Cornell, Alonzo B.

Cornell, Alonzo B. kôrnĕlˈ [key], 1832–1904, American businessman and politician, b. Ithaca, N.Y. Cornell was a director (1868–69) and vice president (1870–76) of the Western Union Telegraph Company, founded by his father, Ezra Cornell. A supporter of Senator Roscoe Conkling, he was surveyor of customs (1869–73) at the port of New York, chairman (1870–78) of the Republican state central committee, and speaker (1873) of the New York assembly. President Grant, just before leaving office, appointed him naval officer in the New York customhouse. President Hayes, in an attempt to wrest control of the port of New York customhouse from the Conkling machine, brought pressure upon him to resign because of his official party connection. Cornell refused, and though strongly supported by Conkling, he and Chester A. Arthur, the collector of the port of New York, were removed in 1878. Cornell was promptly chosen governor of New York for the term 1880–83. He modernized the state finances, made good appointments, and vetoed much extravagant legislation. By not taking sides in the patronage fight between President Garfield and Conkling in 1881, he contributed to Conkling's defeat in the legislature and was himself defeated for renomination as governor. He wrote a biography of his father (1884).

See his public papers (3 vol., 1880–82).

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