James W. Husted (speaker)
|James William Husted I|
October 31, 1833|
Bedford, New York
|Died||September 25, 1892
Peekskill, New York
|Education||Yale College (1854)|
|Children||James William Husted II|
James William Husted (October 31, 1833 – September 25, 1892) was an American lawyer and politician, elected six times as Speaker of the New York State Assembly during his 22 years of service there. During his political career, he became known as the "Bald Eagle of Westchester".
He was educated at Bedford Academy, and graduated from Yale College in 1854. Then he studied law with Edward Wells at Peekskill, New York and was admitted to the bar in 1857. He had become a member of the Know Nothing party, and in 1855, he was chosen Town Superintendent of Public Schools in Peekskill. In 1858, he was elected School Commissioner of Westchester County on the Know Nothing ticket. After the majority of the Know Nothings amalgamated with the Democratic Party in 1859, Husted published a vigorous protest against this "betrayal of the principles upon which the Know Nothing Party was founded", and joined the Republican Party. Before running for office, Husted served in several political appointee positions, being appointed a Deputy Superintendent of the State Insurance Department in 1860, a Harbormaster of New York in 1862, and later a Deputy Collector of the port.
Marriage and family
Husted married and had the following children: Thomas D. Husted, James William Husted, Jr., Helen S. Husted and Hattie Husted. The younger James became a politician like his father, eventually elected to four successive terms as a US Congressman from New York.
He was a member of the New York State Assembly (Westchester Co., 3rd D.) in 1869, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877 and 1878. He was a member of the State Assembly (Rockland Co.) in 1879 and 1880. He was again a member of the State Assembly (Westchester Co., 3rd D.) in 1881, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891 and 1892. He was elected six times Speaker: in 1874, 1876, 1878, 1886, 1887 and 1890, a record at the time. He was Minority Leader in 1892.
In March 1873, Governor John Adams Dix appointed him Major-General of the Fifth Division of the National Guard. Prior to this appointment, Husted had been Judge Advocate on the staff of the Seventh Brigade of the State Militia. He commanded the division for several years, and after that, was commonly referred to as General Husted.
In 1874, as Junior Grand Warden, Husted performed the Masonic burial rite at the interment of New York City Police Commissioner Henry Smith in Amsterdam, New York, after Methodist services had taken place. It was a major public funeral, with numerous Masons and members of the New York State legislature. In 1876, he became Grand Master of the Masonic Grand Lodge of New York.
His long political career, military service and Masonic and other associations enabled him to build many successful business interests. His resulting wealth enabled him to build a "family mansion" in Peekskill.
In June 1892, he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention at Minneapolis. Husted returned from the convention already ill and died on September 25, 1892 of heart disease and kidney disease. He was buried at the Hillside Cemetery in Peekskill, New York.
- "James W. Husted Dead. Passed Away Quietly, Conscious Almost to the Last". New York Times. September 26, 1892. Retrieved 2010-08-26. "After many weeks of illness, Gen. James W. Husted died to-night at 7:30 o'clock at his residence. It had been apparent for some time that his hold on life was slight; the attending physician had told the family that he might die at any time, even when apparently gaining."
- "Burial of Henry Smith", New York Times, 28 Feb 1874, accessed 25 Aug 2010
- Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York, May 1921, p. 256.
- "Funeral of Gen. Husted: Notable Gathering of Public and Private Officials", New York Times, 30 Sep 1892, accessed 25 Aug 2010