William H. Wickham

For other people named William Wickham, see William Wickham (disambiguation).
Carte-de-visite photo by C.D. Fredericks and Co., Brooklyn, N.Y.

William H. Wickham (July 30, 1832 January 13, 1893) was the 81st Mayor of New York City and anti-Ring Democrat who helped to topple corrupt politician Boss Tweed.

Wickham was born in Smithtown on Long Island, but was raised in New York. Early in his career he worked for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company and was a volunteer fireman. Wickham joined Mutual Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 in 1850 and served as foreman. In 1854 he organized the Baxter Hook and Ladder Company No. 15. He was elected Secretary of the New York Fire Department in 1858, Vice President in 1859, and President from 1860-61. He was married to Louise Floyd and had a daughter, Louise Floyd Wickham.

In the early 1870s, Wickham became an anti-Ring Democrat opposed to Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall. Wickham served as Chairman of the Apollo Hall Democracy, a political group that worked to bring Boss Tweed to justice. He also served on the Executive Committee of Seventy, a group formed by the public to reestablish honest government.

In 1874, Wickham was nominated by the Democrats to be Mayor of New York, with the support of a temporarily reformed Tammany Hall. He easily defeated Oswald Ottendorfer, the Independent Democratic candidate, and Salem H. Wales, the Republican. During his two-year tenure starting in 1875, Wickham appointed William C. Whitney to be the City of New York's legal counsel to combat political fraud. Wickham also conducted fundraising for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Wickham declined to be re-nominated in 1876. He served on the Board of Education for several years and was a member of the Committee of One Hundred for New York's Columbian celebration. He died in New York City 1893 from heart disease.[1]

He was a distant cousin of John Wickham, the attorney for Aaron Burr during his trial for treason. It was Burr who transformed Tammany into a political machine for the election of 1800.

He also has a street named after him in the north Bronx.


  1. "William H. Wickham". New York Times. January 14, 1893. Retrieved 2008-06-06. William H. Wickham, who was Mayor of New-York City during the term beginning Jan. 1, 1875, died early yesterday morning at his home, 338 Lexington Avenue. He had been sick for several months, and during the last six weeks he had been ...
Political offices
Preceded by
Samuel B. H. Vance
Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
Smith Ely, Jr.
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