Category Archives: Know Your Mayors

100 years ago today, somebody tried to murder the mayor

John Purroy Mitchel in front of City Hall, one month after the assassination attempt (May 11, 1914, courtesy Library of Congress)

It was an pleasant early afternoon one hundred years ago today when Mayor John Purroy Mitchel boarded an automobile on Park Row carrying other members of his staff, including police commissioner Arthur H. Woods, tax commissioner George V. Mullan and corporation counsel Frank Polk.

Suddenly, a man later identified as Michael P. Mahoney approached the vehicle, pulled out a revolver aimed at the mayor and pulled the trigger.

Mahoney, described as “a wretched, despairing, mentally weak old man” and a bit of a “semi-lunatic,” was an unemployed blacksmith who blamed the mayor for a host of personal grievances. After drifting from city to city, he arrived hopeless in New York, living in a boarding house on East 50th Street.   Later found in his room was a disturbing collection of rantings against a host of prominent citizens and organizations, most notably Andrew Carnegie.

But on this particular day, he meant to off the mayor.  Within his pocket were angry letters to the mayor, although I’m not sure when he intended to present these.

From the New York Times, April 18, 1914

I’ll let the original New York Times incident report narrate the rest:

Suddenly … Woods saw, just over his shoulder, a shabbily dressed man, with scraggy gray beard, lurch up to the street side of the car, draw a revolver from his coat pocket and level it at the Mayor in the rear seat.  In a moment, he had leaped upon the assailant, striking his shoulders with both arms and bearing him to the street. But he was not in time.”

Mahoney’s bullet ended up whizzing by Woods and the mayor, hitting Polk through the chin, shattering the jawbone and instantly dislodging two teeth which flew from his mouth.

“He got me! He shot me in the mouth,” Polk managed to scream.

Below: Frank L. Polk, obviously before the incident (LOC)

The mayor’s cheuffeur leapt to Woods’ aid, wrestling the gun from Mahoney’s hand.

The mayor, meanwhile, was well equipped to defend himself;  in his pocket he carried his own revolver.  After all, the last mayor, William Jay Gaynor, had also been shot by a disgruntled constituent.  “The experience of the last administration teaches us that there are always a few crazy people in every community and no one can foretell what they will do,” Mitchel said.  Luckily, he did not need to use his weapon.

Hundreds soon gathered around the car.  While word inaccurately circulated that the mayor had been assassinated, others leaped upon the would-be murderer, a bizarre heap of bodies upon the sidewalk.  Mitchel, Polk and the rest were then rushed to the basement of City Hall to assess the chaotic and bizarre situation.

Under interrogation later that morning, Mahoney explained why he missed the mayor.  “The trouble is that I didn’t wear my glasses. I’m near-sighted.”

Mitchel’s chauffeur found Polk’s dislodged teeth and later returned them to Polk. He later joked that he would have the teeth mounted in gold.

The front page from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Although Polk would wear a slight facial scar for the rest of his life. it clearly didn’t hinder his career in any way.  He was later Under Secretary of State of President Woodrow Wilson and started a prominent law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell which is still very much in business today.

We talk about this frightening event in our podcast on the Boy Mayor of New York. This blog post has more pictures of Mayor Mitchel, and you can find the podcast here and on iTunes.

The mayoral inauguration 100 years ago was quite a headache — “the Most Cheerless Day Ever Known at City Hall”

On Wednesday, January 1, 2014, Bill de Blasio will be inaugurated at City Hall to become the 109th Mayor of New York City, sworn in by President Bill Clinton.  Mayoral inaugurations are never very exciting, but they’re often reflected upon later as setting the tone for an administration, a clue to a possible style of governance.

A fine, athletic example that Mayor-elect de Blasio might consider would be that of William J. Gaynor, who celebrated his inauguration on January 1, 1910, by walking from his home that day in Park Slope, over the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall.  Brooklyn had been a part of Greater New York for only a decade by that point, and Gaynor one of its most esteemed residents.  Nobody doubted Gaynor’s pride that day in his home borough.  (De Blasio is also from Park Slope; his home is about ten minutes away from Gaynor’s residence on Eighth Avenue.)

Below: Mayor-elect Gaynor as he strolled across the bridge to City Hall

Four years later — after Gaynor died in office, from the internal injuries of an assassin’s bullet — New Yorkers elected the reformer John Purroy Mitchel.  He also made a bold statement during his inauguration on January 1, 1914, although one that cast a lingering pall over his subsequent accomplishments.

At right: Mayor-elect Mitchel with interim mayor Adolph Loges Kline, on inauguration day, 1914

Unfortunately for the young mayor-elect, he suffered from intensely painful headaches, and that morning, as he arrived at 9 a.m., Mitchel could barely withstand the pressure.

After greeting a few well-wishers and a brief meeting with reporters, he was sworn in during a private ceremony, made a five minute speech, then escaped into his private office, even as thousands lingered in the hallways and around City Hall for hopes of something — anything in the way of celebration — to occur.

Mitchel was noticeably aggravated and avoided any major announcements (such as the hotly contested job of Police Commissioner).

Early on, the police even dismissed the official receiving line of well-dressed politicians, the phalanx leaving with their hands unshaken.  This was a slight that many would never forget.  “[T]he reception room and corridor outside his office carried all the surging, bustling human exhilaration of Grant’s Tomb,” said the Evening World, who characterized the ceremony as “the most cheerless day ever known in City Hall.”

Many would consider this a hallmark of Mitchel’s style — distant and removed, hardly politic — a demeanor which would eventually label him as an elitist.

From the January 2, 1914, Evening World

For more on Gaynor, Mitchel and the tumultuous politics of 1914, check out our podcast on The Boy Mayor Of New York (Episode #156).

New York’s first mayoral election in 1834: Riots, chaos and the election of New York’s ‘crying congressman’


New York in 1834, looking up Broadway from Bowling Green (NYPL)

New Yorkers will go to the polls today to elect another mayor of New York City.  This ritual has occurred over seventy times (give or take) since the charter of New York was changed to allow for direct election of its mayors in 1834.

Today we will certainly hear about voting-machine errors, possible coercion and perhaps even a couple cries of vote tampering.  But the modern election process is relatively incorruptible, even tranquil, compared to the riots and ballot stuffing and outright vote forging of yore.  Nobody openly destroys ballots in the street anymore, and that’s a good thing. (Maybe it’s done more quietly today.)

