Timeline - 1823 -1878
Topics - 1835 Fire, 1845 Fire, Tammany Hall, Gangs,
People - Mose Humphrey knocked senseless in 1838
Referring to Thomas Nasts cartoon images of himself, Tweed said My constituents do not know how to read, but they can not help seeing them damned pictures. Other quotes included: Nine men out of ten either know me or I know them; and As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? Boss Tweeds last words around noon on April 12, 1878 were I hope they are satisfied now. Tweeds last words were said right after he said Well, Tilden (Samuel Jones Tilden, the New York governor) and Fairchild (Charles Fairchild, the New York State attorney general) have killed me. Tweed died April 12 of the same year (1878) in a debtors prison on Ludlow street, and was buried in Brooklyns Green-Wood Cemetery.
Tweed said If I could have bought newspapermen as easily as I did members of the Legislature, I wouldn't be in the fix I am now. The Evening Post, tried to aid the Tweed ring, but it was too late. Tweed underestimated his enemies, and made a full confession (even admiting to things he was not even involved in). Ironically, Tweed was convicted in the structure (now called Tweed Courthouse at 52 Chambers) that he was responsible for building, on the south side of Chambers Street just west of Centre Street. $250,000 was the amount of the original budget of the Tweed Courthouse, it ended up almost costing twice what United States spent to purchase Alaska in 1867. It took 11 years (1861 -1872) to finish the Tweed Courthouse. During renovations of the Tweed Courthouse, in 1999 they removed the cast iron and 18 layers of paint as well as putting in new floors and roof. The triangular open space at East Broadway and Canal Street, now known as Nathan Strauss square, was once called Rutgers square, but it also had Tweed's name on the space as well, when it was called Tweed Plaza. Henry Street and Gouverneur Street was the location of Engine #6, the fire station Tweed was in charge of.
An 1854 or 1844? three-story brownstone at 269 Henry Street on December 11th, 1848?, was turned into a volunteer firehouse called Americus Engine Company 6, run by William Marcy Tweed. The famous Boss Tweed became foreman of the Big Six in 1849. His famous tiger emblem was first painted on one of the double-decker fire engines by Joseph H Johnson. In the 1890s, NYC’s most elaborate firehouse became home to Engine Company 15.
The All Saints Free Episcopal Church was built with the only slave gallery that still exists in a NYC church. It is the Georgian Gothic-windowed church where Edgar Allan Poe worshipped in the back where he could meditate. Begun as a mission near the old Grand Street Ferry in 1819, the All Saints Free Episcopal Church was led by Marinus Willet, a pal of General Lafayette and an early leader in the American Revolution. The church at 290 Henry Street was built between 1827 and1829 in the federal style out of fieldstone from the 60-foot high Mount Pitt quarry. The church was built in the same manner and during the same period as the church that became the Bialystocker Synagogue. The All Saints Free Episcopal Church was built in one of the poorest areas of NYC.
Established in 1869, St Augustine Episcopal Church (built in 1828) had upstairs hidden slave galleries (like the Old South Church in Boston) where slaves could sit for Sunday services in small, dark, unventilated rooms with wooden benches and pray (for freedom no doubt). The rear of the church’s balcony flanking the organ were narrow twisting stairs that led to the slave galleries, just two tiny enclosed rooms. The 1830s organ, made by Henry Erben & Company, was a mechanical action instrument with 2 manuel, 15 stops, and 17 ranks. Services were held at the church in 1876 for Boss Tweed’s mom, Eliza Magear Tweed (born April 30th, 1793). Tweed, at this point a fugitive on the lam from Ludlow Street Jail, was hiding in the slave gallery observing all, who could not see him.
The slave galleries didn’t make total sense because the last slave in NYC should have freed on July 4th, 1827. Children of slaves born after July 4th, 1799, were freed, and slaves born before July 4th, 1799 would be free at 24 years old (women) or 28 years old (men). Though slavery was outlawed, it still persisted through legislated segregation and your average bigots. New Yorkers owned more slaves per slaveholder than any other state north of Virginia. The church and its slave galleries might have part of the Underground Railroad that did use the nearby Bialystocker Synagogue.
The church’s name was changed St Augustine Episcopal Chapel when it turned into a chapel of Trinity Church in 1949. The All Saints Church was on the corner of Henry and Madison and Scammel Streets (until Scammel was obliterated by a housing development), so now the chapel is located between Jefferson and Montgomery Streets. All Saints Church started in 1825 on the corner of Grand and Columbia Streets. In 1966, the All Saint's Episcopal Church was granted NYC Landmark status.
The Tweed Courthouse at 52 Chambers now sits on the site of the second City Hall Park Almshouse. Ironically, Tweed was convicted in the structure that he was responsible for building, on the south side of Chambers Street just west of Centre Street. Originally budgeted at $250,000, the Criminal Courts Building (Tweed Courthouse), after over a decade of construction, ended up almost costing twice what U.S. spent to purchase Alaska in 1867. One carpenter nailed the NYC budget for $361,000 for one month’s work. It took 11 years (1861-1872) to finish the Tweed Courthouse with three quarters of the funds lining the pockets of the Tweed ring. During renovations of the Tweed Courthouse in 1999, they removed the cast iron and 18 layers of paint and put in new floors and roof. The Tweed Courthouse renovations bring its total cost close to $100 million.
Republican Mayor Abraham Oakey Hall was part of Tweed’s ring; he was NYC mayor from 1869–1872. Boss Tweed engineered Hall into office in 1868 to provide himself with a free hand to steal from NYC. In 1871 Tweed got a hard time from his nemesis Thomas Nast, who drew political cartoons for Harper's Weekly to stir up the public (he also created the donkey and elephant political symbols). The New York Times joined in with the using ink as weapons to bring down the Boss. Boss Tweed also profited heavily on the construction of the old post office on the south side of City Hall Park.