seat until February of 1874, after the election was contested by Edward M. Madden. Abbott, who was previously a mechanic at the Erie shops in Port Jervis, served as the village president here from 1874 to 1876.

William Elliott Griffis

Senator William Stiles Bennet

E. Arthur Gray in 1990

Frank Abbott's grave in Laurel Grove cemetery

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