City Bosses in the United States: A Study of Twenty Municipal Bosses

By Harold B. Zink | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
RICHARD CROKER

Embarking under the Tweed regime as court officer, alderman, and collector of arrears in personal taxes, Richard Croker safely weathered the dark days of that particular house, became the most powerful henchman of "Honest John" Kelly, and finally succeeded the latter as boss of Tammany Hall. After two withering defeats he allowed the leadership to pass to Charles F. Murphy but occupied a role as critic until 1922. Altogether, therefore, Mr. Croker achieved the feat of personal association with every one of the great overlords of New York City and succeeded in stretching himself over the history of Tammany Hall for well on to sixty years.

Dick Croker was born on November 24, 1843, at Blackrock, County Cork, Ireland. He sprang from a line of ancestors which had emigrated to the isle from other climes. On the paternal side the family had come out from England during the days of Cromwell. It apparently had belonged to the middle class in circumstances, although it claimed a governor of Bermuda, a member of parliament, and a major of the British army as members. The mother traced her family line to Scotland.1 During Richard's third year the family made another emigration--this time to the United States. It seems that they expected to settle in the middle west, but after living in Cincinnati, Ohio, and in Covington, Kentucky, for a short time they decided to return to New York City.

Eyre Coot Croker, Dick's father, lies so well enshrouded in mystery that it is difficult to distinguish the actual from

____________________
1
For information concerning the Croker stock, see the New York Times, April 4, 1920, p. 2, April 30, 1922, 1:1, and May 1, 1922, pp. 1, 17; and Alfred H. Lewis, Richard Croker ( New York, 1901), pp. 20-30.

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