81st New York State Legislature

81st New York State Legislature

The Old State Capitol (1879)

Duration: January 1 – December 31, 1858

President of the State Senate: Lt. Gov. Henry R. Selden (R)
Temporary President of the State Senate: John B. Halsted (R), from January 12
Speaker of the State Assembly: Thomas G. Alvord (D)
Members: 32 Senators
128 Assemblymen
Senate Majority: Republican plurality (15-14-2-1)
Assembly Majority: Republican plurality (61-57-10)

1st: January 5 – April 19, 1858
<80th 82nd>

The 81st New York State Legislature, consisting of the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly, met from January 5 to April 19, 1858, during the second year of John A. King's governorship, in Albany.


Under the provisions of the New York Constitution of 1846, 32 Senators and 128 assemblymen were elected in single-seat districts; senators for a two-year term, assemblymen for a one-year term. The senatorial districts were made up of entire counties, except New York County (four districts) and Kings County (two districts). The Assembly districts were made up of entire towns, or city wards, forming a contiguous area, all within the same county.

On April 13, the Legislature re-apportioned the Senate districts, and the Assembly seats per county. Cayuga, Dutchess, Genesee, Greene, Montgomery, Onondaga, Orange, Otsego, Schoharie and Tompkins counties lost one seat each; New York, Oswego, Queens, Ulster and Westchester counties gained one seat each; Kings County gained four seats; and the new Schuyler County was apportioned one seat.[1]

At this time there were two major political parties: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The Know Nothing movement ran in the election as the "American Party."


The New York state election, 1857 was held on November 3. All eight statewide elective offices were carried by the Democrats. The approximate party strength at this election, as expressed by the vote for Secretary of State was: Democratic 195,000; Republican 177,000; and American 67,000.


The Legislature met for the regular session at the Old State Capitol in Albany on January 5, 1858; and adjourned on April 19.

On January 12, John B. Halsted (R) was elected President pro tempore of the State Senate..

On January 26, after three weeks of deadlock, Thomas G. Alvord (D) was elected Speaker on the 53rd ballot.[2]

1858 Speaker election result
Ballot Date Robert
B. Van


A. Law
also ran
1st Jan. 5 60 56 9 Adams
2nd Jan. 5 60 56 9 Russell
3rd Jan. 5 60 56 9 Bacheller
4th Jan. 6 60 56 9
5th Jan. 6 60 56 9
6th Jan. 6 60 56 9
7th Jan. 6 60 56 9
8th Jan. 6 60 56 9
9th Jan. 7 60 55 8
10th Jan. 7 60 55 8 Adams
11th Jan. 7 60 55 8 1
12th Jan. 7 60 53 8 Boughton
13th Jan. 7 60 53 8 Reynolds
14th Jan. 11 58 54 7
15th Jan. 11 58 54 7 Becker
16th Jan. 11 58 54 7 Becker
17th Jan. 11 58 54 7 Becker
18th Jan. 11 58 54 7 Becker
19th Jan. 11 58 54 7 Becker
20th Jan. 11 58 54 7 Becker
21st Jan. 12 58 54 7 Hodge
22nd Jan. 12 59 54 7 Hodge
23rd Jan. 12 58 54 7 Hodge
24th Jan. 12 58 53 7 Hodge
25th Jan. 13 60 55 7 D. Miller
26th Jan. 13 60 55 8 D. Miller
27th Jan. 13 60 55 8 D. Miller
28th Jan. 13 60 55 8 D. Miller
29th Jan. 13 60 55 8 D. Miller
30th Jan. 14 56 52 7 Bacheller
31st Jan. 14 56 52 7 Bacheller
32nd Jan. 14 56 52 7 Bacheller
33rd Jan. 14 56 52 7 Bacheller
34th Jan. 14 56 54 7 Bacheller
35th Jan. 14 55 51 7 Bacheller
36th Jan. 14 55 51 7 Bacheller
37th Jan. 14 55 51 7 Bacheller
38th Jan. 15 54 49 1 6
39th Jan. 15 54 49 1 7
40th Jan. 16 45 40 1 7
41st Jan. 16 45 40 1 7
42nd Jan. 19 54 48 1 7
43rd Jan. 19 54 48 1 7
44th Jan. 21 55 50 1 6
45th Jan. 21 55 50 1 6
46th Jan. 21 55 50 1 7
47th Jan. 21 55 50 1 7
48th Jan. 21 55 50 1 7
49th Jan. 21 55 50 1 7
50th Jan. 22 54 49 1 6
51st Jan. 22 52 47 1 6
52nd Jan. 26 54 49 1 7
53rd Jan. 26 55 57 2

State Senate


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. James Noxon, John E. Paterson, John B. Halsted, James Wadsworth and John P. Darling were re-elected. George G. Scott and Ralph A. Loveland changed from the Assembly to the Senate.

