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

William Marcy Tweed

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WILLIAM MARCY TWEED, the son of a chair­ maker, was born at No. 1 Cherry street on April 3, 1823. He early showed the qualities of ruthless leadership which enabled him to organize the famous "Tweed Ring," for he became the leader of "Cherry Streeters" gang of boys at the age of fourteen and foreman of the Big Six Engine com­pany soon after he attained his majority.

Like so many other Tammany Braves of those and later times his leadership of a volunteer fire fighting company was used as a stepping stone for a political career. After being defeated for a minor political office, Tweed, a robust young man nearly six feet tall and weighing close to 300 pounds, won a place as Alderman from the Seventh Ward. This was in 1852 when the Board of Aldermen was dubbed the "Forty Thieves." Before the end of his first year as Alderman he was nominated and elected to Congress, where he served two terms. He found life in the national capital rather dull and gladly accepted the "unprofitable" position of


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