Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Friday, June 26, 2015

John Hunter of Hunter's Island in Pelham Campaigned for Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren in 1832

The presidential election in 1832 was a raucous affair at the national level.  After the end of the Congressional nominating caucus system in the election of 1824, the nation was left without a formalized institutional method for determining presidential nominations.  In 1832, however, the nation's three major parties, each known by various names but referred to here as the Democratic-Republican (Democratic) Party, the National Republican Party, and the Anti-Masonic Party.  All three parties held national conventions in Baltimore in 1832.  

The Democratic Party nominated Andrew Jackson for reelection to the presidency with Martin Van Buren as his vice presidential running mate, running in his first national election.  The National Republican Party nominated Henry Clay of Kentucky with John Sergeant as his vice presidential running mate.  The Anti-Masonic Party nominated William Wirt of Maryland with Amos Ellmaker as his vice presidential running mate.  

The Democratic Party that nominated Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren was one of the remnants of the Democratic-Republican Party that, by 1824, had split four ways and lacked any center of gravity.  Jackson's Democratic Party eventually evolved into the modern Democratic Party.  At the time, however, Jacksonian Democrats distrusted banks and paper money and opposed the existence of the Second Bank of the United States.  The Jacksonian Democrats supported a strong executive branch and a weak legislative branch while also supporting an expansion of suffrage.

Andrew Jackson won 219 of the 286 electoral votes cast in the 1832 election and won the presidency.  Martin Van Buren became his vice-president.  

John Hunter's involvement in the local political movement to support a Democratic ticket that included Martin Van Buren as the vice-presidential candidate seems significant in hindsight.  This was the first national election in which New Yorker Martin Van Buren ran for office.  He was selected for the ticket to succeed John C. Calhoun as vice-president and, in the 1836 election, won the presidency and succeeded Andrew Jackson.  However, in 1832 Van Buren faced intense opposition for the vice-presidency, with many supporting Pennsylvania resident William Wilkins.  John Hunter of Pelham and his cohorts from remaining towns in Westchester County supported the Jackson-Van Buren ticket.  

John Hunter of Hunter's Island in Pelham was an early supporter of what evolved into the modern Democratic Party.  He was politically active and, like fellow New Yorker Martin Van Buren, was a political organizer who grew to become friends with Van Buren.  Indeed, John Hunter is repeatedly mentioned in the personal papers of Martin Van Buren throughout the 1830s and 1840s.  See Fri., Dec. 15, 2006:  References To John Hunter of Pelham Manor in the Papers of President Martin Van Buren.  

During his one-term presidency, Martin Van Buren failed to deal with the economic Panic of 1837 and, due to the ensuing Depression, became known as "Martin Van Ruin."  That and a surging Whig Party led to his defeat in the 1840 presidential election.  While President of the United States, however, Van Buren visited John Hunter on Hunter's Island in the Town of Pelham in July, 1839.  See Thu., Nov. 3, 2005:  President Martin Van Buren's Visit to Pelham in July 1839.  

Martin Van Buren in a Photograph Taken by
Matthew Brady, Ca. 1855-58.  Source:  Wikipedia.
NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

John Hunter worked to support the candidacies of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren in the 1832 presidential election.  On September 28, 1832, members of the Democratic-Republican Party of Westchester County gathered in Mount Pleasant and elected a committee that included John Hunter of Pelham to represent them.  That Committee, among other things, unanimously agreed to support the re-election of Andrew Jackson to the Presidency, and Martin Van Buren as Vice President of the United States.  The Committee further decided to publish minutes and resolutions of the meeting in numerous local newspapers as a show of their support for Jackson and Van Buren.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes the text of one such set of minutes and resolutions published after the Mount Pleasant meeting.  The text is followed by a citation and link to its source.  

"At a large and respectable meeting of the Democratic Republicans of Westchester county friendly to the re-election of Andrew Jackson to the Presidency, held at the house of J. M. Twitchings, in the town of Mount Pleaseant, on the 28th day of September, 1832.  General Jacob Odell was called to the chair, and Hiram P. Rowel, and Elijah Yerka were appointed Secretaries.

Resolved, That a committee to consist of one person from each town be appointed to nominate a suitable Assembly ticket, to be supported at the ensuing election, and to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of this meeting.

Whereupon the following persons were appointed such committee, Aaron Brown, Somers; Albert Lockwood, Poundridge; Jonathan M. Hall, Bedford; Sam'l P. Smith, North Castle; Wm J. Van Yassell, Mount Pleasant; Henry Brecort, Yonkers; Cornelius M. Odell, Greenburgh; Gilbert Oakley, White Plains; Jeremiah Anderson, Harrison; Horace B. Bloat, Mamaroneck; Thomas Carpenter, New Rochelle; John Hunter, Pelham; James Somerville, East Chester; Wm. H. Arnow, Westchester.

The committee retired, and after mutual deliberation returned and reported the following Assembly Ticket and Resolutions, which were unanimously adopted.

For Members of Assembly.
Israel H. Watson of Westchester, 
John W. Frost, of Cortland, and 
Thomas Smith of South Salem.

Resolved That this meeting unanimously agree to support the re-election of Andrew Jackson to the Presidencey, and Martin Van Buren as Vice President of the United States.

Resolved, That this meeting unanimously agree to support William L. Marcy for Governor, and John Tracy for Lieut. Governor of this state at the ensuing election.

Whereas the Republicans of this county have in later years, at the different Conventions to which they have sent Delegates, either been over-reached by management and intrigue or treated with disregard.  Therefore,

Resolved That this meeting do not deem it proper to send Delegates to either the Congressional or Senatorial Convention.

Resolved, That this meeting, according to usage, consider the right of nomination to Congress for a candidate at the ensuing election to be in the county of Putnam, and provided they nominate a suitable candidate, we will support their nomination.

Resolved, That the Chairman and Secretaries of this meeting be empowered, should they deem it necessary, to call a meeting at any time they may think proper previous to the election, and to fix the time and place at which the next annual meeting shall be held.

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be signed by the chairman and secretaries and published in the Westchester Spy, Westchester Herald, New York Standard, and Evening Post.

JACOB ODELL, Chairman.
                                } Secretaries.

Source:  [Untitled], New-York Evening Post [NY, NY], Oct. 2, 1832, No. 9400, p. 2, col. 4.

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