Fernando Wood (June 14, 1812 – February 14, 1881) is famous for being one of the most colorful mayors in the history of New York. He was chairman of the chief young men’s political organization in 1839 and was a member of the Tammany Society, which he used as a vehicle for his political rise. Wood served as Mayor of New York from 1855 to 1862. During this time a police feud developed between the New York Municipal Police and the Metropolitan Police Force. This feud led to increased gang activity due to the police rivaling one another rather than upholding the law. Wood was one of many New York Democrats sympathetic to the Confederacy, called ‘Copperheads’ by the staunch Unionists. In January 1861, Wood suggested to the City Council that New York secede and declare itself a free city.
KeywordsCongressman, tammany hall, house of representatives, fernando wood, police riots, copperheads
Benson John Lossing, ed. Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (vol. 10) (New York, NY: Harper and Brothers, 1912)