Pieces of the Past
Artifacts, Documents, and Primary Sources
from Letchworth Park History


Mr. Letchworth's Obituary

The following obituary appeared in the New York Times, December 3, 1910 p11.


"Wm. P. Letchworth Dead."
"Gave new York State a 1,000-Acre
Park on the Genesee River."

"William Pryor Letchworth, who, four years ago, gave the State of New York a 1,000-acre park, bearing his name, near Portage, N.Y., on the Genesee River, died on Thursday evening from heart disease in this eighty-eighth year. His death occurred in Glen Iris, as his house in the middle of Letchworth Park was called. He had been in feeble health for several years, but had been able to be present at the dedication of the statue of Mary Jemison in the park last September.

He was born in Brownville, N.Y., and was engaged in manufacturing saddlery and iron goods in Buffalo N.Y., between the ages of 25 and 40. He then retired from business and gave all his attention to charitable work. He was a member of the state Board of Charities from 1873 to 1896. He was President of the Board from 1878 to 1888. He was the first President of the New York State Conference of Charities and Correction at its organization in 1900, after having already been the President of the National Conference of Charities in 1884. He obtained the passage of a bill in the State Assembly to remove children from almshouses and other pauper establishments. He also expended considerable time in reforming epileptic and demented public charges. He became President of the National Association for the study of Epilepsy and the Treatment of Epileptics, which was organized twelve years ago.

He began buying land near Portage Falls on the upper Genesee River fifty years ago. He spent $500,000 improving it, and signed a deed conveying it to the State on the last day of 1906. The American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society becomes now the custodian of the property. Mr. Letchworth retained merely a life tenancy in the property. His death makes the State the owner of the park. The value of the park lies partly in its great natural and improved beauty, partly in its historic significance and partly in the opportunity it offers for floral, forest, and geological study.

Besides his charitable duties, Mr. Letchworth was the author of 'The Insane in Foreign Countries' and 'Care and Treatment of Epileptics'."



Return to "Pieces" Index Return to Table of Contents

All rights reserved by Tom Cook & Tom Breslin