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Located on Buchanan Avenue near Herman Arts Center
Commissioned by John Watts de Peyster (1821-1907)
George Edwin Bissell (1839-1920), sculptor
Cast by Henry Bonnard Bronze Co., Connecticut
Base presumably by Badger Brothers, Quincy, Mass.
Total cost $10,000.
This bronze sculpture of the gr gr gr grandfather of John Watts de Peyster, benefactor to Franklin and Marshall College, was originally located on the Bowling Green in New York City from 1895-1897. It commemorated Abraham de Peyster, early Mayor of the City of New York. In August 1897, John Watts de Peyster offered to donate the statue to Franklin and Marshall College. Although the exact circumstances are unclear, it appears that a longstanding controversy over the scale and location of the statue in Bowling Green Park (and/or public ridicule) prompted de Peyster to have the piece removed to Lancaster, to be placed in front of the new library building recently built through his generosity. His decision to give the sculpture to F&M (a decision said to have been suggested by the sculptor) was also motivated by a feeling that Abraham's connection with the Dutch Reformed church made it somewhat appropriate for the German Reformed affiliated college. The sculpture arrived in Lancaster on November 3, 1897 and was placed along College Avenue (at the end of James Street) in front of new Watts-de Peyster library. It sat there until it was moved in spring 1937 to its present location to make room for the construction of Fackenthal Library. Apparently de Peyster later had a similar, scaled down, replacement sculpture made for the Bowling Green which remains in New York today (relocated to Hanover Square Park).
Inscription on base reads...
ALDERMAN OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 1685. MAYOR OF THAT CITY, 1691-95.
MEMBER OF EARL BELLOMONT'S COUNCIL 1698. ASSISTANT JUDGE OF THE SUPREME COURT, 1698.
COLONEL COMMANDING REGIMENT OF MILITIA OR CITY TRAINED BANDS 1700.
CHIEF JUSTICE, 1700. PRESIDENT OF KING'S COUNCIL,
AND THUS, ACTING GOVERNOR OF THE PROVINCE OF NEW YORK 1701.
TREASURER OF THE PROVINCES OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY 1706-1721.
BORN 8TH JULY 1657, DIED 2D AUGUST 1728.
JOHANNES DE PEYSTER, COL ABRAHAM DE PEYSTER'S FATHER WAS BURGOMASTER 1673
AND DEPUTY MAYOR N.Y. 1677. JOHANNES DE PEYSTER, ANOTHER SON, MAYOR N.Y. 1698-9.
ERECTED, 1895, BY HIS GT. GT. GT. GRANDSON
JOHN WATTS DE PEYSTER.
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