Schuyler Merritt

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Schuyler Merritt
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1933 – January 3, 1937
Preceded byWilliam L. Tierney
Succeeded byAlfred N. Phillips
In office
November 6, 1917 – March 3, 1931
Preceded byEbenezer J. Hill
Succeeded byWilliam L. Tierney
Personal details
Born(1853-12-16)December 16, 1853
New York City, New York
DiedApril 1, 1953(1953-04-01) (aged 99)
Stamford, Connecticut
Resting placeWoodland Cemetery
Political partyRepublican
Frances Hannah Hoyt
(m. 1879; her death 1943)
ParentsMatthew F. Merritt
Mariah Shaw
ResidenceStamford, Connecticut
Alma materYale College (1873)
Columbia Law School (1876)

Schuyler Merritt (December 16, 1853 – April 1, 1953) was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Connecticut's 4th congressional district from 1917 to 1931 and 1933 to 1937. He is the namesake of the Merritt Parkway.

Early life

He was born in New York City, in 1853,[1] the son of Matthew Franklin Merritt (1815–1896), a Connecticut State Senator, and Mariah Shaw Merritt. His father had also served in the Connecticut General Assembly. He moved with his parents to Stamford, Connecticut in 1855. His maternal grandmother, Clarissa Hoyt, was descended from the original Hoyts who purchased Noroton Hill more than 300 years before.

Schuyler prepared for college at private schools in that city and graduated from Yale College in 1873 and from Columbia Law School in 1876.


In 1877, after graduation from Columbia Law, he joined Yale & Towne Manufacturing Company in the manufacture of locks and keys as an office assistant. He eventually rose to be secretary in 1878, general manager in 1890 and treasurer in 1898.[2] He was also involved banking from 1877 until 1917.

Political career

In 1904, Merritt was member of the Connecticut constitutional convention that rewrote Connecticut's Constitution. From 1910 until 1916, he was a member of the Connecticut State Board of Education, and later, a delegate to the 1916 Republican National Convention.

He was elected as a Republican to the Sixty-fifth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Ebenezer J. Hill. Merritt was reelected to the Sixty-sixth and to the five succeeding Congresses and served from November 6, 1917, to March 3, 1931.[1] He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1930, but was again elected to the Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth Congresses, serving from March 4, 1933 until January 3, 1937.[1] During his time in the House, he served alongside Rep. Matthew Merritt, of New York, who shared a last name, causing some papers to misreport their votes on certain bills.[3] In 1936, Merritt again ran for reelection to the Seventy-fifth Congress, but was not elected, losing to Alfred N. Phillips.

While in Congress, he served on the Interstate Commerce Committee[4] and was known for his opposition to the Eighteenth Amendment, prohibiting liquors,[5] and his opposition to the New Deal program for stock market controls.[6][2]

Later career

After leaving Congress, he returned to the Yale & Towne Manufacturing Company, where he was chairman of the board from 1924 until 1932, and retired as a director in 1947.[7][8] He was an officer of the First Stamford National Bank, since 1902, served as board chairman.[2] He was also a vice president of the Stamford Gas and Electric Company.[2]

Merritt was recognized in 1951 and 1952 as the oldest living Yale graduate and the sole survivor of the class of 1873. In 1935, Yale conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws on him.[9][10]

Personal life

On October 21, 1879, Merritt married Frances Hannah Hoyt (1850–1943), the daughter of Stamford multimillionaire Joseph Blachley Hoyt (1812–1889)[11] and Catherine Krom (1816–1862), and the niece of Oliver Hoyt (1823–1887), a Connecticut State Senator.[12] Together, they were the parents of:

Merritt was a mentor to his niece, Joyce Porter Arneill, who would go on to found the National Federation of Republican Women in 1938 and become an RNC delegate for the 1940 presidential election. Arneill was credited with getting many American women involved in politics in the 1930s and 1940s [16]

Merritt died in Stamford on April 1, 1953 at the age of 99.[2] He was buried in Woodland Cemetery.[1][17][18]


The Merritt Parkway, finished in September 2, 1940, in southern Connecticut was named in his honor and his daughter Louise cut the ribbon.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d "MERRITT, Schuyler - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Times, Special To The New York (2 April 1953). "SCHUYLER MERRITT DEAD IN STAMFORD | Banker, 99, Oldest Graduate of Yale, Parkway Creator Was in Congress Nine Terms". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Two Merritts Mixed in Poll". The New York Times. 27 March 1935. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  4. ^ "THE RAILWAY LEGISLATION". The New York Times. 24 November 1919. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  5. ^ Times, Special To The New York (7 September 1928). "WET SPEECH STIRS NUTMEG REPUBLICANS; | Merritt, Convention Keynoter, Agrees With Smith, but Says Hoover Has Best Solution. | WOULD CURB DRY AGENTS | Representative Calls New York Executive Provincial--Says He Has Trebled State Debt. Would Repeal Dry Law. Attacks Prohibition Agents". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  6. ^ Times, Special To The New York (28 April 1934). "HOUSE CLEARS PATH FOR EXCHANGE BILL; Measure Will Be Called Up on Monday Under Rule for Seven Hours' Debate. OPEN TO ANY AMENDMENT Rayburn's Report Argues for Trade Commission Control -One Minority Objector". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  7. ^ Higgins, Lisetta Neukam (March 1954). "Biography of Schuyler Merritt". The Stamford Historical Society | The Stamford Historian, Volume I, Number 1, March 1954. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  8. ^ "70 YEARS ON THE JOB, INDUSTRIALIST QUITS". The New York Times. 25 September 1947. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  9. ^ Times, Special To The New York (16 December 1951). "SCHUYLER MERRITT IS 98; Oldest Yale Graduate Observes Birthday in Stamford Today". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  10. ^ Times, Special To The New York (16 December 1952). "MERRITT IS 99 TODAY; Banker for Whom Parkway Was Named to Mark Birthday". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  11. ^ Merritt, Schuyler (10 January 1891). "MR. MERRITT'S STATEMENT.; WHAT HE HAS TO SAY ABOUT THE FAYERWEATHER AND HOYT WILLS". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  12. ^ Times, Special To The New York (23 October 1936). "SCHUYLER MERRITTS MARRIED 57 YEARS; Representative and His Wife Mark Anniversary Quietly at Their Home in Stamford". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  13. ^ Times, Special To The New York (18 November 1956). "MRS. WILLIAM DALTON". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  14. ^ Alkalay-Gut, Karen (September 1, 2008). Alone in the Dawn: The Life of Adelaide Crapsey. University of Georgia Press. ISBN 9780820332130. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  15. ^ "Dr. Katharine Krom Merritt, Charity Branch Founder, Dies". The New York Times. 9 August 1986. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  16. ^ "Our First President". Colorado Federation of Republican Women. 10 October 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  17. ^ Times, Special To The New York (5 April 1953). "MERRITT RITES HELD; Former Associates at Service for Connecticut Leader". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  18. ^ Times, Special To The New York (15 April 1953). "Merritt's Will Up for Probate". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  19. ^ Heiss, Laurie; Smyth, Jill (October 21, 2014). The Merritt Parkway: The Road that Shaped a Region. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781625851666. Retrieved 2 May 2017.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ebenezer J. Hill
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 4th congressional district

1917 – 1931
Succeeded by
William L. Tierney
Preceded by
William L. Tierney
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 4th congressional district

1933 – 1937
Succeeded by
Alfred N. Phillips
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