Joel T. Headley

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Joel T. Headley
Joel Tyler Headley-wmm2.jpg
BornDecember 30th, 1814
DiedJanuary 16th, 1897
EducationUnion College, Auburn Theological Seminary
OccupationHistorian, writer, politician, adventurer
Years active1844 - 1890
Political partyAmerican Party
Spouse(s)Anna Allston Russel (m. 1850)
ChildrenRussel, Lucy, Joel Tyler

Joel Tyler Headley (December 30, 1813 – January 16, 1897) was an American clergyman, historian, author, newspaper editor, adventurer and politician who served as Secretary of State of New York. Headley belonged to the American Party.


He was born at Walton, New York to a Presbyterian clergyman father, and he determined to take up the same occupation. He graduated from Union College in 1839 and took a course in theology at the Auburn Theological Seminary in Auburn, New York. After being ordained, he preached at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, but soon had to give up his profession due to the strain, going to Europe in 1842. He turned to history writing, producing many works on various subjects. His writings were among the first to call attention to the Adirondack Mountains as a health resort, and his best-known work is The Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution.[1] He later accepted the solicitations of Horace Greeley and became associate editor of the New York Tribune.

Headley selected Newburgh, New York as his country seat; its close proximity to New York City and upstate New York was appealing. Outside of the city boundary, in the mostly rural town of New Windsor, Headley purchased approximately 13 acres of land in the summer of 1850. The property, overlooking the Hudson River, formerly belonged to the Chrystie family. In Newburgh, Headley selected the architectural firm of Andrew Jackson Downing and Calvert Vaux to build his home. Though he could afford a much grander house, he decided to subdue tastes and preferred the focal point of the property to be its natural surroundings rather than the house itself. Downing and Vaux set to work on the "villa," including the design in a later edition of Downing's Cottage Residences, Design No. 14, "A Cottage in the Rhine style".[2]

Headley was a member of the New York State Assembly (Orange Co., 1st D.) in 1855; and was New York Secretary of State from 1856 to 1857, elected on the American Party ticket at the 1855 New York state election. He died in Newburgh, New York in 1897, having lived there for many years.


  • Headley, Joel Tyler, ed (1848). The Life of Oliver Cromwell. New York: Baker and Scribner.
  • Headley, Joel Tyler (1848). Washington and His Generals. New York: Baker & Scribner.
  • Headley, Joel Tyler (1861). The Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution. Springfield, MA: G. & F. Bill.
  • Headley, Joel Tyler Napoleon and his marshals. New York. A. L. Burt Company, publishers.
  • Headley, Joel Tyler The Sacred Mountains (1847)
  • Headley, Joel Tyler (1866). The Great Rebellion; A History of the Civil War in the United States. Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Co.
  • Headley, Joel Tyler. The Life and Travels of General Grant. Philadelphia, PA: Hubbard Bros., 1879.
  • Headley, Joel Tyler. The Great Riots of New York, 1712 to 1873. New York: E. B. Treat, 1873.


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Political offices
Preceded by New York Secretary of State
1856 - 1857
Succeeded by