Jacob Westervelt (sheriff)

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This article is about Sheriff Jacob Westervelt. For the shipbuilder and New York City Mayor Jacob A. Westervelt, see Jacob Aaron Westervelt.

Jacob Westervelt (Schraalenburgh, July 27, 1794 - Brooklyn, May 10, 1881) was active in the grocery trade before he was elected High Sheriff of New York City, an office he held four years (1831–1834). After retiring from the Shrievalty, he became the president of Lafayette Bank of New York City for a short time. In his younger years he took an active part in the politics of the day, becoming a member of the Tammany Society. During the years 1837 and 1838 he was Assistant Alderman of the 9th Ward. For a certain period he was connected with the New York Custom House, and later became a City Weigher. While a resident of Brooklyn he was on the staff of the Department of City Works in that municipality, but during his latter days he retired from general business.[1]

Confusions because of namesakes[edit]

Sheriff Jacob Westervelt (1794–1881) is often confused with his brother-in-law John Jacob V.B. Westervelt (1805–1866), who was a Deputy Sheriff under him, and subsequently High Sheriff of New York City himself too (1846–1849), as well as Assistant Alderman from the 16th Ward (1844–1846).[2] Another namesake is Jacob Aaron Westervelt (1800–1879), the famous shipbuilder, Alderman from the 13th Ward and later Mayor of New York City (1853–1855).

A Sheriff Jacob Westervelt was involved in the New York City Police Riot of 1857, known at that time as the Great Police Riot. It was a conflict which occurred between the New York Municipal and Metropolitan Police on June 16, 1857. Arising over Mayor Fernando Wood's appointment of Charles Devlin over Daniel Conover for the position of city street commissioner, amid rumors that Devlin purchased the office for $50,000 from Wood himself, Municipal police battled Metropolitan officers attempting to arrest Mayor Wood. During the battle, Conover and his attorney visited Sheriff Jacob Westervelt to request that he serve the warrants. Westervelt was advised by his own representatives, who agreed that it was his legal responsibility to do so, and left with the two men for City Hall. Upon his arrival, Wood again refused to leave his office.[3]

Jay Westervelt (Jacob James Westervelt), contemporary 21st century New York biologist/professional snowboarder, is a namesake descendant of Jacob Westervelt.

Genealogical informations[edit]

Jacob Westervelt was the son of William Westervelt. He married Elizabeth Westervelt (sister of John Jacob V.B. Westervelt) at Schraalenburgh, March 21, 1812, and moved to New York (880, Pacific street) immediately after his marriage. In the 1840s he purchased a farm in Upper Nyack, N.Y., which was subsequently sold. Jacob Westervelt and his wife had nine daughters and two sons: Isabella, Eliza, Margaret, James M., William, Maria, Gertrude, Rachel, Lavinia, Sarah Jane and Caroline Westervelt.[1]


  1. ^ a b Westervelt, Walter Tallman (1905). Genealogy of the Westervelt family. New York: Press of T.A. Wright. pp. page 86. 
  2. ^ "The New York Times". 22 June 1879. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  3. ^ "New York City Police Riot". Retrieved 2009-04-07.