Roswell P. Flower

Roswell Pettibone Flower
30th Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1892  December 31, 1894
Lieutenant William F. Sheehan
Preceded by David B. Hill
Succeeded by Levi P. Morton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 12th district
In office
March 4, 1889  September 16, 1891
Preceded by William B. Cockran
Succeeded by Joseph J. Little
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 11th district
In office
November 8, 1881  March 3, 1883
Preceded by Levi P. Morton
Succeeded by Orlando B. Potter
Personal details
Born (1835-08-07)August 7, 1835
Theresa, New York
Died May 12, 1899(1899-05-12) (aged 63)
Eastport, New York
Political party Democratic
Parents Mary Ann and Nathan Monroe Flower

Roswell Pettibone Flower (August 7, 1835  May 12, 1899) was the 30th Governor of New York from 1892 to 1894.


He was born on August 7, 1835, to Nathan Monroe Flower and Mary Ann Flower, the sixth of nine children. In 1853, he became Deputy Postmaster of Watertown, New York, at a salary of $600 a year, and after six years had saved $1,000 and opened with a partner a jewelry store. Two years later, he bought his partner out, and continued in this business until 1869.

In 1869, Henry Keep, a former President of the New York Central Railroad, was dying and asked Roswell Flower, whose wife was a sister of Keep's wife Emma, to manage the $4,000,000 estate for his widow. Flower asked Keep for guidance on who he could trust, and named a business associate, Daniel Drew. Keep replied, "He is as honest a man as there is in the State of New York, but for fear that somebody else will cheat, he will always begin first."[1] The business brought Flower to New York City where he became known as a shrewd financial administrator, and opened the banking house of R. P. Flower & Co.

He was elected as a Democrat to the 47th United States Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Levi P. Morton upon his appointment as Minister to France, and served from November 8, 1881, to March 3, 1883. He was also elected to the 51st and 52nd United States Congresses, and served from March 4, 1889, to September 16, 1891, when he resigned upon his nomination for Governor.

He was Governor of New York from 1892 to 1894, elected in 1891, the last one to serve a three-year term. During his term he signed into law the creation of the City of Niagara Falls.

He died of a heart attack on May 12, 1899 in Eastport, New York at the Long Island Country Clubhouse.[2] His death disrupted the planned purchase by a consortium of investors, including Flower and W.H. Moore, of the steel-related holdings of Andrew Carnegie about a year and a half before J.P. Morgan purchased the same interests in the deal that formed U.S. Steel.[3]


A monument to Flower, designed by noted sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1902, is located on lower Washington Street at Watertown. It is in the Public Square Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.[4]


  1. Murlin, Edgar L. The New York Red Book - an Illustrated Legislative Manual. Albany: James B. Lyon, 1895, p. 78.
  2. "Roswell P. Flower Dies Suddenly. Ex-Governor Succumbs to Heart Disease at Eastport, L.I. Had Gone on Fishing Trip. Taken Ill Yesterday Afternoon and Died at 10:30 o'Clock P.M. The Second Attack Proved Fatal. Doctors Arrived on a Special Train. The Widow Prostrated". New York Times. May 13, 1899. Retrieved 2011-05-12. Ex-Gov. Roswell P. Flower died here suddenly at 10:30 o'clock to-night of heart disease. He was at the Country Clubhouse, where he usually spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of every week during the Spring and Summer, resting and enjoying the fishing.
  4. National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Levi P. Morton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 11th congressional district

Succeeded by
Orlando B. Potter
Preceded by
William Bourke Cockran
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 12th congressional district

Succeeded by
Joseph J. Little
Political offices
Preceded by
David B. Hill
Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Levi P. Morton
Academic offices
Preceded by
Henry W. Sage
Chairman of Cornell Board of Trustees
Succeeded by
Frank H. Hiscock
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