Few elections in New York City were as chaotic as that very first mayoral election in 1834.

Previously, the mayor had been appointed by vote of the Common Council, an elected body equivalent today’s City Council.  They often chose prominent businessmen who were easily bought.  So, in 1834, New Yorkers were thrilled with the real possibility of a city leader not beholden to the whims of its Council, a membership whose intentions were often deployed straight from the meetings of political machines and did not reflect the will of the people.

Unfortunately, direct election for the office failed to correct this sort of favoritism.  For instance, as I mentioned in the most recent installment of my Know Your Mayors series, tobacconist Andrew H. Mickle was elected mayor because his mother-in-law charmed many members of Common Council with a gift of $5,000 to Democratic machine Tammany Hall.

The man who would become New York’s first democratically elected mayor, Cornelius Van Wyck Lawrence (at right), was no less a convenient tool of political purchase.

Lawrence, a wealthy New York merchant, was a Democratic state congressman known for believing one thing, and voting another, especially if it benefited himself financially.  He was known to cry at the podium as he voted with his party.

From a biography on Martin Van Buren: “[Lawrence], the crying congressman, the weeping stock-jobber could have resigned had he disliked the party drill — but it brought him plunder, and he blubbered and held on, and afterwards he lent his name as a candidate for the mayoralty to uphold the gamblers he voted with in public…”

A proud New York tradition debuted with that first election — rioting.  The first electoral process lasted three days, as Democrats and Whigs attacked each other on the street in front of polling places.  On April 8, 1834, men fought with knives and clubs, destroying ballots and virtually shutting down the entire process.  One man was killed, twenty others wounded.

Above: A Whig parade from 1844 (NYPL)

The Whigs were almost war-like in their determination to wrest power from Democrats, actually decorating a frigate with Whig banners, calling it the Constitution, and dragging it up Broadway in a violent and vitriolic parade.  Democrats were no better; the following day, acolytes headed down to Wall Street to destroy a pro-Whig newspaper office, its publisher armed and ready to shoot.

By April 10, the final day of voting, thousands filled the streets, ransacking gun shops and arsenals, preparing for all-out chaos.  “With Armageddon in the office, the mayor called out all troops — twelve hundred infantry and calvarymen — and order was restored,” according to Edwin G Burrows and Mike Wallace.  But even that resolution was one-sided;  most of the infantry was faithful to President Andrew Jackson — and by extension, Lawrence, the Democratic candidate.

With thousands gathered outside City Hall, the election results were announced — Lawrence had defeated the Whig candidate Guilian Verplanck by a mere 180 votes!

New Yorkers had at last exercised their direct right to vote for mayor.  And in the end — after days of riots and tumult, an election process singular in its chaos — New Yorkers voted in “the crying congressman.”

The Boy Mayor of New York: John Purroy Mitchel and a series of unfortunate events shake up a New York election


John Purroy Mitchel, the ‘boy mayor’, after his resounding victory. (LOC)

PODCAST As New York City enters the final stages of this year’s mayoral election, let’s look back on a decidedly more unusual contest 100 years ago, pitting Tammany Hall and their estranged ally (Mayor William Jay Gaynor) up against a baby-faced newcomer, the (second) youngest man to ever become the mayor of New York City.

John Purroy Mitchel, the Bronx-born grandson of an Irish revolutionary, was a rising star in New York City, aggressively sweeping away incompetence and snipping away at government excess.  Under his watch, two of New York’s borough presidents were fired, just for being ineffectual!  Mitchel made an ideal candidate for mayor in an era where Tammany Hall cronyism still dominated the nature of New York City.

Nobody could predict the strange events which befell the city during the election of 1913, unfortunate and even bizarre incidents which catapulted this young man to City Hall and gave him the nickname the Boy Mayor of New York.

But things did not turn out as planned.  He won his election with the greatest victory margin in New York City history.  He left office four years later with an equally large margin of defeat.  Tune in to our tale of this oft-ignored figure in New York City history, an example of good intentions gone wrong and — due to his tragic end — the only mayor honored with a memorial in Central Park.

 PLUS: The totally bizarre death in 1913 of Tammany Hall’s most popular leader

To get this week’s episode, simply download it for FREE from iTunes or other podcasting services, subscribe to our RSS feed or get it straight from our satellite site.

You can also listen to the show on Stitcher streaming radio and Player FM from your mobile devices.

Or listen to it straight from here:
The Bowery Boys #156 The Boy Mayor Of New York

Mayor William Jay Gaynor on his inauguration day in 1909, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall, from his home in Park Slope.

William Jay Gaynor at the very moment he was shot in 1910, on an ocean vessel docked in Hoboken.  This picture was taken by a New York World photographer, one of the most famous works of early journalism photography.

Gaynor (at left) attempted to stage a political comeback (after being by Tammany Hall) at the notification of his independent candidacy at City Hall in September 1913.  The shovel in front of him was his campaign emblem.  Within a few days, he would be dead of the assassin’s bullet he received three years earlier.

The death of Big Tim Sullivan also caused ripples in the mayoral election of 1913. The picture below is of the Bowery, overflowing with mourners. While Sullivan was out of politics (and in an asylum) by 1913, his sudden and unusual passing had an effect on Tammany Hall supporters, throwing another strange event into an already tumultuous year.

Mayor Mitchel with President Woodrow Wilson in May 1914, at a memorial service for American marines and seamen killed in Veracruz during the Mexican Revolution.

Mitchel at his desk at City Hall, presumably cracking down on some kind of over-expenditure or waste. Or possibly silently suffering from migraine headaches which plagued him during his entire term as mayor.

John with his wife Jane.

Gerstner Field in Louisiana, where Mitchel had his tragic airplane accident on July 6, 1918.

Another New York funeral: The body of John Purroy Mitchel is carried in a procession from City Hall, through the Washington Arch, and up to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Theodore Roosevelt, one of the pallbearers at Mitchel’s funeral, leaves St. Patrick’s in this short film by Edison.

The John Purroy Mitchel memorial, near the reservoir in Central Park. (Courtesy Flickr/stormdog42)

By the way, the recording that was featured in this episode is called ‘New York, What’s the Matter With You?, recorded by vaudeville star Nat M. Wills in 1913.  The song references Mayor Gaynor and his planned curfew of restaurants and bars that is mentioned in the podcast.  It references several dances of the day, including the grizzly bear.

