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 William Forte Willett, Jr

William Forte Willett, Jr

Birth
Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Death 12 Feb 1938 (aged 68)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Plot Lebanon Section, Lot 11 1/2
Memorial ID 19972 · View Source
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US Congressman. He was elected as a Democrat to represent New York's 14th District (which included his home base of Far Rockaway and the Upper East Side of Manhattan) in the United States House of Representatives, serving a single term from March 4, 1907 to March 3, 1911. In January 1909 he gave a speech that called outgoing President Theodore Roosevelt a "grinning gargoyle" among other things. The speech was stopped by a 126 to 78 vote, and expunged from the Congressional Record. It, and another speech a year earlier attacking Roosevelt, were the only things he ever did in Congress. He rarely bothered to attend - out of 311 roll call votes during his two terms in the House, Willett missed an astonishing 258. In October, 1911, he bribed Queens Democratic leader "Curley Joe" Cassidy $10,000 to get a nomination to the Queens County Supreme Court. After years of controversy and appeals, he and Cassidy went to Sing Sing in January 1915 to serve 14 months behind bars. Ironically, he was elected by fellow prisoners as "judge" of the Mutual Welfare League at the prison, an organization that enforced discipline among the inmate population. He was beaten up, losing several teeth, after handing out a few unpopular rulings, and served out his term at another prison.

Bio by: Joe Fodor


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 30 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19972
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Forte Willett, Jr (27 Nov 1869–12 Feb 1938), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19972, citing The Evergreens Cemetery, Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .