Henry Teller, a native of Allegany County, chose to attend Alfred Academy before studying law more extensively. After being admitted to the bar in Binghamton, New York, he voyaged West – to the free, untamed land that represented America’s destiny and his own future.
The young ambitious lawyer settled in a struggling mining camp in Central City, Colorado. His efforts, once combined with the work of several others, helped create the mining law code. His profound impacts on the community, however, were just beginning. When Colorado was admitted to the Union in 1876, Henry was first elected United States short-term senator. A valued member of the Senate, he served from 1876 to 1882, and again from 1885 to 1909. Between his terms of service, he was Secretary of the Interior under President Arthur. His stance on Cuban affairs garnered national recognition. When he retired in 1909, he had represented Colorado for thirty of the thirty-three years it had been a state, and had served longer in the upper house than any other Senate member of the time had. After his retirement, he became a member of the Federal Monetary Commission. In his obituary, Henry was celebrated as “Alfred’s most famous alumnus”.