 Most pictures above are public domain, courtesy of the Library of Congress

One hundred years ago today, the mayor of New York died

Mayor William Jay Gaynor’s final appearance at City Hall was at a notification rally, declaring his independent candidacy.  He brandishes a shovel as a symbol of a new era of subway construction (the eventual fruits of the so-called ‘dual contracts’ which had finally be agreed to earlier that year.)

Today’s mayoral primary falls on a very grim anniversary in New York City political history.  One hundred years ago today, Mayor William Jay Gaynor collapsed and died while on a voyage to Europe, succumbing to an assassin’s bullet which had been lodged in his throat for over three years.

Gaynor was not in New York when he was shot, and he was not in New York when he finally succumbed to its effects years later.  On August 9, 1910, he boarded a German ocean liner in Hoboken, New Jersey, for a planned trip to Europe. A disgruntled dock worker James J. Gallagher approached and shot him through the neck.  The moment was gruesomely captured by a New York World photographer.

Although the injury derailed Gaynor’s presidential ambitions, it did not prevent him from leaving office.  The bullet remained stuck in his neck, slowly weakening his health and eventually deterioriating his ability to speak.

But he remained a feisty opponent of city corruption. So much so that corruption-fueled Democratic machine Tammany Hall refused to support his re-election bid in 1913, throwing their support to judge Edward E. McCall, a more pliant candidate to their whims.  McCall would run against Fusion candidate John Purroy Mitchel, the firebrand reformer and president of New York’s Board of Aldermen (city council).

Gaynor would not be sidelined.  On September 3, he announced an independent run for the mayor from the steps of City Hall.  To a crowd of 5,000 supporters, Gaynor’s secretary had to read his speech for him as he was unable to raise his voice due to his injuries.  At the very end, however, as his secretary declared the mayor’s intention to eradicate graft, Gaynor leaped to his feet and cried, “Yes, that is what we are going to do — shovel all those miserable grafters into the common dump!”

Gaynor at his candidacy announcement, buffered by supporters

The following day, he boarded another ocean liner with his son, intending to convalesce for two or three weeks.  It was unannounced voyage — Gaynor naturally wanted to keep his deteriorating condition quiet —  although the newspapers found out and splashed it upon their front pages.  “It was a feeble figure that went slowly up the gangplank leaning heavily on the arm of his son Rufus,” said the Evening World.

He was intending to return on September 21.  However, six days into his voyage, on September 10, the mayor finally succumbed to his wounds, aggravated by other afflictions in his stomach and lungs.

His body was returned to New York on the RMS Lusitania nine days later.  The following day, his body lay in state at City Hall as thousands of mourners paid their last respects.

Gaynor would be the second New York mayor to die in office — William Havemeyer died of a heart attack while in office in 1874 — and the fifth to die in office if you count those from before the Revolutionary War.

Gaynor’s passing turned the coming election into a free-for-all, with the remaining candidates scrambling to appeal to the former mayor’s moderate voting base.  In the end, Mitchel was elected that November, becoming the city’s second youngest mayor in history.

A memorial for Gaynor was placed in Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn in 1926, inscribed with the anti-corruption slogan “Ours is a government of laws not men.”  Gaynor lived in Park Slope at 20 Eighth Avenue.

Below are some images from his funeral at City Hall, September 20, 1913

All images courtesy the Library of Congress

Mourners at City Hall (LOC)

Former president William Howard Taft at Gaynor’s funeral (LOC)

Meet Andrew H. Mickle, perhaps the least qualified man to ever serve as the mayor of New York City


New York City Hall and its brand new water fountain, in 1846, courtesy Currier and Ives (LOC)

KNOW YOUR MAYORS A modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in the Bowery Boys mayoral survey can be found here.

Mayor Andrew H. Mickle
In office: 1846-1847

New York City has had many useless and incompetent mayors.  To be fair, that legion of forgettable and unspectacular men is bloated by the ways in which mayors were chosen in the early days.

Before 1783, mayors were assigned to the city by the governor of the New York colony.  The hand-picked mayor presided over a board of aldermen that were elected by the people.  He operated at the behest of the British crown, often overseeing a group very much opposed to British rule.

This curious arrangement carried on even after the Revolutionary War, with New York governors continuing to assign mayors to the city until 1821, when the Common Council (today’s City Council) received the authority to appoint mayors themselves.

The role of mayor was not powerful at this time.  Before 1821, they were essentially a mouthpiece for the will of the state government. After 1821, mayors were beholden to the Common Council for their very existence. The job frequently went to well-liked merchants with unsullied reputations, uncontroversial men who rarely rocked the boat.

When the New York state charter was amended in 1834, mayors became popularly elected.  (The first was Cornelius Lawrence, in a violent, chaotic election.)  But this did not necessarily alter the quality of office holders.  Mayors now became the puppets of both powerful council members and thriving political machines like Tammany Hall.  Corruption ensured that the position of mayor be considered a valuable but neutered prize.

Further minimizing their role in 1834 was the reduction of the mayoral term to one year (until 1849, when they were given two).  Even the most savvy and adroit politician would wither in frustration under these limitations.  Men questing for substantive political power sought other prizes. The office of mayor became, in essence, a beauty pageant.

And thus enters into the picture one Andrew H. Mickle, tobacconist and mayor of New York City from 1846 to 1847.

Andrew was born in 1805 to a Scottish couple in New York’s Sixth Ward, the future Five Points.  Of course, this was in the era when Collect Pond was being drained, and new residences around this area weren’t yet considered notorious slums.  However it seems later biographers gave his back story a bit of that Five Points patina. “He was born in a shanty in the ‘bloody aude Sixth’, in the attic of which a dozen pigs made their habitation,” claimed Gustavus Myers.

As a young man, he began working for the tobacconist George B. Miller at Water and Wall Streets.  He would eventually fall in love with Miller’s daughter, marry her, then take over the business entirely.

Below: Wall Street in 1846. Mickle’s tobacco shop would have been located in the distance, near the tree. (NYPL)

A 40-year-old tobacco seller might not fit the profile of mayoral candidate today, but it did in 1845.  The mayor of New York at the time was sugar manufacturer William Havemeyer, who had actually tried doing something in office (namely, reforming the Common Council), to the consternation of Tammany.

