Advocating The Man
Masculinity, Organized Labor, and the Household in New York, 1800-1840
by Joshua R. Greenberg


Chapter One — Collective


In 1835, sculptor and former Working Men's Party candidate John Frazee penned an autobiography that detailed his life and career as one of the young nation's leading artisans. Frazee concluded the second chapter by reflecting on his family:

In the summer of 1832, my dear wife, Jane, was taken suddenly from me by the dreadful pestilence (cholera) of that year. This was the most afflicting event of my life. She had been the kind companion of all my cares, my joys and my woes, for nearly twenty years. She had borne me ten children, as pledges of our mutual love and affection—five of whom sleep with her in the tomb—and five are left as mementos of her love, and, I hope, inheritors of her faithful and frugal character.1

Even though Frazee would later remarry, his statement clearly expressed the significance of his emotional bond with his wife and children through life and death.2 Even in a piece depicting his rise to become a successful and admired craftsman and artist, he did not downplay or conceal what his family meant to him. Such sentiments about domestic life and household ties should probably be expected from a man of 45 reflecting on his life, however, they usually fall outside the purview of early organized labor narratives.

This chapter demonstrates the importance of exploring working men's household relationships and the natural placement of men like John Frazee within the home by utilizing a prosopography of New York's organized men between 1800 and 1840. It presents a demographic sketch of a sample group of over 1150 organized working men in order to describe what sort of men participated in the labor movement and from what type of household realities they emerged.3 The resulting portrait suggests the necessity of seeing organized men as domestic actors with a powerful investment in their domestic settings and residential neighborhoods; their "artisan" or "journeyman" label should not overshadow their roles as husbands, fathers, and neighbors. Since this book proposes that there is a link between the lived domestic experiences of organized laborers and their activity in the labor movement, detailing these experiences is critical to provide the proper demographic context for later sections that interrogate organized men's perception of the society around them and their subsequent cultural production.

New York City Map, 1833 The most crucial demographic characteristic of New York's organized working men was that they married and formed households at higher rates then workers in the city as a whole. Likewise, organized men overwhelmingly lived with families, governing domestic settings rather then living by themselves or in boarding houses. Organized men located in the 1819 New York City census and jury list headed households 96.70% of the time while the rate for all journeymen in the sample group was only 86.38%.4 These numbers are even more remarkable when compared with the city's marriage rates as a whole: just a few years later in 1825, married men comprised just over 51% of all men between the ages of 16 and 45. The rate was even lower in the artisan-heavy Sixth, Eighth, and Tenth wards of the city.5


Such marriage statistics describe just part of the difference between organized men and the larger community of working men in New York during the first half of the nineteenth century. Significant percentages of working men married, only to desert their wives and families and leave town to escape their responsibilities and start over in another location. By staying in New York long enough to leave demographic records that can be tracked over time, the organized men in the sample group not only left a statistical profile, they also demonstrated their economic ability and emotional desire to uphold their commitment to their household obligations.6

Organized laborers not only married in great numbers, they also headed larger and more expensive households than other workers. Approached from a number of statistical directions, average family size for organized men varied slightly, but in each case it outpaced the family size of the average contemporary working men. In the 1819 census and jury list, organized men governed households averaging 5.17 members, while the average size for all journeymen heading families was 4.42.7 Likewise, members of two individual trade unions, the Journeymen Cordwainers' Union and Society of Journeymen Shipwrights and Caulkers averaged household sizes of 4.75 and 5.85, respectively.8

While these numbers are illuminating, especially as they relate to larger numbers for middling (6.28) and elite (8.13) household sizes, their most important ramification was the increased budget needed to cover family necessities.9 Obviously, no special wage rates existed for married men with many dependents and, as will be detailed in later chapters, there was a clear discrepancy between prevailing wages and what was needed to cover a large family budget. For example, the Journeymen Masons' Society estimated that a "family of five persons" in 1819 needed $368 yearly just to cover rent, fuel, and food even though union members' yearly earnings peaked at $399.387 1/2. The remaining money was not enough to cover clothes, education, medical expenses, and other domestic costs.10

As well as having larger families, organized men tended to be older and more socially stable than other journeymen. In the sample group, the age of organized men averaged just under 36 compared with just over 32 for all journeymen.11 The higher average age of the organized working men indicates that rather than moving into the ranks of master craftsmen, many men remained journeymen well into their forties and fifties.12 This was certainly the case for the members of the Journeymen Cordwainers' Union put on trial for conspiracy in 1809-1810; one quarter of the men and their wives were 45 years of age or older in 1810.13 Noting that the vast majority of organized working men were family men of advancing age with large families does not necessarily mean that the average labor movement operative was staid and housebound, but it did usually preclude participation in the more raucous aspects of plebian cultural pursuit.

