United States Senator, President and Board Chairman of the New York Central Railroad, and notable Public Speaker. Son of Isaac Depew (d. 1869), shipowner and merchant, and Martha Mitchell Depew (d. 1872). Graduated Yale University in 1856; admitted to the bar in 1858. Served in the New York state legislature; elected New York's secretary of state in 1863. Depew joined the New York Central Railroad in 1866 at the invitation of 'Commodore' Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), advancing to the presidency in 1885. In 1899, at the age of sixty-five, he embarked on a twelve-year tenure in the United States Senate, and, until the end of his life, remained Chairman of the Board of the New York Central. In 1871 Depew married Elsie A. Hegeman, with whom he had one son, Chauncey M. Depew, Jr. (1872-1931). A widower in 1893, he married May Palmer (d. 1940) in 1901; they had no children. A leading business and political figure Depew ranked as the most distinguished public speaker in America. In 1886 he delivered the principal address at the dedication of the Statue of Liberty; six years later he was chosen to speak at the laying of the cornerstone of Grant's Tomb; and in 1892 he presented the dedicatory oration at the Chicago World's Fair. At the age of ninety-one, in 1925, his annual birthday speach was broadcast over the radio. He was known of "the most recognized living American, with the sole exception of the President of the United States." Chauncey M. Depew "joined the majority" [by his own terminology] in 1928, at the age of ninety-four.
Bio by: R. Bruce