With a surge of immigration adding new voters, Democratic leaders looked for a relatable candidate, somebody who was “one of the people,” but one with little political motivation.  These were the years of the Native American party, a drive to flush America of the thousands of Irish immigrants who were arriving in New York.  Mickle, though fully unsuited for a life of politics, represented the opposition, the surge of new voters and the core of the Democratic party.

It also helped that Andrew, with his modest upbringing, was known as the son-in-law of a popular tobacco concern, one that many political men visited on a weekly basis.

But if we are to believe the eyewitness of Nathaniel Hubbard, Mickle’s entry into city politics was engineered almost entirely by a different source — his mother-in-law.

Mrs. Russell* was one of the most powerful women in early Tammany Hall history.  She was known, according to Hubbard, for giving her employees the day off at the tobacco counter, “a holiday for electioneering purposes,” the writer claims.

Desiring a bit of power for herself,  Mrs.Russell essentially bribed Tammany Hall.  “She sent a letter to the rulers of Tammany with a pledge to give them $5,000 on condition they would nominate and elect her son-in-law to the office of mayor of this city,” wrote Hubbard.

At right: The first Tammany Hall, at Frankfurt and Nassau Streets, their first official home after moving from Martling’s Long Room

Perhaps it says something about the office of the mayor that Tammany Hall took the bait willingly, placing this non-entity Mickle at the top of the ticket.  Political machines, especially in the early years, felt strongly about holding offices, with few concerns about who went into them.

Hubbard describes Mickle as “an uneducated man,” with abilities of “a very common order.”  But in 1845, perhaps, a man of middling skills could properly govern, if he represented the right things. And so Andrew Mickle was resoundingly elected, receiving more votes than his competitors in the Whig and Native American parties combined.

For somebody accustomed mostly to cigars, Mickle did not embarrass himself in his new task.  Tammany Hall was pleased with their purchase;  Mickle would be considered a “tried and conservative Democrat.” Hubbard would only say that Mickle “passed through his duties … quite satisfactorily to the political party which elected him.” [source]

He exhibited no amount of political acumen, nor was any required of him.  The city prospered of its own accord under Mickle.  Telegraph poles began appearing in this city in 1846, connecting New York with Albany and Washington DC, and New York’s first great department store, owned by A.T Stewart, opened that year, just a block from City Hall.  Richard Hoe‘s innovation of the rotary press that year revolutionized journalism.

Mickle encouraged the construction of a new workhouse and insane asylum, leading eventually to Blackwell’s Island becoming a sort of one-stop for all of New York’s undesirable industries.  After the Great Explosion of 1845, Mickle also saw to developing New York’s fire-fighting infrastructure, although it would remain in the hands of private operators until the 1860s.

He announced his retirement at the end of his term in 1847 and retired once again to the world of tobacco, officially renaming the family business A. H. Mickle & Sons.  He remained well-liked in Tammany circles up until his death in 1863.

As a curious side note to his later life, Mickle took up residence in the area of Bayside (today, the neighborhood of Bayside, Queens), “situated on one of the most commanding elevations in that section of Long Island.”  His spacious manor here was called Bayside Lawn.  Many years after his death, in October 1890, the mansion was destroyed in a fire.

Below: A map of the Mickle estate (MCNY)

Map of 1000 Lots and 30 Villa Plots of the Mickle Estate, at Byaside, Queens County, Long Island.

*I have no clue why she’s Mrs. Russell and not Mrs. Miller, but I’m still researching this fact.

EDIT: An earlier version of this story stated that Mickle was preceded as mayor by Philip Hone. In fact, it was William Havemeyer.

George Opdyke: The mayor during the Civil War Draft Riots and his unsavory connection to New York’s fashion industry

KNOW YOUR MAYORS A modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in the Bowery Boys mayoral survey can be found here.

Mayor George Opdyke
In office: 1862-1863

The wealthy merchant and politician George Opdyke died on June 12, 1880, attended to by his family from their lavish home at Fifth Avenue and East 47th Street, just a few blocks from where the violent Draft Riots had ignited back in 1863.

In the 17 years since those terrible days, New York had grown mightier with vast wealth, in an explosion of prosperity that would inaugurate the Gilded Age.  But while the scars of the Draft Riots had faded from the city streets, they never quite faded from Opdyke, who had been mayor of New York during the violent outbreak.

At right: George Opdyke, in a photo taken by Matthew Brady

Some of the violence that week in July had been directed towards Opdyke, one of the most prominent Republicans in a city of Democrats. His former home at 57 Fifth Avenue had been attacked twice by rioters.  He was considered the face pro-Lincoln, pro-war, and, thus, pro-abolitionist forces in New York

Yet had it not been for the institution of slavery in the South, Opdyke might never have even made his fortune.

George Opdyke was born to a large New Jersey farming family in 1805, working his way from the fields to the classroom, becoming a young school teacher at an early age.  Like so many teenagers in the early 19th century, job opportunities out West spoke to his sense of adventure.  With $500 in their pockets, Opdyke and a friend settled in Cleveland, Ohio, opening a clothing store and tailor for workers of the newly constructed Erie Canal.

Opdyke soon found a more profitable application for his young business — the high mark-up manufacturing of cheap slave clothing.  He moved to New Orleans and began an incredibly profitable plant there, making inexpensively produced clothing for the plantations of the deep South.

In fact, Opdyke became so successful that, in 1832, he moved to New York to open a larger clothing factory on Hudson Street.  According to historian George Lankevich, Opdyke “built the city’s first important clothing factory, selling his goods largely to southern plantations and creating the basis of a new industry.”  It was the first large-scale, ready-to-wear clothing establishment in New York, soon employing thousands; so, yes, this is how the New York fashion industry begins.

Below: Brooks Clothing Store in 1845, a rival of Opdyke’s clothing business. Opdyke would have some rather controversial connections for Brooks Brothers during the Civil War. (NYPL)

And a successful political career begins as well.  By 1846, Opdyke, now a millionaire and a well-connected member of mid-19th century New York society, entered a life of politics.

Interestingly, he was originally associated with the Free Soil Party, an early anti-slavery effort, illustrating how businessmen often separated certain moral beliefs from their business practices. (Early on, he would become one of Abraham Lincoln’s most ardent supporters.) The Free Soilers were soon be incorporated into the burgeoning Republican Party, and Opdyke’s first appearance in New York state assembly, in 1859, was as a Republican.

