Member Biography

Edward Despard Gazzam 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1857       24 Free Soil
1859       24 Free Soil

COUNTIES: Allegheny  


1803 - 1878

Father of Senator Joseph Gazzam, Dr. Edward D. Gazzam was born on May 7, 1803, in Pittsburgh; died January 19, 1878 in Philadelphia.  He was the son of William and Martha (Hart) Gazzam, his father a prominent Burwell, England journalist, forced to leave England for political reasons.  Named for Edward Despard, a friend of his father’s in England who was executed for treason, for expressing political views critical of Parliament and the King, the Senator was a true “Renaissance man:” a physician, attorney, and abolitionist, and a founding delegate, with future U.S. Chief Justice Salmon Chase of the Free Soil Party at the 1848 Buffalo “Free Soil Convention.”  He was a Free Soil candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, 1848; Free Soil candidate for state Senator, 1855, but defeated; aligned with the Republican Party in 1856 and elected to the state Senate, 1857-59.  Gazzam served as Pittsburgh Postmaster in 1824; studied law under Richard Biddle, joined the Allegheny bar in 1826, and was also conferred a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1831.  He married Elizabeth Antoinette de Beleen de Bertholf, daughter of a French count.  Senator Gazzam died in Philadelphia on January 19, 1878; his remains returned to Pittsburgh, where he lies in Allegheny Cemetery.