Party affiliations follow the vote for Senate officers.

District Senator Party Notes
1st Joshua B. Smith Democrat
2nd Samuel Sloan Democrat
3rd Francis B. Spinola Democrat
4th John C. Mather Democrat
5th Smith Ely, Jr. Democrat
6th Richard Schell Democrat
7th John Doherty Democrat
8th Benjamin Brandreth Democrat
9th Osmer B. Wheeler American
10th George W. Pratt Democrat
11th William G. Mandeville Democrat
12th John D. Willard Democrat
13th George Y. Johnson American
14th Edward I. Burhans Democrat
15th George G. Scott* Democrat
16th Ralph A. Loveland* Republican
17th William A. Wheeler Republican
18th Joseph A. Willard Republican
19th Alrick Hubbell Republican
20th Addison H. Laflin Republican
21st Cheney Ames Republican
22nd James Noxon* Republican
23rd John J. Foote Republican
24th Lyman Truman Republican
25th Alexander B. Williams Republican
26th Truman Boardman Republican
27th Alexander S. Diven Republican
28th John E. Paterson* Republican
29th Horatio J. Stow Independent[3]
30th John B. Halsted* Republican on January 12, elected President pro tempore
31st James Wadsworth* Democrat resigned on August 18, 1858
32nd John P. Darling* Republican also Supervisor of New Albion


State Assembly


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

Party affiliations follow the original vote for Speaker.