That same year, Opdyke became the Republican’s best chance at winning the mayor’s seat in New York. However, he vied for the job with two other seasoned politicians — unscrutable Democrat Fernando Wood and former mayor and sugar king William Havemeyer.  Thanks to machine politics and the uncertainty of war with the South, Wood prevailed that fall, becoming mayor of New York at the start of the Civil War. (I have an entire podcast on Wood’s roller-coaster career in politics.)

But tides would change in Opdyke’s favor.  Pro-Union sentiment surged through the nation and in New York City by the start of the war.  And by the time of the next mayoral election in 1861, situations were ideal for a Republican to take charge.

It helped that Democrats were divided — Tammany Hall went with C. Godfrey Gunther, while Wood formed his own alternative political machine Mozart Hall.  But it was Opdyke that prevailed, although barely.  He beat Gunther by a whopping 613 votes. (But he did beat Wood in Wood’s own ward.  That must have felt good.)

Part of Opdyke’s appeal at that moment was his deep connections to the Lincoln administration. When the flags were waving in New York, Opdyke was an ideal representative, encouraging support for the war, hosting troops in the city, raising money for the effort.  But when enthusiasm for the war withered, so did Opdyke’s reputation.

Below: The draft riots, which paralyzed New York in July 1863

Opdyke’s unwavering support for the draft backfired severely in the summer of 1863. When New Yorkers took the street on July 13, 1863, burning the draft offices and taking out their anger on black citizens and prominent Republicans, Opdyke topped the list of most despised New Yorkers.  He had very little power to quell the violence; the police department was placed under state control, and state militia had been called away.

While his home was nearly destroyed, it was his political reputation that took the greatest hit. At first, he had vetoed a plan by the Common Council to pay for substitutes for any drafted New Yorkers. But a month later, working with Tammany Hall, he essentially endorsed a similar bill to avoid more violence.

This saved New York, but it did not save him.  On election day, that December in 1863, he was replaced with the Democrat Gunther, whom he had narrowly beat just two yeas before.

His woes weren’t quite over. A political feud with newspaper editor Thurlow Weed revealed some unpleasant information about Opdyke in the press. “[H]e had made more money out of the war by secret partnerships and contracts for army clothing, than any fifty sharpers in New York,” claimed the irate newspaper editor.

At right: Opdyke in later life (NYPL)

Opdyke had profited handsomely from the war through his own clothing plant and in deals with rival clothing manufacturer Brooks Brothers.  Opdyke took Weed to court for libel in December 1864, but the jury essentially exonerated Weed, delivering an indecisive verdict “as to whether Weed should pay nominal damages of six cents, or be acquitted.” [source]

In later life, Opdyke took up banking with his sons, representing the concerns of various railroad companies. He “retired a few months before his death with a large fortune.” [source]

After his death, the Opdykes would sell their house to railroad tycoon Jay Gould.

Where are New York’s mayors buried? An (almost) complete list

Koch’s tombstone, bearing the inscription: “‘My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.’ (Daniel Pearl, 2002, just before he was beheaded by a Muslim terrorist.)”

Ed Koch likes to get a jump on things. The former mayor, who served as mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989, went ahead a couple years ago and got himself a plot and a gravestone all arranged at the uptown Trinity Church Cemetery. You can actually visit his grave there and pay your pre-final respects.

He recently recounted his decision for the Huffington Post [What’s On My Tombstone, and Why], and it got me wondering if any other mayors were already buried at Trinity. (There’s two.) That soon developed into an investigation into how many former New York mayors are still buried in Manhattan. (Answer: seven so far.) Which then led to the following admittedly macabre project before you:

Here is a near-complete list of final resting places of (almost) all the mayors of New York City, from 1783 to present, a catalog of the various cemeteries and burial grounds where these former leaders of the city have been entombed, buried or otherwise interred.

Okay, I recognize I’ve gotten a little morbid on the blog recently (what with this and this, for instance), but this survey shouldn’t bum you out. The results of this little scavenger hunt actually say much about the priorities of New Yorkers past, the co-mingling of high society and politics and the rise and fall of egotism and pomp in the celebration of famous figures.

Most all these burial places are within a reasonable traveling distance of the city. Even the men who became mayors in the city’s early days were often tied to the region by familial connections. The one who went the most far afield (Edward Livingston, who made his reputation in Louisiana) came back to his family estate in Rhinebeck at the end of his life.

Only a handful (like Livingston and Dewitt Clinton) ever held a political position more powerful than mayor. Even when they were mayors, many weren’t very powerful at all, mere figureheads of strong political machines. Their business connections made some quite rich and internationally successful. But in the end, most came back to New York or the surrounding region.

I should preface by saying that I did not include any British appointed mayors from before the Revolutionary War. New York really became a new city on Evacuation Day 1783 when the British left the harbor, and the city’s leaders faced fresh challenges as an American port. It truly was a city anew when the first post-British mayor (James Duane) took office.

And practically speaking, it’s difficult to trace the final destinations of mayoral appointees from that far back anyway. Many left the colonies after their tenure. For instance, the British appointed mayor David Matthews, presiding over the city during the entire war (1776-1783), is buried somewhere in Canada, probably Nova Scotia.

There are four mayors I was not able to locate. I list those at the bottom of this post. Some of this data comes from single sources and thus, as with any crush of information like this one, if you see any errors, please email me or send me a comment. I will continue to update this as I discover more information.


Above: A mighty obelisk to Fernando Wood, a man who once said, “The Almighty has fixed the distinction of the races; the Almighty has made the black man inferior, and sir, by no legislation, by no partisan success, by no revolution, by no military power, can you wipe out this distinction.”

MANHATTAN
Dear ole Ed Koch will have some unique companions at
the Trinity Church Cemetery at West 153rd Street, sharing the location with two of New York’s most notorious office holders of all time. Fernando Wood (mayor from 1858-1858 and 1860-62), who famously recommended that the city secede with the South, is interred here, as is ‘Boss’ Tweed’s most elegant right-hand man, Abraham Oakey Hall (1869-1872). Nice company, Ed!

Downtown Manhattan cemeteries keep a few mayors around as well. In the East Village, at the New York Marble Cemetery, the “oldest public non-sectarian cemetery” in the city, you’ll find the remains of Whig representative Aaron Clark (1837-39), while the man who succeeded him as mayor, Isaac Varian, (1839-1841), resides down the street at its similarly named cousin, the New York City Marble Cemetery, along with sailmaker-mayor Stephen Allen (1821-24).

