Cadwallader D. Colden

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Cadwallader D. Colden
Cadwallader David Colden, Mayor of New York City MET DP837770 (cropped).jpg
New York State Senate (1st District)
In office
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 1st district
In office
December 12, 1821 – March 3, 1823
Preceded byJames Guyon, Jr.
Succeeded bySilas Wood
54th Mayor of New York City
In office
GovernorDeWitt Clinton
Preceded byJacob Radcliff
Succeeded byStephen Allen
New York State Assembly
In office
District attorney (1st District)
In office
Personal details
BornApril 4, 1769
Spring Hill, near Flushing, Province of New York
DiedFebruary 7, 1834(1834-02-07) (aged 64)
Jersey City, New Jersey
Political partyFederalist
Maria Provoost
(m. 1793; his death 1834)
RelationsCadwallader Colden (grandfather)
ParentsDavid Colden
Ann Alice Willett

Cadwallader David Colden (April 4, 1769 – February 7, 1834) was an American politician who served as the 54th Mayor of New York City and a U.S. Representative from New York.[1]

Early life[edit]

Colden was born at Spring Hill, the family home, on April 4, 1769 in the Province of New York.[1] He was the son of David Colden and Ann Alice (née Willett) Colden. He was the brother of Alice Christy Colden, Maria Colden, who married Josiah Ogden Hoffman, Elizabeth Colden, who married Edward Laight, and Catherine Colden, who married Thomas Cooper.

He was the grandson of Alice (née Chrystie) Colden and Cadwallader Colden (1688–1776), who served as the Governor of the Province of New York several times in the 1750s and 1770s.[2]

He was taught by a private tutor, and then provided a classical education in Jamaica, New York and in London. After returning to the United States in 1785, he studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1791.[1]


Colden first practiced law in New York City, then moved to Poughkeepsie, New York in 1793. He returned to New York in 1796 and from 1798 to 1801, he was Assistant Attorney General for the First District, comprising Suffolk, Queens, Kings, Richmond and Westchester counties. From 1810 to 1811, he was District Attorney of the First District, comprising the above-mentioned counties and New York County.[1]

Colden was an active Freemason. He was the Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of New York in 1801-1805 and 1810-1819.[3]

He became a Colonel of Volunteers in the War of 1812. In 1815, he became president of the New York Manumission Society, established in 1785 to promote the abolition of slavery in the state, and oversaw the rebuilding of the Society’s African Free School in New York City. Later historians cited the energetic aid of Colden, Peter A. Jay, William Jay, Governor Daniel D. Tompkins, and others in influencing the New York legislature to set the date of July 4, 1827, for the abolition of slavery in the state.

Colden was also a member of the New York State Assembly in 1818, and the 54th Mayor of New York City from 1818 to 1821, appointed by Governor DeWitt Clinton. He successfully contested the election of Peter Sharpe to the 17th United States Congress and served from December 12, 1821, to March 3, 1823. He was a member of the New York State Senate (1st District) from 1825 to 1827, when he resigned.[2]

After his resignation from the State Senate, he moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, where he devoted much of his time to the completion of the Morris Canal.[1]

Literary accomplishments[edit]

A proponent of a national canal system, in 1825 Colden was commissioned by the Common Council of New York City, during the last days of the construction of the Erie Canal,[4] to write his Memoir, Prepared at the Request of a Committee of the Common Council of the City of New York, and Presented to the Mayor of the City, at the Celebration of the Completion of the New York Canals. The work and its Appendix contain period lithographs of the canal construction and highlights of the "Grand Canal Celebration" at New York City.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Portrait of Colden's daughter-in-law, Francis Wilkes Colden, by Charles Cromwell Ingham, 1830

On April 8, 1793,[6][7] Colden was married to Maria Provoost (1770–1837), the daughter of Rt. Rev. Dr. Samuel Provoost, 1st Bishop of New York and Maria Bousefield Provoost.[8][9] Together, they were the parents of:

  • David Cadwallader Colden (1797–1850), who married Francis Wilkes (1796–1877),[10] daughter of banker Charles Wilkes and sister of Rear Admiral Charles Wilkes.[11]

Colden died in Jersey City, in 1834. His body was removed in 1843 from an interment in New Jersey to a receiving vault in Trinity Church Cemetery in upper Manhattan in New York City.[1] He was removed in 1845 to a prominent spot in the cemetery's Easterly Division, overlooking the then rural intersection of the Bloomingdale Road (now Broadway) at West 153rd Street. By 1869, preparations to widen Broadway where the road cut through the cemetery caused Colden to be removed to another plot. His inconspicuous plot in the cemetery's Westerly Division was essentially forgotten until a local historian rediscovered it in July 2011.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "COLDEN, Cadwallader David - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b Hough, Franklin Benjamin (1858). The New York Civil List: containing the names and origin of the civil divisions, and the names and dates of election or appointment of the principal state and county officers from the Revolution to the present time. Weed, Parsons and Co. pp. 126, 139, 193, 266, and 366f. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  3. ^ Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York, May 1921, p. 254.
  4. ^ Sheriff, Carol (1997). The Artificial River: The Erie Canal and the Paradox of Progress, 1817-1862. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 41. ISBN 9781429952484. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Erie Canal Memoir". Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  6. ^ Whittelsey, Charles Barney (1902). The Roosevelt Genealogy, 1649-1902. Press of J.B. Burr & Company. p. 33. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  7. ^ Adams, Louisa Catherine (2014). A Traveled First Lady. Harvard University Press. p. 305. ISBN 9780674369276. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  8. ^ Greene, Richard Henry; Stiles, Henry Reed; Dwight, Melatiah Everett; Morrison, George Austin; Mott, Hopper Striker; Totten, John Reynolds; Pitman, Harold Minot; Ditmas, Charles Andrew; Forest, Louis Effingham De; Maynard, Arthur S.; Mann, Conklin (1880). The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  9. ^ Valentine's Manual of Old New York. Valentine's manual, Incorporated. 1916. p. 228. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  10. ^ "Digital Collections: ALs to Mrs. Frances Wilkes Colden". Free Library of Philadelphia. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  11. ^ Gardner, Albert Ten Eyck; Feld, Stuart P. (1965). American Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 1, Painters Born by 1815. Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 206. Retrieved 3 December 2017.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Richard Riker
District Attorney of the First District
Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, and Westchester counties

Succeeded by
Richard Riker
Political offices
Preceded by
Jacob Radcliff
Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
Stephen Allen
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
James Guyon, Jr.,
Silas Wood
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 1st congressional district

with Silas Wood
Succeeded by
Silas Wood