Asher Tyler, Ellicottville, NY

This location is Private property.

Asher Tyler (1798-1875) appears, as “Mr.Tyler” and “Hon. A. Tyler,” three times in the Anti-Slavery Collection of the Foote papers. Tyler is mentioned twice in a letter of 6 February 1845 from five men in Forestville (Town of Hanover, Chautauqua County) NY to Hon. E. T.Foote. Tyler is also mentioned in a letter of 8 February 1845 from Foote to those same five men. The focus of both letters is on raising money to buy the freedom of a woman and her son, Mary and James Norton, from their slave owner, Mr. Judson. The suggestion is made each time that Tyler should be asked to advance the money.

Tyler was born on 10 May 1798 in Bridgewater NY to Job and Tyler Charlotte (Utley) Tyler. He graduated from Hamilton College in 1817 and went on to study law. He opened his practice in Ellicottville NY in 1836. He had married Matilda Youle on 18 October 1828, and they had five children. In addition to his law practice Tylerbecame an agent for the Devereaux Land Co. He was active in the Whig Party and was elected to Congress, serving from March 1843 to March 1845. While Tyler was in Congress, he was replaced at the land company by T. R.Colman.

Coincidentally, Colman was a brother of two of the men signing the letter of 6 February 1845 suggesting that Tyler be approached for money. Part of their motivation must have been that Tyler was serving in D.C., where the mother and child were being held. With a payment deadline looming in order to purchase their freedom, Tyler was fortunately on the spot.

Tyler sold his home in Ellicottville to Silas Huntley in April 1845, and the home could still be seen in Huntley’s name on the 1856 map of Cattaraugus County. After his Congressional term ended, Tyler moved to Elmira, where he was a land agent for the Erie Railroad. He died there on 1 August 1875.

Source: the Foote papers

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