So, while many recent studies of New York's laboring cultural milieu show journeymen and apprentice craftsmen engaged the city's subculture of ribald drunkenness, tavern violence, minstrel shows, spousal abuse, and rioting; working men with proven organized labor affiliations are noticeably absent from the court records and anecdotal reminiscences of these actions.14 Sean Wilentz, writing on the rough street culture associated with the infamous Bowery B'hoys, even notes that "a Saturday night on the Bowery," or comparable distraction, "had little in common with a meeting of the GTU (General Trades' Union)."15 Instead, such characters as painter Lawrence Pienovi, who was tried for biting off his wife's nose, populated the shadowy underworld of less stable workers. Significantly, Pienovi lived at the home of his uncle, watchmaker, and inventor Peter Stollenwerck, who testified at the trial. Stollenwerck was known at the time in New York for the inspiring panorama that hung in his shop. Wilentz even uses Stollenwerck's panorama to introduce his discussion of artisan life in his seminal work, Chants Democratic. The juxtaposition, however, of Stollenwerck figuring as a model of craftwork and artisanal production while testifying in a case about family domestic abuse reinforces the necessity of studying the relationship between working men's household realities and workplace activities.16

The Role Of Religion


Describing the average organized working man's home life as stable and domestic begs the obvious question about the role that religious (or irreligious) observance and support for moral reform issues such as temperance played in informing the domestic setting. However, because of incomplete or missing records, it is very difficult to construct an accurate portrait of religious and ethnic affiliation for the sample group. Complicating any attempt to create an accurate profile of organized men's religious convictions is the interesting fact that labor organizations specifically decided to avoid conflict by sidestepping the issue. Unlike smaller cities or towns where workers combined homogenous religious ideology with economic conditions to forge a unified labor movement, New York's organized men consciously skirted theological issues because they feared the community's religious and ethnic diversity would doom the nascent labor movement.17 Trades union newspapers such as The Union even remarked in their prospectus that "religious or irreligious discussions, will be excluded from our columns."18 When some members of Noah Cook's Working Men's Party faction tried to inject more religion into their political platform, the Working Man's Advocate made sure to chastise them as "Church and State men" and party members from Ward Eight responded by passing a resolution denouncing any attempts to make the party "religious, (or) irreligious … to be wolves in sheeps' clothing, and in no way friendly to the association."19

Similarly, even explicit religious discussions usually circumvented particular theological debates. Rev. Isaac Thomas Hecker, a Loco Foco baker who later converted to Catholicism and founded the Paulist Order in 1858 remembered that during the 1830s, organized working men "interpreted Christianity as altogether a social institution" where "the religious side of Christ's mission was ignored."20 In his will, ship carpenter Moses Bampton committed his soul "into the hands of Almighty God" and "his son Jesus" and noted his desire for his body to be treated in a "decent and Christian like manner" but did not get any more specific than that.21 Support for the temperance movement also did not peg organized men to any one spiritual group, as anti-drinking advocates came from across the spectrum of religiosity. Adoniram Chandler and Henry Guyon joined the temperance movement as evangelicals, while anti-clerical, anti-religious Robert Dale Owen sought a different path to lessen "intemperance and profligacy."22

It is most likely that the labor community included a small number of religiously- or evangelically-motivated individuals, another small number of free-thinking anti-religious individuals, and a majority who considered themselves culturally Protestant or Catholic and recognized (but did not utilize) scriptural references. George Houston, a printer and supporter of Thomas Skidmore's wing of the Working Men's Party, offers perhaps the best example of an organized working man hostile to established religion. Houston emigrated from England in the 1820s after serving two and a half years in Newgate prison for publishing the first English translation of Baron d'Holbach's L'Histoire de Jésus Christ (republished by Houston as Ecce Homo; Or a Critical Inquiry into the History of Jesus of Nazareth). The controversial work tried to read the gospels rationally and reinterpreted the life of Jesus as a human man and not the son of God.23 Once in New York, Houston published a free enquiry newspaper called The Correspondent that questioned the gospels because there was "no evidence whatever" to authenticate them and attacked the Sabbatarian movement to halt Sunday mail delivery for trying to "prostrate our liberties." He also compared religion to drunkenness, by noting that either condition "expels reason, drowns the memory, drowns the understanding, [and] diminishes health."24

At the other end of the movement, the Loco Foco Party attempted to bring some piety and morality into labor politics. Fitzwilliam Byrdsall, the Party's recording secretary cited the legacy of the Loco Focos as "Christian Democracy," where abuses of the majority were restrained from "the paramount laws of God, and the principles of Christianity."25 Mirroring the larger New York labor movement pattern, Byrdsall never associated the party with one particular denomination or definition of Christianity, but the message about their religiosity was clear. Following their defeat in the 1837 mayoral race, an anonymous pamphleteer even mocked the Loco Focos for their 'holier than thou' brand of moral labor politics. The pamphlet featured a satirical sermon by Jedidey Birchard, L.L.D., D.D., and A.S.S., who claimed that "Jesus was a leader of Loco Focos … he worked some time with his earthy father, at the carpenter trade, and he got his politics during a strike for wages; all great and good men have been workies, real Loco Loco Focos."26 So, alongside some freethinkers, the labor movement did contain a contingent of Christian and temperance moralizers who collectively contributed to a larger demographic trend of organized working men as socially stable husbands and fathers.

