William M. Tweed
William Magear Tweed was an American politician. He was the head of Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party political machine. At the height of his influence he was the third-largest landowner in New York. He escaped from jail once but was returned to custody. He died in the Ludlow Street Jail in 1877.
About William M. Tweed in brief
William Magear Tweed was an American politician. He was the head of Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party political machine that played a major role in the politics of 19th-century New York City and State. At the height of his influence he was the third-largest landowner in New York. Tweed escaped from jail once but was returned to custody. He died in the Ludlow Street Jail in 1877. He is often erroneously referred to as ‘William Marcy Tweed’, and widely known as ‘Boss Tweed’ He was a member of the Odd Fellows and the Masons, and joined a volunteer fire company, Engine No. 12. In 1848, at the invitation of state assemblyman John J. Reilly, he and some friends organized the Americus Fire Company No. 6, also known as the ‘Big Six’ Tweed’s greatest influence came from being an appointed member of a number of boards and commissions, his control over political patronage, and his ability to ensure the loyalty of voters through jobs he could create and dispense on city-related projects. His religious affiliation was not widely known in his lifetime, but at the time of his funeral the New York Times, quoting a family friend, reported that his parents had been Quakers and \”members of the old Rose Street Meeting house\”. He left school to learn his father’s trade, and then became an apprentice to a saddler. He also studied to be a bookkeeper and worked as a brushmaker for a company he had invested in, before eventually joining in the family business in 1852.
His grandfather arrived in the United States from a town near the River Tweed close to Edinburgh. His father was a third-generation Scottish chair-maker, and Tweed grew up on Cherry Street. He lost that election to the Whig candidate Morgan Morgans, but ran again the next year and won his first political position, garnering his first aldermen position. He then became associated with the ‘Forty Thieves’, who were known as some of the most corrupt politicians in the city’s history. The board had 12 members, appointed by the mayor and six elected, and became a vehicle for large-scale graft; Tweed forced vendors to pay other supervisors to beef up their pay. In his first term he was undinguished, but his second term was an undinguished two-year term. He became known for his ax-wielding violence, and was soon elected the Big Six foreman, but pressure from Alfred Carlson, the chief engineer, got him thrown out of the crew. His last term was in 1858, the year that he became theHead of theTammany Hall political machine. He later became a director of the Erie Railroad and the Tenth National Bank, and the proprietor of the Metropolitan Hotel, a significant stockholder in iron mines and gas companies, and a board member of the Third Avenue Railway Company. He had a son, William Tweed Tweed, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in1852.