Philip Hone, known more for his observant diaries on New York than for his mayoralty (1826-27), gets a treasured spot at St.Marks-On-The-Bowery, entombed close to the vault of fabulous New Amsterdam tyrant-leader Peter Stuyvesant.

Finally, Trinity’s original churchyard at Wall Street and Broadway — the final home to Alexander Hamilton, Albert Gallatin and Robert Fulton, among others — has one New York mayor among its population: the Revolutionary War hero Marinus Willett (1807-1808). The stone marking his vault, the size of a brick, is quite easy to miss.

BROOKLYN
To the surprise of few, the place which hosts the most deceased New York mayors is
Green-Wood Cemetery, which became the burial place of choice for the upper class in the mid-19th century. But when it first opened in 1838, Brooklyn still felt a bit too bucolic for some. Other families shied from its less than sacred credentials. After all, Green-Wood would become a place for a picnic or a nice stroll on a summer’s day; more pious folk preferred the reverence of a church yard.

That is, until the body of former New York governor DeWitt Clinton (and mayor of New York from various periods: 1803-1807, 1808-1810, 1811-1815) was transferred from his resting place upstate to Green-Wood. Now a bonafide celebrity lay here: a child of the Founding Fathers’ generation and the driving force behind the Erie Canal. Society felt comfortable leaving their loved ones next to such a charming man for eternity. (Right: Clinton’s monument.)

A host of lesser mayors soon joined Clinton here. First came Andrew Mickle (1846-1847) and the anti-Irish mayor James Harper (1844-45), founder of a publishing empire.

Back-to-back mayors Ambrose Kingsland (1851-53) and shipping magnate Jacob Aaron Westervelt (1853-55) came along in the 1870s. Charles Godfrey Gunther (1864-65), the inspiration for the shortlived Brooklyn neighborhood Guntherville, is buried close to his more famous contemporary, publisher and reformer Horace Greeley.

The close ties between the Cooper and the Hewitt families remains even after death; you’ll find Peter Cooper’s son Edward Cooper (mayor from 1879-80) next to his brother-in-law and early subway proponent Abram Hewitt, the man who beat Theodore Roosevelt to become mayor from 1887-88. Both men were certainly acquainted with another Green-Wood resident, Seth Low, who was mayor of Brooklyn during Cooper’s tenure and eventually the mayor of the consolidated New York City in 1903-4.

Finally, the mayor who survived an assassin’s bullet to the throat, William Jay Gaynor (1910-13), has an odd marker in Green-Wood, according to the cemetery’s website, “a large open granite circle, on the ground. It is a variation on the Victorian symbol for eternity‚Äďa globe or circle that has no beginning and no end.”

Brooklyn is the borough with the most deceased New York mayors. And I’m not even counting Brooklyn’s own mayors, from before the 1898 consolidation*! You can find two more in Flatbush at the Catholic Holy Cross Cemetery. I imagine they’re very honored to have New York’s very first Irish Catholic mayor, the business savvy William Russell Grace (1880-82 and 1885-86), as well as the Col. Ardolph Loges Kline, the man who served briefly (a little more than three months in 1914) after Gaynor succumbed from his long-festering bullet wound.

*Brooklyn’s first mayor, George Hall, is buried at Green-Wood, as are several others.


BRONX
Woodlawn Cemetery was developed over 30 years after Green-Wood, but a great many wealthy and well-connected New Yorkers preferred its serene and pastoral setting. It’s the final home for businessmen (Rowland H. Macy), moguls (Jay Gould), authors (Herman Melville) and musicians (Miles Davis). And more than a few mayors.

The man sometimes considered the greatest mayor of all, Fiorello LaGuardia (1934-45), is buried here with a modest tombstone hidden under a bush. It makes a striking statement compared to the elaborate and monolithic vaults scattered around it.

Woodlawn also has the unique distinction of containing the burial of Robert Van Wyck (1898-1901), the first mayor of the five-borough New York area. And the last two mayors of pre-consolidated New York (when it was just Manhattan and a few areas of the Bronx) are also around here: the “striking looking” pro-Tammany Thomas Gilroy (1893-94) and stern, anti-Tammany William Strong (1895-97), best known for hiring Theodore Roosevelt as police commissioner.

There are 19th century industrialists galore at Woodlawn, so it’s no surprise to discover Williamsburgh sugar king and three-time New York mayor William Havemeyer (1845-46, 1848-9) here, as is the man who served between Havemeyer’s two terms, William Brady (1847-48).


Finally, no visit to this quiet outlet in the Bronx is complete without searching out the ‘boy mayor’ John Purroy Mitchel (1914-17), an enigmatic figure in New York political history, who became mayor at age 35 and tragically fell out of a plane during military training before his 39th birthday. He’s also honored with an unusual gold bust in Central Park near the reservoir. (At left: Mitchel as mayor)

Mitchel’s stone has the curious inscription: “May His angels lead thee into paradise, which is thy home, for in Israel there is corruption.”

Further south from Woodlawn you’ll find Robert Morris** (1841-1844), a member of the famous Morris clan (as in Gouverneur Morris), buried in the family plot at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Mott Haven, the oldest church in the Bronx.

**This is something I need to confirm. Morris’ wife Ann Eliza Morris is buried at Green-Wood. There is a Robert Morris buried nearby, but the date of death does not match the former mayor’s.

QUEENS
Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Queens, is closely tied to the parishioners of Old St. Patrick’s in Manhattan, who purchased a bit of farmland out in Queens County in 1846 to bury members of its large Irish congregation. In the last century, it was made famous for its afterworld connections to organized crime, both real (many famous mafioso are interred here) and imagined (it’s in The Godfather).

Two very different mayors are interred here, both born in Manhattan and both closely aligned with Tammany Hall: New York’s youngest mayor ever, Hugh J. Grant (1889-92), and Robert Wagner Jr. (1954-65).

Go a little ways east to Middle Village and to another Catholic grave site, St. John’s Cemetery, where you’ll find John F. Hylan (1918-25), a man of the railroad world who was pivotal in the creation of the IND, the first rapid transit line wholly owned and operated by the city.

Three other early 19th century mayors from well connected families are found in surrounding neighborhoods. At the small, colonial Grace Church Cemetery in Jamaica, meet up with good ole Cadwallader D. Colden (1818-21) next to a signer of the Constitution (Rufus King). Walter Bowne (1829-33), with deep family connections to the area, is buried at Flushing Cemetery, east of the home of his Quaker ancestor John Bowne.

