Medina native was Susan B. Anthony’s cousin, Kansas governor

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Susan B. Anthony is depcited in this statue down the street from the Susan B. Anthony House on Madison Street in Rochester.

MEDINA – Before he became governor of Kansas, George Anthony led 240 soldiers from Orleans County into battle during the Civil War.

Anthony’s life – his roots in Medina, his leadership in the war and his service as Kansas governor – are noted on a historical marker on West Center Street in Medina.

He was also the cousin of famed suffragist, abolitionist and temperance activist Susan B. Anthony.

A historical marker on West Center Street in Medina notes the home of George Anthony, who went on to be governor of Kansas.

The cousins, who were raised by Quakers, were radical people in the mid to late 1800s.

I was in Rochester today and swung by the Susan B. Anthony House on Madison Street. I’ve driven by the bronze statues of Anthony and Frederick Douglass up the street, but never took the time to stop and experience them until today. They are the centerpieces of the Susan B. Anthony Square Park.

Anthony and her friend Douglass, a noted abolitionist, are depicted having tea together. One resident saw me taking photos, and exclaimed about the beauty of the statues, which were erected in 2001. They certainly give a lift to the neighborhood.

Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass are depicted in “Let’s Have Tea,” statues in the Susan B. Anthony Square Park.

This is an old street in Rochester and I couldn’t help but notice sandstone foundations on the houses, a couple hitching posts in front yards, and sandstone posts to hold up the sign with the park’s name.

I’d like to see some bronze statues honoring the quarrymen who built the canal villages in Orleans County. I like how the Susan B. Anthony Square Park doesn’t have Anthony by herself. She appears very much engaged with Douglass.

The quarrymen’s job involved a lot of teamwork. I hope as a community we could come up with a memorial site that would give a glimpse of that difficult work from more than a century ago.

Regarding George Anthony, Tom Taber of Albion features the Medina resident in “The Orleans Battery – A History of the 17th New York Light Artillery in the War of Rebellion.” Taber published that 320-page book last year. It’s a remarkable research effort.

He found a letter that Anthony wrote to his brother on April 9, 1865, the day of the Confederate surrender. Anthony was outside the Appomattox Court House only a few yards away from the where General Robert E. Lee surrendered.

“This is a glorious hour, and will live in history,” he wrote his brother Benjamin Anthony of Medina. “The work is done. Gen. Ord announces to us the surrender of Lee, and the entire army under his command, and that are present. Thus ends the Army of the Virginia, and, virtually, the Rebellion.”

After the war, Anthony moved to Kansas, working as a newspaper editor. He was elected the state’s governor, serving two years from January 1877 to January 1879.