Parkhurst Whitney

Parkhurst Whitney

Death 26 Apr 1862 (aged 77)
New York, USA
Burial Niagara Falls, Niagara County, New York, USA
Plot Section 2A Lot 62 Grave 3
Memorial ID 64091420 · View Source
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Parkhurst Whitney was born in Conway, Massachusetts moving to New York with his family in 1789. He became a soldier, a land surveyor, a businessman and a very prominent man of Niagara Falls, New York

In 1805 he married Celina Cowling in NY, they had 6 children (see attached children)

He served in the War of 1812 as Capt. in the 163rd Regiment of the New York State Militia. During the Battle of Queenston Heights while serving under Gen. Winfield Scott, he was taken prison for a short time.
On the morning of 19 Dec 1813, Whitney and his family were driven from their home when the British marched from Lewiston to Tonawanda burning everything in sight.

Parkhurst Whitney was a land surveyor and, reportedly "made the first survey of Goat Island and made other surveys for the Holland Land Company and for the State of New York.
Three Sisters Islands (off of Goat Island) was named after his three daughters (Asenath, Angeline, and Celinda Eliza) who in 1817, were the first recorded "non-native girls to visit the islands." Brother Island was named for son Solon Whitney. Can be read here:

On 19 Jun 1820, Gov. DeWitt Clinton made Parkhurst a Brigadier General of the 5th Brigade, and six years later Parkhurst was the Major General of the 24th Div. on 4 Mar 1826.
Parkhurst ended buying the Eagle Tavern after three years of renting from Augustus Porter and Peter Barton. In 1831, he purchased and ran Cataract House (originally built in 1825) which became "the most elegant and popular hotel on the American side

The Cataract House was one of the two largest hotels in Niagara Falls, operated by Parkhurst Whitney from 1825 to 1845, and by his son Solon Whitney and sons-in-law James Trott and Dexter Jerauld from 1845 until the late nineteenth century. It was a magnet both for southern slave-holding tourists and for African American waiters, many of them southern-born. The African American waiters who worked as Underground Railroad agents made this site one of the most important Underground Railroad nodes in the entire nation. at this location:

In 1848 Parkhurst also served as Village President of Niagara Falls.

In 1862 it was written (He was "an old and eminent Mason and a distinguished Knight Templar". After a funeral attended by 3,000 people, he was buried with Masonic honors alongside his wife at Oakwood Cemetery, Niagara Falls, NY)

More information can be read here: Parkhurst Whitney WikiPedia biography:


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  • Created by: Phyllis Meyer
  • Added: 11 Jan 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 64091420
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Parkhurst Whitney (25 Sep 1784–26 Apr 1862), Find a Grave Memorial no. 64091420, citing Oakwood Cemetery, Niagara Falls, Niagara County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Phyllis Meyer (contributor 47083260) .