Sunday, November 17, 2019

Bovina Ex-Pats: Alexander Brush (1824-1892), Mayor of Buffalo

This is the first in a series on Bovina natives who made a name for themselves in the 'outside' world. Ex-Pat is a British term meaning someone who has settled away from their homeland.

         Our first ex-pat made a name for himself in Buffalo, NY in the business and political arenas. Named for his grandfather, Alexander Brush, the first settler in what is now Bovina Center, this Alexander was born in 1824 in Bovina, the son of Jacob Brush and Phoebe Cushing. Brush left Bovina as a child with his parents around 1830. His father died in Wayne County, NY in 1835.

Alexander and most of his siblings settled in Buffalo, with Alexander arriving there in 1848. He opened a successful brick making business with his brother William. From 1879 to 1882, Brush Brothers were the largest manufacturer of bricks in the northeast, with over a million bricks a year.

While running his company, Alexander was active in Buffalo politics. He first served as Alderman for the third Ward in 1861 and was reelected to that position until becoming street commissioner. He was elected mayor in 1869 and re-elected in a special election held in 1872. During his tenure in office, the cornerstone was laid for the County and City Hall. Brush opted not to run again when his term expired in 1873. Six years later, in 1879, he was once again elected mayor and served until 1881. Brush was succeeded by Grover Cleveland, who became Governor of New York within the year and President of the United States in 1885.

Mayor Alexander Brush (image from Wikipedia Commons)
Alexander was married twice, first to Lucinda Bucklin of Titusville, Pennsylvania, who died within the year and second in 1866 to Mrs. Sarah A. Leonard, (née Warner) of South Wales, New York. He had no children by either wife.

Alexander Brush retired from the brick business in 1890 and died two years later in June 1892 while traveling to Europe on the Belgian. He is buried in the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo.

From, Alexander Brush's passport application for his trip to Europe in 1892, a trip he would never complete.

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