Articles taken for the Andover Newspaper in May 1929 

submitted by William A. Greene  


March 2004 



Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the Organization of 

Party to be Held at Friendship Next Thursday.  

       Seventy-five years ago, the 16th of May, 1854, the Republican Party was born in Friendship, Allegany county, New York.  A celebration will be held in Friendship Thursday afternoon of next week the 16th, commemorating that historic event.  State and county Republican Committees are giving their support and the citizens of Friendship, irrespective of their political affiliations, are working hard to make it a memorable occasion.  The local Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the celebration. 

       The complete program has not yet been announced.  But it is expected that at least one cabinet member will attend and speak.  Congressman Daniel A. Reed has accepted an invitation to speak.  Other prominent party leaders are expected to take part.  Stirring music and other features are promised.   Plans are being made for the entertainment of a great number.

       It is Friendship’s claim that the first actual organization of the party and the adoption of the name “Republican” was in Friendship on May 16, 1854.  The Friendship Convention, as it has since been called, was the result of two years of effort by A. N. Cole, “Father of the Republican Party,” editor of the Genesee Valley Free Press, the “Pioneer Republican Journal of America.”  Mr. Cole presided over the convention and proposed the name “Republican” which had been suggested to him by Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune.

       Friendship claims have been disputed by several other places but the contest appears to have been given up by all except two,  Ripon, Wisconsin and Jackson, Michigan.  Both of these places have announced celebrations for this summer.  Ripon in June and Jackson in July.  Ripon bases its claim on the fact that as early as February in 1854, a meeting was held in that town at which it appears that a new party was discussed.  But it has not been clearly established that a party was actually organized and named there until much later in the year.  At least, that is Friendship’s contention.

       Jackson’s claim is based on the fact that a convention was held there in July at which candidates were nominated, this, they contend, constituted the actual birth of the party.  The national party organization has not attempted to pass judgment upon any of the rival claims.


       The Friendship convention was held in the Baptist church, a building which is still standing and is now known as the G. A. R. Hall.  It will be the center around which the celebration next week will be held.  The ceremonies will begin about 2 o'clock.



 Little Church Claiming to Have Been Scene of

Meeting 75 Years Ago Gets Much Homage. 

     Friendship, N. Y. – The seventy-fifth anniversary of New York’s part in the founding of the Republican Party has just been celebrated here with exercises attended by several thousand persons, including prominent members of the national and state organizations.

     The small Baptist church now the Grand Army of the Republic hall - in which a group of prominent members of the community, headed by A. N. Cole, met on May 16, 1854 to discuss the political situation, was not large enough to accommodate the gathering and the ceremonies were held in the auditorium of the Friendship High School.

     It was just about dusk on that May evening 75 years ago when Mr. Cole, editor of the Genesee Valley Free Press and a friend Horace Greeley, arrived at the meeting place to find it unlighted and vacant.  Disappointed, he was about to return home when a few of the men who had been invited to the meeting arrived.

     The meeting was held; the Republican Party organized, and a committee appointed to arrange for a nominating convention.  The committee comprised of Mr. Cole, Charles M. Allen, Robert Shaw, E. B. Benjamin and Joseph D. Shuart.


Horace Greeley’s Letter

     Mr. Cole was an ardent Free Soiler, but he entertained vigorous views about the formation of a new part. Following the repeal of the Missouri compromise, Mr. Cole’s newspaper advocated the function of all anti-Nebraska elements, and expressed most pronounced views.  He has frequently been known as “the father of the Republican Party,” and always asserted that he was instrumental in naming it.

     “Horace Greeley named the party in a letter to myself in 1854, some time in the month of April,” he said in a letter to a New York editor 30 years later.  “Call it Republican, no prefix, no suffix, but plain Republican.”  Mr. Greeley was reported to have written Mr. Cole in the letter.

     While the Friendship meeting marked the inception of the Republican Party in New York State, its claim to having been the national birthplace of the party is disputed by towns in several other states.  Chief among these are Ripon, Wis., and Jackson, Mich.  In Ripon there is a small schoolhouse bearing a plaque which sets forth that the Republican Party was first organized there at a meeting on March 20, 1854.

     The meeting at Jackson was held in July, and seems to have been the inspiration for the first national convention.  Pursuant to a resolution adopted there, a call was sent out from Washington for a meeting of a general committee to be held at Pittsburgh on February 22, 1856.  The committee summoned the first national convention, which met at Philadelphia on June 17, 1856, and nominated John C. Fremont for president and William L. Dayton for vice president.


Historical Floats 

     The Friendship ceremonies started with a parade which included floats of Abraham Lincoln, Horace Greeley, Mr. Cole and the Republican elephant.

     Following a program of patriotic music and an address of welcome by E. A. Mapes, master of ceremonies; Assemblyman H. E. V. Porter (R.) of Jamestown, presented documentary evidence of the founding of the party.  Harry E. Hull of Washington, Commissioner - General of Immigration, made the chief address.  He described the early aims and purposes of the party, which was later headed by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and brought about the abolition of slavery.

     President Hoover was honorary chairman of the ceremonies.