39th New York State Legislature

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
39th New York State Legislature
38th 40th
Old State Capitol at Albany NY.jpg
The Old State Capitol (1879)
Jurisdiction New York, United States
Term July 1, 1815 – June 30, 1816
Members 32
President Lt. Gov. John Tayler (Dem.-Rep.)
Party control Democratic-Republican (23-9)
Members 126
Speaker Daniel Cruger (Dem.-Rep.)
Party control Dem.-Rep. (62-61) until February 6
Federalist (62-61) from February 7
1st January 30 – April 17, 1816

The 39th New York State Legislature, consisting of the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly, met from January 30 to April 17, 1816, during the ninth year of Daniel D. Tompkins's governorship, in Albany.


Under the provisions of the New York Constitution of 1777, amended by the Constitutional Convention of 1801, 32 Senators were elected on general tickets in the four senatorial districts for four-year terms. They were divided into four classes, and every year eight Senate seats came up for election. Assemblymen were elected countywide on general tickets to a one-year term, the whole Assembly being renewed annually.

In 1797, Albany was declared the State capital, and all subsequent Legislatures have been meeting there ever since. In 1799, the Legislature enacted that future Legislatures meet on the last Tuesday of January of each year unless called earlier by the governor.

State Senator Elbert H. Jones resigned on March 6, 1815, due to ill health, leaving a vacancy in the Southern District.

On April 8, 1815, the Legislature re-apportioned the Assembly districts, increasing the total number of assemblymen from 112 to 126. Genesee; Onondaga; Ontario and Seneca gained two seats each. Allegany & Steuben; Cattaraugus, Chautauqua & Niagara; Cayuga; Otsego; Rensselaer and Schoharie gained one seat each.[1]

On April 17, 1815, the Legislature re-apportioned the Senate districts, to take effect in May 1815: Dutchess, Putnam and Rockland Co. (and 1 seat) were transferred from the Middle to the Southern District; Albany Co. from the Eastern, and Chenango, Otsego and Schoharie Co. from the Western (and 3 seats) were transferred to the Middle District; Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Co. (and 3 seats) were transferred from the Western to the Eastern District.[2]

At this time the politicians were divided into two opposing political parties: the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.[3]


The State election was held from April 25 to 27, 1815.

Since the re-apportionment of the Senate districts had been enacted only a week before, and should take effect only in May 1815, the senators were elected under the previous apportionment.[4] Peter R. Livingston, Isaac Ogden (both Middle D.), Henry J. Frey, Ralph Hascall, Abraham Van Vechten (all three Eastern D.), Henry Seymour, Stephen Bates (both Western D.); and Assemblyman David Allen (Eastern D.) were elected to full terms in the Senate. Jacob Barker (Southern D.) was elected to fill the vacancy. Allen, Frey, Hascall and Van Vechten were Federalists, the other five were Democratic-Republicans.

63 Democratic-Republicans and 63 Federalists were declared elected to the Assembly.[5]


The Legislature met at the Old State Capitol in Albany on January 30, 1816, but assembled a quorum only on the next day when 123 assemblymen appeared, one had died and two were sick.

On January 31, Daniel Cruger (Dem.-Rep.) was elected Speaker with 61 votes against 60 for Jacob R. Van Rensselaer (Fed.), tradition had it that the candidates did not vote for themselves. Aaron Clark (Dem.-Rep.) was then re-elected Clerk of the Assembly with 62 votes against 59 for James Van Ingen (Fed.), one blank vote was cast and the Speaker did not vote except in case of a tie. The Assembly had thus a Democratic-Republican majority of one vote, 62 to 61.

Right after Speaker and Clerk had been elected, William Alexander Duer (Fed.) presented a petition on behalf of Henry Fellows (Fed.) to contest the election of Peter Allen (Dem.-Rep.) in Ontario County. Fellows had received 3,725 votes, including 49 votes cast in the Town of Perrington.[6] Allen had received 3,695. Although the 49 Perrington votes had been cast for "Henry Fellows", and the election inspectors had filed the result thus with the Town Clerk, a copy returning the votes for "Hen. Fellows" was forwarded to the County Clerk who counted these votes as scattering, since it was not a perfect match with the other votes returned for "Henry Fellows". Without the 49 Perrington votes, Allen had a majority of 19 and was certified as elected. Seating Fellows in place of Allen was inevitable, and gave the Federalists a majority of one vote, but the Democratic-Republicans decided to put it off until after the election of the Council of Appointment.

