Joseph G. Masten - LINKS

Joseph G. Masten
1809 - 1871

Mayor of Buffalo - 1843 first term, 1845 second term
Superior Court Judge - 1856 to 1871
Political Affiliate - Democrat

Joseph Masten was born at Red Hook, Dutchess County, New York, on June 24, 1809. He was educated in the local public schools. At Granby, Connecticut, he prepared for college. He attended Trinity College of Hartford, Connecticut, and Union College of Schenectady, New York, graduating from the latter in 1828. Then he went to Kingston, New York, to study law in the office of A.B. Hasbrouck and of Judge Ruggles.

He began his practice of law at Bath, New York. It was in that village also, that he married Christina Cameron of the well-known Cameron family of Bath, New York. Their marriage was blessed with two sons and one daughter.

In 1836 Hon. Masten moved to Buffalo, New York, which seemed to offer a broader field to a young lawyer. Here he practiced law first as a partner of Henry W. Rogers, then Everett Van Buren and finally Thomas J. Dudley.

Judge Masten was elected Mayor of Buffalo, in 1843, on the Democratic ticked for a term of one year. He discharged his assumed duties with an ability and fidelity which commanded the respect of all parties.

During his term of service to the city new streets were laid out and old ones were extended farther into the surrounding country. New buildings of better and more substantial architecture appeared, municipal institutions and departments were improved and enlarged, and lake and canal commerce was developed substantially.

In 1847, ex-Mayor Masten was elected City Recorder and held that post from 1848 to 1862. From 1856 to his death, on April 14, 1871, he held the office of Superior Court Judge. He also served as one of the early trustees of the Grosvenor Library.

Judge Masten was the founder of the Christ Church, now incorporated in the Trinity Episcopal Church.

He was a man of culture, had held many positions of trust and honor, and for many years was one of the most respected and esteemed citizens of Buffalo. This is evidenced by the following:

In 1832, when Buffalo became a city, interments in the old Franklin Square Cemetery (on the present site of the Old County Building) had been prohibited for some time and a suitable potter's field (and other new cemeteries) had to be chosen.

After much debate, a site was chosen. The cemetery extended from East North to Best Street, and from Michigan to Cemetery Street (named after an old Indian cemetery and in 1897 renamed Masten Street - after Judge Masten.

The cemetery fell into disuse. In 1886, it was closed and the graves moved to Forest Lawn. The site became Masten Park, again named for Joseph Masten.

Masten is also remembered because he bought the fort on Delaware near North Street from the federal government and turned it into a residence. The house is now known as the Wilcox Mansion or as the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site (because President Roosevelt took the oath of office there after President McKinley's death)..


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