But the most mysterious site is in Bayside. Here, at a small, sparsely wooded grave site, you can find a cluster of tombstones, many with the same name. The Lawrence Cemetery is on land owned by the family since the Dutch era. A small, bare obelisk marks the place where Cornelius Lawrence (1834-37) lays. He’s the first man every popularly elected mayor; before Lawrence, the job was appointed or voted on only by the Common (City) Council.

LONG ISLAND
Beyond the borders of the city and along the north shore of Long Island, you can locate a few other resting places of past city leaders. From west to east we have:

Daniel F. Tiemann (1858-60), “the paint king of New York and a member of the Peter Cooper clan by way of marrying Peter’s niece, is not buried in Green-Wood with the rest of Cooper/Hewitt dynasty. Instead you can find him in the old village of Hempstead, at Greenfield Cemetery. However I’ve not yet figured out why he would be interred all the way out here. (Tiemann at right)

John Lindsay, the ‘fun’ dashing, ambitious and often controversial mayor from 1966-1972, rests along a winding road near Cold Spring Harbor, in a small rustic cemetery near St. John’s Church.

William H. Wickham (1875-76), an anti-Tweed Democrat and an early president of the formative New York Fire Department, was born in Smithtown and was returned for burial there in the town’s small and very lovely cemetery.

Caleb Smith Woodhull (1949-51), who ineffectively looked on during the Astor Place Riots, was a landowner in Miller Place on the north shore and is buried nearby at Ceder Hill Cemetery overlooking the fantastic Port Jefferson. Fun fact: a member of the local historical society dressed as Mr. Woodhull during the burial ground’s 150th anniversary last year. [There’s even a picture!]

UPSTATE
A large number of former statesmen are scattered throughout the state, with a large concentration in the Hudson River Valley, close to the modern borders of the city.

For afficianados of Prohibition era politics, look no further than the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Westchester Country, which opened in 1917 and quickly attracted some big name interments. One of the first was that of actress Anna Held, former companion of Florenz Ziegfeld. Other iconic New Yorkers like Babe Ruth, James Cagney and Conde Nast are also here.

Jimmy Walker (1926-1932), the posh ‘Beau James’ and symbol of New York’s roaring ’20s, died in 1946 several years after resigning from politics due to corruption charges. He’s buried at Gate of Heaven under a tombstone he might have considered far too modest. Coincidentally, the two men who briefly filled the mayors seat after him, Joseph McKee (1932) and John O’Brien (1933), also followed him here.

Sleepy Hollow contains one of the oldest cemeteries in the country, the rustic Old Dutch Burying Ground, and within it, one mayor of New York, the brigadier general William Paulding Jr. (two terms 1825-26, 1827-29), who fought in the War of 1812. A short drive north is the lovely riverside town of Ossining and its 160-year old Dale Cemetery, the final home for former mayor and governor John Hoffman (1866-68), whose close associations with the Tweed Ring corroded his political career.

Due north, in Rhinebeck, you’ll find the family vaults of the Livingston family, including that of Edward Livingston (1801-03), who reinvented himself after his tenure, becoming the U.S. Secretary of State under Andrew Jackson.

Other old mayors buried throughout the state include leather-maker Gideon Lee (1833-34) in Geneva, NY; Tammany pawn John Ferguson (1815) in Sullivan, NY; and father of the Bronx park system Franklin Edson (1883-84) in Menands, NY, near Albany.

Finally, New York’s first post-British mayor, James Duane (1784-89), the namesake of Duane Street, also gave his name to an entire town, Duanesburg, near Schenectady. Duane had hoped the town would become New York’s capital city, before Albany was chosen in 1797 (the year Duane died). Appropriately, he is interred here, at the rustic, old Christ Episcopal Church.

Above: the vault of George Opdyke, in Newark, NJ

OUT OF STATE
Finally, at least six former mayors are buried out of state but remain a short trainride away. For instance, the Sicilian-born Vincent Impellitteri (1950-53), moved to Connecticut after his tenure and is buried in a Catholic cemetery in Derby (Mount St. Peters).

In New Jersey, you’ll find the vault of Civil War mayor George Opdyke (1862-63) at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Newark, and the unsuspecting former aide to Benedict Arnold and long-lasting mayoral figure Richard Varick (1789-1801) at the historic First Reformed Dutch Church burial ground in Hackensack.

The slight figure of Smith Ely Jr., may have been New York mayor from 1877-78, but he’s New Jersey born, and he died there one hundred years ago, in 1911. Ely ruled the city the year Boss Tweed died, and he famously refused to lower the flags to half-mast for the Tammany Hall trouble maker. The former mayor and commissioner of Central Park is buried under an imposing monument on his family’s estate, now the Ely Cemetery, in Livingston, NJ.

And finally, we come to two men whose final resting place is the furthest from the city, but its location is an honor indeed — Arlington National Cemetery. William O’Dwyer (1946-1950), actually ran for New York mayor in 1941. When he lost to LaGuardia, he enlisted in the army, becoming a brigadier general, thus making him eligible for burial at Arlington. (I guess they overlooked all that nastiness about his alleged mafia connections.)

George McClellan (1904-09) ruled the roost during the height of New York’s gilded era and was there — literally driving the train — at the opening of the New York subway in 1904. George never fought in any wars, but his father George B. McClellan sure did. And it’s that connection that puts him in the most prestigious cemetery in America.

AND STILL LOOKING FOR….
There are a few that I was unable to locate, and if you have any information regarding any of them, just leave me a note below and I’ll update this article. I’m afraid I may never find the locations of lesser figures like either
Thomas Coman (1868) and Samuel B.H. Vance (1874). Coincidentally, both men were interim mayors, serving only one month apiece.

But two full-term mayors have eluded me as well. One is Jacob Radcliff (1810-11, 1815-18), one of the first true Tammany Hall puppets. And believe it or not, information regarding the location of New York’s first Jewish mayor Abraham Beame (1974-77), who just died in 2001, escapes me.

MAP IT!
I’ve put most of the locations above on a Google map. Most markers are approximate and in the case of some small towns, I’ve placed the marker in town center instead of the cemetery in questions — sometimes hard to find in a satellite view.

View Burial sites of New York City mayors in a larger map

Know Your Mayors: George B. McClellan Jr.

Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in our mayoral survey can be found here.