When Duer's petition was put to a vote, John H. Beach (Dem.-Rep.) moved to postpone it until to-morrow. Duer objected, saying that the motion was not in order. Speaker Daniel Cruger (Dem.-Rep.) ruled that the motion was indeed in order. Thomas J. Oakley (Fed.) appealed the Speaker's ruling, and a viva voce vote was called on this appeal. When the Clerk prepared to call the roll, Duer moved that Peter Allen not be allowed to vote, since he was directly interested in the issue. The Speaker ruled that this motion was not in order. This ruling was appealed also, and a vote was called on this question. It was then moved that Peter Allen had no right to vote on this question, and the Speaker ruled that Allen had the right, which ruling was then appealed again. Then the Assembly adjourned.

On February 1, the Assembly re-elected the Sergeant-at-Arms and Doorkeeper of the previous session, and informed the Senate that the Assembly was organized and ready for business. Governor Daniel D. Tompkins (Dem.-Rep.) informed that he would address the Legislature with his annual message on the next day, and the Assembly adjourned. On February 2, the governor's message was read, and the Assembly adjourned.

On February 3, the question of the contested seat was taken up again. Henry Leavenworth (Dem.-Rep.) offered a resolution to elect "immediately" a Council of Appointment. Answering that, James Lynch (Fed.) offered a resolution that the election of the Council be postponed until after the decision of the question of the contested seat. The Speaker ruled that Lynch's resolution was not in order, which was confirmed by a vote of the Assembly. Oakley then moved to amend Leavenworth's resolution, changing "immediately" to "on Wednesday next, and that in the mean time the house would consider the right of Peter Allen to his seat". A vote on this amendment was called, and Peter A. Jay (Fed.) moved to exclude Peter Allen from the vote. The Speaker ruled that this motion was not in order, which ruling was appealed by Oakley, and the Assembly adjourned.

On February 5, the struggle continued. Duer moved that Peter Allen not be allowed to vote on Oakley's appeal. The Speaker ruled that Duer's motion was not in order, which was appealed by Duer himself. A vote was called, and the Assembly voted 61 to 61 (included Peter Allen's vote), and the Speaker voted in favor of his own decision, declaring Duer's appeal to be lost. After many more motions, countermotions, and votes which ended all in the same manner as aforementioned, Leavenworth's original resolution was adopted with the vote of Peter Allen, and the casting vote of the Speaker. A new Council of Appointment was elected, the vote being: Darius Crosby 63; Archibald S. Clarke 62; William Ross 61; Perley Keyes 61; Abraham Van Vechten 61; Gerrit Wendell 61; Henry Seymour 61 and Samuel G. Verbryck 47. Ross and Keyes were elected by the casting vote of the Speaker, resulting in the election of four Democratic-Republicans.

On February 6, the Assembly Committee on elections reported the abovementioned facts concerning the election of Peter Allen, and unanimously recommended that Fellows be seated instead of Allen. The Assembly concurred with a vote of 115 to 1, and Fellows was seated the next day, giving the Federalists now a majority of 1 after a Democratic-Republican Speaker, Clerk and Council of Appointment had been elected.

On April 17, 1816, a new Erie Canal Commission was appointed: Commissioners Stephen Van Rensselaer and DeWitt Clinton remained in office; and Samuel Young, Assemblyman Myron Holley and Joseph Ellicott were added. Later this day the Legislature adjourned.

State Senate[edit]

Under the re-apportionment of April 17, 1815, the State senators already in office and the senators elected at the last election should represent the District in which they resided. Thus the senators, when taking their seats at the next session in January 1816, were grouped as the table shows below. This led to a different number of seats per district as apportioned, which was corrected at the next election.


Note: There are now 62 counties in the State of New York. The counties which are not mentioned in this list had not yet been established, or sufficiently organized, the area being included in one or more of the abovementioned counties.


The asterisk (*) denotes members of the previous Legislature who continued in office as members of this Legislature. David Allen changed from the Assembly to the Senate.

