Cadwallader D. Colden

Cadwallader D. Colden
54th Mayor of New York City
In office
Preceded by Jacob Radcliff
Succeeded by Stephen Allen
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 1st district
In office
December 12, 1821  March 3, 1823
Preceded by James Guyon, Jr.
Succeeded by Silas Wood
Personal details
Born Cadwallader David Colden
April 4, 1769
Spring Hill, near Flushing, Queens, New York
Died February 7, 1834(1834-02-07) (aged 64)
Jersey City, New Jersey

Cadwallader David Colden (April 4, 1769 – February 7, 1834) was an American politician. He served as the 54th Mayor of New York City.


He was the grandson of Colonial leader Cadwallader Colden. 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.

Cadwallader D. Colden first practiced law in New York City, moved to Poughkeepsie, New York in 1793, and then returned to New York in 1796. 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.

Colden was an active Freemason. He was the Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of New York in 1801-1805 and 1810-1819.[1]

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.

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. 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. 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.

Literary accomplishments

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, 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.


  1. Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York, May 1921, p. 254.

External links

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
United States 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
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