Perhaps no mayor of New York City this side of Fiorello Laguardia has ever overseen so drastic a change to the landscape of the city than George B. McClellan Jr.

For six extraordinary years (1904-09) McClellan presided over the openings of the New York Public Library, Chelsea Piers, Grand Central Station, christened the first subway service and licensed the first taxi cab.

Below: Mayor McClellan in 1904, his first year in office

george

But oddly, George is perhaps best remembered today for his half-hearted but successful campaign against motion pictures.

If his name sounds vaguely familiar, thank your high school history teacher. George Jr. was the son of the ultimately disastrous Civil War general of the same name, a Union general first fired by Lincoln, then defeated by him in the presidential election of 1864. Despite this, George McClellan Sr. did become the governor of New Jersey, providing his son with a model of leadership he would implant into his many civic duties.

Below: Papa McClellan
father

The dashing George Jr — or you can call him Max, his family did — is one of New York’s few foreign-born mayors, born in 1865 in Dresden, a few years before it was absorbed into Germany. Growing up in New Jersey while father governed, George graduated from Princeton in 1886 and a couple years later ended up as a writer for the revitalized New York World, Joseph Pulitzer‘s popular scandal sheet, in its brand new office on Newspaper Row — just across the street from George’s future office at City Hall.

Actually, George was mayor before he was really mayor. Name recognition and an inherited interest in public service placed him on the Board of Aldermen (precursor to the City Council) by the 1890s, and he was elected board president in 1893. The next year, due to an absence from the city by sitting mayor Thomas Gilroy, McClellan, age 29, became the acting leader for a month.

His biggest controversy? Raising on Irish flag over City Hall for St. Patricks Day, outraging local schoolboys. No, really. He even received threats of bodily harm, but held firm. Deal with it, he told the boys.

Mayor McClellan in his office, 1904 (Courtesy Museum of the City of New York)
Mayor McClellan in his office, 1904 (Courtesy Museum of the City of New York)

 

Snugly in bed with Tammany Hall and a favorite of ole Boss Croker, McClellan spent the next several years representing New York in the U.S. House of Representatives. He returned to the New York scene in 1903 as a Tammany instrument to oust mayor Seth Low, a reform ‘clean-up’ mayor who may have irked more than a few tavern owners.

McClellan, with Tammany’s blind eye towards New York’s more lascivious industries, handily won. And would stay in office for six years, making him New York’s longest serving mayor since Richard Varick in 1789. (The man he beat for re-election in 1905? William Randolph Hearst.)

New York blossomed under McClellan’s reign, with many long boiling projects coming to fruition. One new bridge, the Williamsburg, opened under his watch with another (Manhattan Bridge) well on its way, he unveiled lofty plans to improved the city’s water system, and he gave Longacre Square a new name (Times Square). The Battery Maritime Terminal (built in 1906), that jade beauty next to the Staten Island ferry, is even dedicated to McClellan. New York Public Library was nearly completed — and Grand Central Terminal half-way done — by the end of his term.

A picture in the new subway tunnels, Mr. McClellan looking very confident near the center right. (Museum of the City of New York)
A picture in the new subway tunnels, Mr. McClellan looking very confident near the center right. (Museum of the City of New York)

 

An intrepid tale springs up about McClellan involving the grand opening of the IRT’s first subway tunnel in October 27, 1904. Meant only go ceremonially start up the engine of the first train, McClellen requested that he would like to actually go ahead and drive the train all the way up to Harlem! (And Bloomberg brags that he only rides the train.) He deftly steered the new engine up to 103rd Street before handing over the controls.

To me, McClellan’s biggest contribution is valuable indeed — overseeing the construction of the Chelsea Piers (below), which allowed massive steamships to dock in the city, turning New York into a truly international port. By 1907, in fact, the Lusitania was already at dock here, although the terminal wasn’t officially completed until 1910.

piers

Yet with all of these remarkable changes, the story which arises the most about McClellan involves his war against a technological threat — the rise of cinema.

By 1905, the city had dozens of ‘movie houses’, nickelodeons and amusement arcades where patrons could pay a penny to see the birth of the motion picture. A theater owned by Marcus Loews, quickly to become the biggest name in film exhibition, opened in New York in 1904; the city got its own production company, Biograph, in 1906.

This new moving pictures craze was sweeping the United States — two million patrons in 1907, according to the Saturday Evening Post — and like everything foreign and new, it was soon seen as a corrupting influence, ‘demoralizing’ children, a bastard offspring of vaudeville and burlesque.

Some accounts have McClellan ardently opposed to this new medium on those grounds. I prefer a more rational theory: by 1908, McClellan had his eye on a new job — president of Princeton University — and in order to get that, he had to be seen as sticking up for higher morals. (Something Tammany candidates aren’t exactly known for.)

Below: McClellan steps from a newfangled automobile onto the streets of Union Square in 1908 (pic courtesy Shorpy)

02905u

And so, on the technicality of being dangerous fire hazards, McClellan tore up the licenses of over 550 motion picture exhibitors — yes, that’s right, 550. (Nickelodeons were in music halls, taverns, even a few restaurants.) Most were not reinstated until the debut of New York’s Board of Censorship in 1909, a reviewing board which ended up not censoring much of anything. By the 1910s, movie makers and theatre owners were becoming too powerful to overrule.

By why was McClellan looking for a new job in the first place? In 1908, he was not long for the mayor’s office. Like blessed as Tammany Hall golden boys, McClellan got a conscious in his second term, hiring many non-Tammany employees and rooting out a mountain of Tammany related corruption in civic offices.

This turncoat did not please new Tammany boss Charlie Murphy, no it didn’t. In 1909, Tammany put up their new contestant, the colorful William J. Gaynor. (Incidentally, he also beat William Randolph Hearst, in his second and final unsuccessful run at the office.)

McClellan never became the president of Princeton, but he spent his remaining years teaching there until 1931, when he retired to the good life, writing books about his real passion — the history of Venice. He died in 1940 in Washington DC and was buried in Arlington Cemetery.

But clearly, it’s to New York that he belong.

Below: in this 1905 Harpers Weekly cartoon, McClellan is seen as a little boy holding the Tammany tiger, devouring the ‘fusion candidate’ (Seth Low). President Theodore Roosevelt peeks from the side. (He always did like wildlife.) Within three years, McClellan would be the devoured.

Garden of Murfiz = Tammany Boss Charlie Murphy