District Senators Term left Party Notes
Southern Jacob Barker 1 year Dem.-Rep. elected to fill vacancy, in place of Elbert H. Jones
Peter W. Radcliff* 1 year Federalist
Jonathan Dayton* 2 years Dem.-Rep.
Samuel G. Verbryck* 2 years Dem.-Rep. resided in Rockland Co., elected in the Middle D. in 1813
Darius Crosby* 3 years Dem.-Rep. elected to the Council of Appointment
Peter R. Livingston 4 years Dem.-Rep. resided in Dutchess Co., elected in the Middle D. in 1815
Middle Henry Hager* 1 year Dem.-Rep. resided in Schoharie Co., elected in the Western D. in 1812
Martin Van Buren* 1 year Dem.-Rep. also New York Attorney General
Lucas Elmendorf* 2 years Dem.-Rep.
Farrand Stranahan* 2 years Dem.-Rep. resided in Otsego Co., elected in the Western D. in 1813
Moses I. Cantine* 3 years Dem.-Rep.
William Ross* 3 years Dem.-Rep. elected to the Council of Appointment
Isaac Ogden 4 years Dem.-Rep.
Abraham Van Vechten 4 years Federalist resided in Albany Co., elected in the Eastern D. in 1815
Eastern Russell Attwater* 1 year Dem.-Rep. resided in St. Lawrence Co., elected in the Western D. in 1812
Gerrit Wendell* 1 year Federalist
James Cochran* 2 years Federalist
Perley Keyes* 2 years Dem.-Rep. resided in Jefferson Co., elected in the Western D. in 1813;
elected to the Council of Appointment
Samuel Stewart* 2 years Federalist
John J. Prendergast* 3 years Dem.-Rep. resided in Herkimer Co., elected in the Western D. in 1814
George Tibbits* 3 years Federalist
David Allen* 4 years Federalist
Henry J. Frey 4 years Federalist
Ralph Hascall 4 years Federalist
Western Francis A. Bloodgood* 1 year Dem.-Rep.
Archibald S. Clarke* 1 year Dem.-Rep. elected to the Council of Appointment;
in April 1816, elected to the 14th United States Congress
Henry Bloom* 2 years Dem.-Rep.
Bennett Bicknell* 3 years Dem.-Rep.
Chauncey Loomis* 3 years Dem.-Rep.
Philetus Swift* 3 years Dem.-Rep.
Stephen Bates 4 years Dem.-Rep.
Henry Seymour 4 years Dem.-Rep.


State Assembly[edit]


Note: There are now 62 counties in the State of New York. The counties which are not mentioned in this list had not yet been established, or sufficiently organized, the area being included in one or more of the abovementioned counties.


The asterisk (*) denotes members of the previous Legislature who continued as members of this Legislature.

