Wood, Fernando

Wood, Fernando,

1812–81, American politician, b. Philadelphia. He became a successful shipping merchant in New York City and a leader of Tammany Hall. Wood was elected mayor in 1854 and was reelected in 1856, but he displeased the other Tammany leaders in dispensing patronage and was ousted in 1857. He formed Mozart Hall, a rival organization, and won reelection in 1859. Pro-South, Wood suggested in Jan., 1861, that New York establish itself as an independent city. He was defeated for reelection in that year. During the Civil War he was a leading Peace Democrat. As a Congressman (1841–43, 1863–65, 1867–81) he reflected the views of the city's moneyed interests.


See biography by S. A. Pleasants (1948).

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Wood, Fernando

(1812–81) U.S. representative, mayor, businessman; born in Philadelphia. As a Tammany Hall Democrat, he served New York City in the U.S. House of Representatives (1841–43). He then made a fortune as a merchant from the California gold rush of 1849. Again as a Tammany candidate, he served as mayor of New York City (1855–59) and although he achieved some good things—notably in helping to create Central Park—his administration was marked by widespread graft and crime. Tammany Hall rejected him so he formed his own ticket, which he called Mozart Hall, and was elected for a third term (1859–61). Opposed to the Civil War, he joined with C. L. Vallandigham to form the Peace Democrats in 1863. He went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives (Dem., N.Y.; 1863–65, 1867–81), and although he often opposed his own party, he managed to gain leadership roles and overcome the dubious associations of his past.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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Hollis Terhune-Cotton, Emma-Lea Tuhy, Maritza Vasquez, Alyssa Walters, Cody Wilson-Wenger, Cassandra Wood, Fernando Yanez and Courtney Young.