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07/24/2021 01:22 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate

Albert Everton Sisson



Session Position District Party
1901-1902 49 Republican
1903-1904 49 Republican
1905-1906 49 Republican
1907-1908 President Pro Tempore 49 Republican
1921-1922 49 Republican
1923-1924 49 Republican
 Counties   Erie


1851 - 1931

Albert Everton Sisson was born in Dayton, New York, January 12, 1851, the son of Nathaniel and Salina Phillipps Sisson. His father, considered a pioneer New York agriculturist, moved the family to Crawford County before permanently settling in Springfield, Erie County. Albert attended common schools, the Kingsville Academy in Ohio, and Seminary at North East, Pennsylvania. He taught school after graduation, studied law, joined the Erie bar in 1881, and married Lena Spencer of Erie in December 1898. Exhibiting an early interest in Republican politics, he emerged as the party’s Erie County committee chair in 1885 and 1886. The state nominating caucus promoted Albert for district attorney in the latter year, a position he held through 1893. To that extent, Sisson became the first DA in Pennsylvania history to succeed himself. Among other honors, he served a lengthy career as solicitor for the Erie County Commission. Elected to the Senate of Pennsylvania in November 1900, Sisson became the first senator from Erie County to serve three terms. Albert chaired Game and Fisheries (1901-1904), Education (1905-1906), Railroads (1907-1908), and Centennial Affairs (1901). He served regularly on Appropriations, Corporations, Education, Judiciary General, Municipal Affairs, New Counties and New County Seats, Public Printing, and Public Supply of Heat, Light, and Water.  The senator played a key role during a session that the Erie Dispatch called the “most outstanding chapter in Pennsylvania’s political history” and the “turning point of Quay’s” regime, protecting the foundation of the Republican Party during the 1906 Capitol fraud scandal” as the member of the Capitol Investigation Commission who “brought out the details” of the affair. Sisson supported a 1909 measure establishing life in prison or death by hanging for first degree murder, backed a Senate bill during the same session prohibiting “fast and furious driving (died in committee),” promoted a state highway from Philadelphia through Harrisburg to the Ohio border, and led the joint caucus in re-electing Boies Penrose to the U.S. Senate. He later selected George T. Oliver to replace U.S. Senator Philander Knox. Senator Sisson favored antitrust legislation, especially laws restricting predatory networking, and railroad, coal, and steel company cross ownership. He backed the 1907 McCord Primary Election Bill, the State Highway Act, the formation of the State Department of Commerce, and the (1909) Legislative Reference Bureau.  During the 1906 Woods special session, Albert supported passage of Philadelphia civil service reform, the Scott Bill (rescinding Bullitt bill provisions), and abolition of the fee system. Under pro tem Sproul, the senator aided the passage of the Scott Education Bills, the Goehring Libel Bill, and legislation proscribing a private water company’s right to declare eminent domain. He advocated ballot and election reform, backed the eight-hour workday, the 1903 Sproul Highway Department measure, but fought passage of legislation establishing the state Department of Labor. Senator Sisson served as state auditor general, 1910-14, and during the John Kinley Tener administration, emerged as a gubernatorial candidate. Returned to the Senate in 1920, Sisson battled arch enemy Gifford Pinchot over proposed legislative reforms. He retired from public office, returned to Erie, and joined son Alec in a family law practice, forming A.E. Sisson and Son. The Honorable Albert Everton Sisson belonged to numerous fraternal and civic clubs and is credited for securing an appropriation for the construction of Erie’s Perry Monument.  He passed away in Erie, December 10, 1931.