William Magear “Boss” Tweed

William Magear “Boss” Tweed

New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 12 Apr 1878 (aged 55)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Plot Section 55, Lot 6447
Memorial ID 1049 · View Source
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Criminal. He is mainly remembered for the appointments of his dishonest colleagues to New York City governmental positions; this was part of his Tammany Hall political machine resulting in him embezzling massive sums of money from the city. By the time he was 28 year old, he was a New York City alderman. He quickly rose to other elected posts making him a strong member of the Democratic Political Party of New York City, which was called Tammany Hall. Once he and his dishonest colleagues had control of the city government, corruption became shockingly widespread even to the State Capitol until his eventual arrest in 1873. Coming from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, he married Mary Jane Skaden in 1844, and in 1848 he organized a volunteer fire company. He lost his 1850 run for alderman, but won the next year and continued to climb the political ladder. He was not a lawyer, yet in 1860, he opened a law office and began receiving large payments from corporations for his "legal services"; these payments were in fact extortion hidden under the appearance of beginning lawful when not. He was reaping vast sums of illegal money by this time, buying hundreds of acres of Manhattan real estate, and wearing a large diamond attached to the front of his shirts. In 1868, he became leader of Tammany Hall and was also elected to the New York State Senate. He and his colleagues took control of the New York City treasury in 1870 when they passed a new city charter that named them as the audit board. To gain more of the city’s money, they faked leases, falsified vouchers, extravagantly padded bills and various other schemes; no one could control them as they embezzled millions of dollars from New York City. Then Thomas Nast, satirist cartoonist reporter for Harper’s Weekly, ousted Tweed. The pictures that were drawn by Nast then published in the newspaper were worth a thousand words to the public especially those who could not read. Ordering Nast to “stop drawing”, Tweed attempted to buy him with a large sum of money, but that failed. He was at last arrested, tried and convicted on charges of forgery and larceny in 1873 but released in 1875. Then the State of New York sued him with civil charges in an attempt to regain some of the money the city had loss. Before he could be arrested again, he fled to Cuba and then to Spain. In November 1876, he was captured and extradited to the United States, confined to Ludlow Street Jail in New York City, and within eighteen months, he died.

Bio by: Linda Davis

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1049
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Magear “Boss” Tweed (3 Apr 1823–12 Apr 1878), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1049, citing Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .