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

By Harold B. Zink | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
"OLD MAN" HUGH MCLAUGHLIN

Kings County and the sometime city of Brooklyn have been dominated by several political overlords of note. Hugh McLaughlin, Edward M. Shepard, Patrick McCarren, and John H. McCooey, barons of the last half a century, especially deserve mention. Among this group Hugh McLaughlin stands out not only in length of political career, point of influence, and ability, but as a character.

Mr. McLaughlin was born in the city of Brooklyn on Furnam Street under Brooklyn Heights. The exact date of his birth is somewhat uncertain because of absence of record. However, the years 1826 and 1827 and the month of April have the most acceptable claims. The McLaughlin family usually observed his birthday on April 2 and preferred the year 1826 to the year 1827.1 Mr. McLaughlin's parents, both natives of Ireland, emigrated to the United States early in the nineteenth century and found it rather difficult to provide a comfortable living for their ten children, of whom Hugh was the youngest. Hugh McLaughlin, Senior, helped build Fort Greene in the War of 1812, made for himself a place in Brooklyn history by boldly ending a town war over a fence built to shut off the Irish from using a street leading to the more aristocratic section, and died when his youngest son was thirteen years of age.2 A sister, Nancy, and a brother, Luke, stand most prominently among the children. Another brother perished as a lighterman, and two sisters married two other McLaughlins. On the whole the sons and daughters

____________________
1
As to the date of Mr. McLaughlin's birth, see the New York Tribune, November 1, 1896, sec. 2, 8:3; New York Evening Post, December 8, 1904, 9:2; Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 8, 1904, p. 16; and Brooklyn Citizen, December 8, 1904, p. 1.
2
See Henry R. Stiles, History of Kings County and Brooklyn ( 2 vols., New York, 1884), I.

-178-

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