elbridge t. gerry, sr.
Elbridge Thomas Gerry was born on November 22, 1908. He was the great-great-grandson of Elbridge Gerry, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, governor of Massachusetts and later vice president of the United States under President James Madison. He was the son of Robert L. Gerry and Cornelia Harriman, daughter of E. H. Harriman, founder of the Union Pacific Railroad. A graduate of Harvard, Class of 1931, Gerry joined Brown Brothers Harriman & Company, a private bank, in 1936, becoming a general partner in 1956.
Prior to his association with harness racing, Ebby Gerry, Sr. was an accomplished polo player, eventually achieving a rank of nine goals. He was elected to the Polo Hall of Fame in the late 1980s. Through this accolade, Gerry achieved the distinction of becoming a double hall of famer, having been elected to the Harness Racing Living Hall of Fame in 1975.
With uncle E. Roland Harriman, Ebby Gerry Sr. bred and raised many champions at their Arden Homestead Stable. During World War II their colt, Titan Hanover, won the 1945 Hambletonian Stake. At the time Gerry was a major in the Army Air Corps, serving overseas. Although the rest of his family had been associated with Thoroughbreds, Gerry decided to work with Standardbreds. It took just one amateur drive for him to be hooked on the sport and through the years Arden Homestead Stable, under Harriman and Gerry's leadership, produced such champions as Titan Hanover, Florican, Tassel Hanover, Florlis, Flirth, Matastar and Sharpshooter.
Gerry was an active member of the harness racing industry for close to half a century. He was involved in many of the sport's organizations, holding positions that included treasurer of the U.S. Trotting Association, president and director of the Standardbred Owners Association, vice president and owner of the Orange County Driving Park Association, and director of The Hambletonian Society. He also held the office of vice president and director of the Saratoga Harness Racing Association. Adding to these accomplishments, Gerry served as the first chairman of the New York State Harness Racing Commission, formed after parimutuel betting was legalized in 1940.
Gerry was a founder and trustee since 1949, and past president (1976 through 1992) of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame (formerly known as The Trotting Horse Museum, Home of the Hall of Fame of the Trotter), Goshen, New York.
Elbridge T. Gerry, Sr. passed away on Friday, February 26, 1999 in Delhi, New York.
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 1999 book, The 1999 Immortals