District Assemblymen Party Notes
Albany Michael Freligh Federalist
John J. Ostrander Federalist
John Schoolcraft Federalist
Jesse Smith[7] Federalist
and Steuben
Daniel Cruger* Dem.-Rep. elected Speaker;
in April 1816, elected to the 15th United States Congress
Timothy H. Porter
Broome Mason Whiting Federalist
and Niagara
(Daniel McCleary) Dem.-Rep. died on January 2, 1816, before the Legislature met[8]
Elias Osborn Dem.-Rep. previously a member from Delaware Co.?
Cayuga John H. Beach* Dem.-Rep.
John Brown Jr. Dem.-Rep.
John McFadden Dem.-Rep.
Barnabas Smith* Dem.-Rep.
Chenango Thomas Brown
William Munro
Russel Waters
Clinton and
Benjamin Mooers Dem.-Rep.
Columbia Henry Livingston* Federalist
James Vanderpoel Federalist
Jacob R. Van Rensselaer* Federalist
John Whiting
Cortland Joshua Ballard Dem.-Rep.
Delaware William Dewey
Henry Leavenworth Dem.-Rep.
Dutchess William Alexander Duer* Federalist
Zachariah Hoffman Federalist
Thomas J. Oakley Federalist
Isaac Smith Federalist
John B. Van Wyck Federalist
Essex Reuben Sanford* Dem.-Rep.
Genesee James Ganson Dem.-Rep. the only member who voted against seating Fellows
Elizur Webster Dem.-Rep.
John Wilson Dem.-Rep.
Greene James Powers Federalist
Jacob Roggen Federalist
Herkimer William D. Ford Dem.-Rep.
Henry Hopkins Federalist
John McCombs* Dem.-Rep.
Jefferson Abel Cole
Amos Stebbins
Kings (Richard Fish) Dem.-Rep. did not attend due to illness[9]
Lewis Chillus Doty
Madison Oliver Brown Federalist
Nathan Hall Jr.
Eliphalet S. Jackson
Montgomery Nathan Christie
Nathan Kimball
Edmund G. Rawson
Richard Van Horne[10] Federalist
William Woodward
New York Joseph Bayley
Philip Brasher
Peter A. Jay Federalist
Edward W. Laight
Andrew Morris
James Palmer
Joseph Smith*
Thomas C. Taylor
George Warner* Dem.-Rep.
Samuel Whittmore
Augustus Wynkoop
Oneida Isaac Brayton Federalist
Jesse Curtiss
James Lynch* Federalist
Roderick Morrison
Richard Sanger
Onondaga Truman Adams Dem.-Rep.
George Hall Dem.-Rep.
Elijah Miles Dem.-Rep.
Nathan Williams[11] Dem.-Rep.
Ontario Peter Allen* Dem.-Rep. contested by Henry Fellows (Fed.) who was seated on February 7, 1816[12]
Israel Chapin
Jonathan Child
Myron Holley on April 17, 1816, appointed to the Erie Canal Commission
Alexander Kelsey
Thomas Lee
Roger Sprague
Orange James Burt Federalist
David Dill
Nathaniel P. Hill Dem.-Rep.
Selah Strong Dem.-Rep.
Otsego[13] William Campbell Federalist
Silas Crippen Dem.-Rep.
Isaac Hayes Dem.-Rep.
Oliver Judd Dem.-Rep.
Arunah Metcalf* Dem.-Rep.
Putnam Henry B. Lee[14] Dem.-Rep. in April 1816, elected to the 15th United States Congress
Queens Stephen Carman* Federalist
William Jones Federalist
Daniel Kissam* Federalist
Rensselaer Job Greene Federalist
David A. Gregory Federalist
Herman Knickerbocker Federalist
Samuel McChestney Federalist
Samuel Milliman Federalist
Richmond Richard Coursin Dem.-Rep.
Rockland Cornelius A. Blauvelt
St. Lawrence William W. Bowen
Saratoga Asa C. Barney Dem.-Rep.
George Cramer Dem.-Rep.
Isaac Gere Dem.-Rep.
William Hamilton Federalist
Schenectady Henry Fryer Dem.-Rep.
Herman A. Van Slyck Dem.-Rep.
Schoharie William C. Bouck* Dem.-Rep.
Peter A. Hilton
Thomas Lawyer Dem.-Rep. in April 1816, elected to the 15th United States Congress
Seneca Nichol Halsey
Jacob L. Larzelere
William Thompson Dem.-Rep.
Suffolk Phineas Carll
Abraham Rose Dem.-Rep.
Benjamin F. Thompson
and Ulster
Aaron Adams
Green Miller
William Parks
Dirck Westbrook
Tioga Gamaliel H. Barstow Dem.-Rep.
Warren and
Michael Harris
John Reid
David Abel Russell Federalist
James Stevenson
Roswell Weston
Westchester Benjamin Isaacs* Federalist
Abraham Miller Dem.-Rep.
William Requa* Federalist



  1. ^ An ACT apportioning the Members of Assembly of this State according to the rule prescribed by the constitution. in Manual for the Use of the Assembly compiled by Aaron Clark, Clerk of the Assembly (1816; pages 179ff)
  2. ^ An ACT respecting the four great Senatorial Districts of this State. in Manual for the Use of the Assembly compiled by Aaron Clark, Clerk of the Assembly (1816; pages 178f)
  3. ^ The Anti-Federalists called themselves "Republicans." However, at the same time, the Federalists called them "Democrats" which was meant to be pejorative. After some time both terms got more and more confused, and sometimes used together as "Democratic Republicans" which later historians have adopted (with a hyphen) to describe the party from the beginning, to avoid confusion with both the later established and still existing Democratic and Republican parties.
  4. ^ It remains unclear why only one senator was elected in the Southern D., there being two vacancies (to succeed Nathan Sanford and Elbert H. Jones); and why two senators were elected in the Western D., there being only one vacancy (to succeed Casper M. Rouse).
  5. ^ see Hammond, page 401
  6. ^ Hammond writes erroneously "Pennington".
  7. ^ Dr. Jesse Smith (1780-1841), physician, of Coeymans; see bio in Annals of the Medical Society of the County of Albany (1864; pages 339ff)
  8. ^ Dr. Daniel McCleary (1783-1816); see Early Settlers of New York State: Their Ancestors and Descendants by Janet Wethy Foley (page 189)
  9. ^ The Civil List says "no returns from this county", but Fish is mentioned as an absent member in the Speaker result.
  10. ^ Richard Van Horne (b. ca. 1770, d. March 12, 1823 Danube)
  11. ^ Nathan Williams, sometime Postmaster of Manlius
  12. ^ see A Compilation of Cases of Contested Elections to Seats in the Assembly of the State of New York (1871; pg. 37–43)
  13. ^ Crippen, Judd and Metcalf were unsuccessfully contested by Francis Henry, Charles Mason and Billings Brown
  14. ^ Henry B. Lee, died February 18, 1817, before his term in Congress began