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 PoliticsNYC.com

The Story of the Bosses – Fernando Wood

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ABOUT the time that Samuel Swartwout was salt­ing away his stolen million dollars and contemplat­ing with growing enthusiasm the beneficial proper­ties of European travel, there was arising in New York politics a young Philadelphian named Fer­nando Wood. Combining the attributes of a power­ful physique, congenial manners and absolute un­scrupulousness, he was ordained from the start to success as a Tammany politician and he made the most of his opportunity. Not only was he twice elected Mayor of New York City - "the handsom­est man I ever saw and the most corrupt man that ever sat in the Mayor's chair," the famous author and statesman, John Bigelow, was to say of him - but, from the throne of thievery, wearing the crown of corruption and wielding the scepter of underworld alliance he ruled New York for a decade, the first of those absolute political mon­archs, the Tammany "bosses," who for three quar­ters of a century thereafter were to hold the city

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