Boss Tweed: The Story of a Grim Generation

Boss Tweed: The Story of a Grim Generation

Boss Tweed: The Story of a Grim Generation

Boss Tweed: The Story of a Grim Generation

Excerpt

It was the middle of the eighteenth century when a young Scotch couple landed in the City of New York. They were natives of Kelso, a town on the River Tweed, fifty-two miles southeast of Edinburgh. They had spent their honeymoon in crossing the Atlantic. The man was tall, bronzed, brawny, and broad-shouldered. He bent slightly as he trudged through the unpaved streets with the scant belongings of the pair. What weighted him down was a kit of blacksmith's tools. The couple settled in the northeastern section of the city -- then a mere handful of less than 15,000 inhabitants, many of whom still spoke the language of Petrus Stuyvesant.

The young couple answered to the name of Tweed -- on whose bonnie banks they were born. Their new home was immediately east of Beekman's Swamp, which lies about midway between the East River and the present City Hall. The section they selected was then, as now, known as Cherry Hill, and commanded a view of the river. To the north, where towering structures of steel and stone limn the sky to-day, farms were tilled and streams purled, and game abounded in the primitive patches of woodland. The Tweeds had two sons, Robert and Phillip, who learned their father's trade. Phillip, the older of the brothers, set up his own forge in Rutgers Street, a stone's throw from where he was born.

In Phillip Tweed we have the first printed record of the ancestors of William Marcy Tweed, the first Boss of Tammany Hall, who set a fashion for political leadership in a representative democracy. In the year 1790 we find Boss Tweed's grand-

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