The Trail of the Tiger
Tammany: 1789-1928
Being An account of Tammany from 1789; The Society of St. Tammany, or Columbian Order;
Tammany Hall; The Organization; and the Sway of the Bosses

By Allan Frankin

Originally published 1928
This Web version copyright 2005


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IT was after Tweed was exposed and imprisoned that Tammany's rule or ruin tiger stalked out of its lair, eyes agleam, tail switching, and inaugurated the method of tomahawking candidates who did not obey the wishes of the Boss. "Honest" John Kelly, who succeeded to the leadership of the Wigwam, in face of charges of fraud that Mayor William F. Havemeyer wrote "permeates every part of your bills" as sheriff, staged one of the earliest and later one of the most notorious instances of Tammany bolting the party's candidate.

Governor Lucius Robinson, who had refused to free Tweed, was the first object of "Honest" John's displeasure. Tammany already had denied full support to Samuel J. Tilden in 1876 when he was a candidate for president and when the Democratic state convention was held and Robinson nominated "Honest" John indignant because Robinson would not obey him, bolted with the Tammany delegation, held another convention and had himself nominated as a candidate for governor.


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