Recorder of New York City

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The Recorder of New York City was a municipal officer of New York City from 1683 until the early 20th century. He was at times a judge of the Court of General Sessions, of the Court of Special Sessions, and the New York Court of Common Pleas; Vice-President of the Board of Supervisors of New York County; Vice-President of the Board of Aldermen of New York City; Deputy Mayor of New York City; a director of the Bank of the Manhattan Company; a commissioner of the city's Sinking fund; a commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Board; and sat on the boards of a large number of charitable organizations. The Recorder was not a recorder of deeds, these were kept by the Register of New York City.

History[edit]

The first recorders were appointed by the colonial governor, and held the office "during the Governor's pleasure", meaning that there was no defined term of office.

Under the State Constitution of 1777, the recorder was appointed by the Council of Appointment, and held the office "during the Council's pleasure", there being still no defined term of office.

From 1787 to 1875, the recorder was also a member of the Board of Supervisors of the County of New York, which consisted of the mayor, the recorder and the aldermen of New York City. In the absence of the mayor, the recorder presided over the Board.

Under the State Constitution of 1821, the recorder was appointed by the Governor of New York, and confirmed by the New York State Senate, and held the office until the appointment of a successor.

On December 15, 1847, the City Charter was amended, providing for the election of the recorder by popular ballot at the same time of the general elections (the Tuesday after the first Monday in November), to take office on January 1 next for a term of three years.

In 1857, when the New York Metropolitan Police was created, the recorder became one of the commissioners of the Police Board.

The recorder's term was extended to six years during John K. Hackett's first term. After the adoption of the "Judicial Article" in 1869, the Recorder was not considered a municipal officer any more, but a judicial officer. He ceased to be a member of the Board of Supervisors, and his term was extended to 14 years, to match the term length of the other judges and justices of the New York courts.

The recorder remained one of the judges of the Court of General Sessions (the New York City court of general jurisdiction in criminal cases) until the office was abolished in 1907.

List of Recorders[edit]

Recorder Took office Left office Party Notes
James Graham 1683 1688?
(vacant) 1689? 1691?
William Pinhorne [1] 1691 1693
James Graham 1693 1701
Abraham Gouverneur 1701 1703
Sampson Shelton Broughton 1703 1705
John Tudor 1705 1709
May Bickley 1709 1712
David Jamieson 1712 1725
Francis Harison 1725 1735
Daniel Horsmanden 1736 1747 also 3rd Justice of the Supreme Court of the Province of New York 1737–1747
Simon Johnson 1747 1769
Thomas Jones November 19, 1769 October 13, 1773
Robert R. Livingston October 13, 1773 1774
John Watts 1774 February 20, 1784 last recorder appointed by the colonial governor, remained in office until the capture of New York City by the revolutionary forces
Richard Varick February 20, 1784 September 29, 1789 in 1787 and 1788 also Speaker of the New York State Assembly, and from April 1788 to September 1789 also New York State Attorney General; left both offices upon appointment as Mayor of New York City
Samuel Jones September 29, 1789 March 28, 1797 Federalist appointed New York State Comptroller
James Kent March 28, 1797 February 15, 1798 Federalist appointed to the New York Supreme Court
Richard Harison February 15, 1798 August 25, 1801 Federalist also United States Attorney for the District of New York from 1789 to 1801
John B. Prevost August 25, 1801 November 10, 1804 Dem.-Rep. appointed to the Superior Court of the Territory of Orleans
Maturin Livingston November 10, 1804 March 26, 1806 Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
Pierre C. Van Wyck March 26, 1806 February 16, 1807 Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Maturin Livingston February 16, 1807 February 8, 1808 Dem.-Rep./Lewisite second tenure
Pierre C. Van Wyck February 8, 1808 February 13, 1810 Dem.-Rep./Clintonian second tenure
Josiah Ogden Hoffman February 13, 1810 February 19, 1811 Federalist
Pierre C. Van Wyck February 19, 1811 February 8, 1813 Dem.-Rep./Clintonian third tenure
Josiah Ogden Hoffman February 8, 1813 March 6, 1815 Federalist second tenure
Richard Riker March 6, 1815 April 6, 1819 Dem.-Rep./Clintonian;
Dem.-Rep./Bucktail[2]
Peter A. Jay April 6, 1819 March 6, 1821 Federalist
Richard Riker March 6, 1821 1823 Dem.-Rep./Bucktail second tenure
Samuel Jones 1823 1824 son of the previous Recorder of the same name
Richard Riker 1824 1838 Dem.-Rep./Bucktail;
Democrat
third tenure
Robert H. Morris 1838 1841 Democrat removed from office by Gov. William H. Seward, but elected Mayor of New York City
Frederick A. Tallmadge 1841 1846 Whig
John B. Scott 1846 December 31, 1848 Democrat
Frederick A. Tallmadge January 1, 1849 December 31, 1851 Whig second tenure; first recorder elected by popular ballot
Francis R. Tillou January 1, 1852 December 31, 1854 Democrat
James M. Smith, Jr. January 1, 1855 December 31, 1857 Democrat
George G. Barnard January 1, 1858 December 31, 1860 Democrat
John T. Hoffman January 1, 1861 December 31, 1865 Democrat elected Mayor of New York City during his second term
John K. Hackett March 6, 1866 December 26, 1879 Democrat elected by the Board of Supervisors to fill vacancy; then elected as a Democrat to two terms (1867-69 and 1870-75); in 1875 elected on Republican and Anti-Tammany tickets; died in office
Frederick Smyth December 31, 1879 1894 Democrat elected by the Board of Supervisors to fill vacancy; in 1880 elected to full 14-year term
John W. Goff January 1, 1895 December 31, 1906 Goff was an Anti-Tammany Democrat, elected on a fusion ticket nominated by a large number of organizations, including the Republicans elected to the New York Supreme Court
Francis S. McAvoy January 22, 1907 December 31, 1907 Democrat elected by the Board of Aldermen, to fill vacancy; office abolished

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dunlap, William, History of the New Netherlands, province of New York, and state of New York, to the adoption of the federal Constitution, New York : Carter & Thorp, 1839. Cf, p.215
  2. ^ Riker hoped to be appointed to the New York Supreme Court in 1814, but was angry when he was passed over by a Clintonian Council of Appointment in favor of Federalist Jonas Platt, and later changed sides.

Sources[edit]