District Assemblymen Party Notes
Albany 1st Dwight Bacheller American
2nd George Wolford Republican
3rd Cornelius W. Armstrong Democrat
4th Charles H. Adams American
Allegany 1st John M. Hammond Republican
2nd William F. Jones Republican
Broome John S. Palmer Republican
Cattaraugus 1st Henry Van Aernam Republican
2nd William Buffington Jr. Republican
Cayuga 1st David B. Baldwin Republican
2nd Chauncey M. Abbott Republican
Chautauqua 1st Henry Bliss Republican
2nd Charles B. Green Republican
Chemung John Haggerty Democrat
Chenango 1st Truxton G. Lamb Republican
2nd William Kales Republican
Clinton Zephaniah C. Platt Democrat
Columbia 1st David Miller American
2nd Lorenzo Gile Republican
Cortland Nathan Bouton Republican
Delaware 1st Fletcher Palmer Republican
2nd Samuel A. Law American
Dutchess 1st Albert Emans Democrat
2nd Ambrose Wager Democrat
Erie 1st Albert P. Laning Democrat
2nd Andrew J. McNett Democrat
3rd John T. Wheelock Democrat
4th Amos Avery Republican
Essex Monroe Hall Republican
Franklin Charles Russell American
Fulton and Hamilton John C. Holmes Democrat
Genesee Franklin G. Kingman Republican
Greene Daniel B. Strong Democrat
Herkimer 1st William Coppernoll Republican
2nd Harris Lewis* Republican
Jefferson 1st George Babbitt Republican
2nd Elihu C. Church Republican
3rd Robert F. Austin Republican
Kings 1st John A. Voorhees Democrat
2nd Moses S. Beach Democrat
3rd Harmanus B. Duryea Republican
4th David M. Chauncey Democrat
5th John A. Dayton Democrat
6th John Hanford* Democrat
7th George W. Bleecker Democrat
Lewis Homer Collins Republican
Livingston 1st John H. Jones Democrat
2nd Alfred Bell (politician)* Republican
Madison 1st Lester M. Case Republican
2nd Robert Stewart Republican
Monroe 1st Jarvis Lord Democrat
2nd Thomas Parsons Democrat
3rd Robert Staples* Republican
Montgomery Hezekiah Baker* Republican
New York 1st Jacob L. Smith Democrat
2nd Michael Fitzgerald Democrat
3rd Richard Winne Democrat
4th John G. Seeley Democrat unsuccessfully contested by James A. Dolan (Am.)[4]
5th Arthur J. Delaney Democrat
6th George A. Jeremiah Democrat
7th Philip W. Engs Democrat
8th James H. Lynch Democrat
9th Thomas Jones Jr. Democrat
10th John W. Chanler Democrat
11th Noah D. Childs Democrat
12th William Gage Democrat
13th David J. Chatfield Democrat
14th Dunham J. Crain Democrat
15th Edward A. Moore Democrat
16th George Weir Democrat
17th Garret Dyckman Democrat
Niagara 1st Burt Van Horn Republican
2nd John W. Labar Republican
Oneida 1st Henry R. Hart Democrat
2nd William J. McKown Republican
3rd Thomas G. Halley Republican
4th Reuben Knight Republican
Onondaga 1st James Frazee Republican unsuccessfully contested by Sidney H. Cook[5]
2nd Thomas G. Alvord Democrat elected Speaker
3rd Levi S. Holbrook Republican
Ontario 1st Volney Edgerton Republican
2nd Ira R. Peck Republican
Orange 1st Stephen W. Fullerton Republican
2nd Charles J. Stevenson Democrat
Orleans Almanzor Hutchinson* Republican
Oswego 1st William Baldwin Democrat
2nd John J. Wolcott Republican
3rd Chauncey S. Sage Republican
Otsego 1st Charles McLean Democrat
2nd David M. Hard Republican
Putnam John Garrison Democrat
Queens 1st Edward A. Lawrence Democrat
2nd John S. Hendrickson Democrat
Rensselaer 1st Jason C. Osgood Democrat
2nd Daniel Fish Republican
3rd Martin Miller Democrat
Richmond Eben W. Hubbard Democrat
Rockland Wesley J. Weiant Democrat
St. Lawrence 1st Harlow Godard Republican
2nd William Briggs Republican
3rd Oscar F. Shepard Republican
Saratoga 1st Chauncey Boughton American
2nd Tabor B. Reynolds American
Schenectady Angus McIntosh Republican
Schoharie John H. Salisbury Democrat
Schuyler Henry Fish Democrat
Seneca Augustus Woodworth Democrat
Steuben 1st Robert B. Van Valkenburgh* Republican
2nd Washington Barnes Republican
3rd William B. Jones Republican
Suffolk 1st George Howell Democrat
2nd George P. Mills Democrat
Sullivan Asa Hodge American
Tioga William P. Raymond Republican
Tompkins Edward S. Esty Republican
Ulster 1st Fordyce L. Laflin Democrat
2nd Isaac Becker American
3rd Nathan W. Watson Democrat
Warren Alexander Robertson Republican
Washington 1st Thaddeus H. Walker Republican
2nd Ralph Richards Republican
Wayne 1st Edward W. Sentell Republican
2nd Charles Estes Republican
Westchester 1st Abraham B. Tappen Democrat
2nd Edmund G. Sutherland* Democrat
3rd Frost Horton American
Wyoming Cyril Rawson* Republican
Yates John Mather Republican



  1. see The Revised Statutes of the State of New York (1859; Senate pg. 149f, Assembly pg. 452f)
  2. Under ordinary circumstances, the result of the last ballot would have been "no choice", the vote being a tie of 57 for Alvord and 57 for all other candidates together but, between the 52nd and the 53rd ballot, a resolution was adopted that the person receiving the largest number of votes on the next ballot would be elected.
  3. Stow was elected in opposition to his predecessor, Republican Alonzo S. Upham, but voted with the Republicans for Clerk of the Senate.
  4. Dolan claimed that Seeley was not a resident of this district, and that votes given for him (a plurality over Dolan) should be disqualified, but the Committee on Elections, and the Attorney General, held that an assemblyman was not required by law to reside in the district in which he was elected; see A Compilation of Cases of Contested Elections to Seats in the Assembly of the State of New York (1871; pg. 295–300)
  5. see A Compilation of Cases of Contested Elections to Seats in the Assembly of the State of New York (1871; pg. 300–313)


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