The Role of Marriage

Not all organized men were older and married and by the 1830s, a slight demographic shift began which featured more young and single men joining up. This development meant that the Journeymen House Carpenters' Union of 1809 contained a larger percentage of married men heading independent households than the Union Society of Journeymen House Carpenters formed in 1833.27 Overall, organized men's marriage rates still outpaced their contemporaries, but as trade union members grew from the tens of hundreds to the tens of thousands, more single men without children joined. Following similar trends in family size and marriage rates, the average age of organized men did decline slightly in the 1830s, but it still remained higher than the average age of unorganized contemporaries.28


Slightly lower marriage rates for organized working men during the 1830s most likely reflected more about the expense of establishing a family than the desire to remain single. Throughout the period, journeymen increasingly had difficulty finding affordable housing and remained single longer as they sought a desirable domestic space. New York City's population boomed in the period from 1830 to 1835, increasing 33% but without a similar expansion in available residential space. So, the city's growth resulted in a dearth of housing, especially for workers' families.29 The National Trades' Union article, "Deficiency of accommodation for families in New York" noted that it was "almost impracticable to procure a private house … for one's self and one's family."30 This shortage created a real fear for young men who wanted to marry and had found a partner, but had to delay matrimony until they could secure a place to establish a proper family. This fear was well founded. In 1835, for example, there were 1990 new marriages in the city, but only 865 of the 1259 new building constructions added supplementary dwelling space. Residential construction did not keep pace, even with most of the new structures being "two story brick dwellings" or "three story" dwellings built specifically for families.31

Without proper housing options, marriage rates suffered. Working men planned to have large families in the future, but they chose not to marry until they could establish an independent household. Many unmarried workers lived meagerly in boarding houses or with parents or relatives as they saved for the day they could get married and set themselves up as the head of a household. Asa Greene remarked in his 1837 city profile that "Bachelors will postpone the happy hour, until they acquire the wherewithal for supporting a family; which many of them will never be able to do; and of course their pride and prudence will make them continue single all their lives."32 Recognizing this trend in 1834, one pro-labor newspaper's daily "Marriages" column even ran a notice under a blank space, declaring, "If people won't marry, we can't help it."33

What is important about this demographic shift is that while the economic difficulties of the 1830s forced more organized men to remain bachelors later in life, their rhetorical commitment to the institution of marriage and its perceived duties and obligations remained solid.34 The growing numbers of unmarried men that joined the labor movement did not force a related shift in organized men's perceptions of marriage; instead, they continued to champion the notion of ideal working men as petit patriarchs with real domestic obligations. For married labor activists, such an ideal provided a model against which to measure themselves and for single organized men, it provided a model to which they aspired. Day-to-day household responsibilities for a young, unmarried worker in a boarding house certainly took on different forms, but even for this group, there was adherence to the expectation that they would one day marry and tackle household duties similar to their older co-workers.

Detailed in later chapters, the economic realities of the time may have placed working men under more pressure to live up to such an ideal, especially for unmarried workers, but labor movement rhetoric consistently reinforced a narrow set of marriage expectations that assumed a male breadwinner who was responsible for governing the home and his dependents. Support for the institution of marriage saturated artisans' cultural world. Articles littered pro-labor newspapers noting that a proper man performed his duty as husband, while a "man who passes through life without marrying, is like a fair mansion left by the builder unfinished. The half that is finished runs to decay from neglect, or becomes at best a sorry tenement, wanting the addition of that which makes the whole useful."35 Such prescriptive messages clearly maintained that a man's usefulness to society depended upon his decision to marry and uphold husbandly obligations.36

Some workers' discussions about marriage also emphasized that organized men received an economic boon from forming a family. Even though Jeanne Boydston argues that working men did not explicitly acknowledge that they benefited from using their wives' unpaid domestic labor, artisans clearly understood that the unpaid home labor derived from a breadwinner's wife more than replaced the extra expense of supporting a family of two or more. Many artisans sought partners, at least partly, for that reason.37 One example of this view was expressed in the article "Economising Courtship," printed in The Man. The protagonist declared that he "resolved to push my courtship, calculating, that if I got married, I should have a shopkeeper of my own."38 The message here was two-fold: husbands derived an economic benefit from their wives' labor and there was no firm separation between domestic economy and workplace economy. This did not mean that organized men merely calculated relationships as economic mergers undertaken for their sole benefit, but rather it meant that they understood that each family member was responsible for specific economic roles as part of an obligation to the household.

The Family Economy


Since the financial benefits of this version of domestic economics did not reward most journeymen enough to provide completely for their households, artisans' wives and children often contributed to supporting the family. While women engaged in a wide variety of employment opportunities in New York during the early nineteenth century, from factory production to produce selling and even prostitution, it is not clear whether those women married to skilled journeymen participated in an equal range of activities.39 Artisans' wives certainly accepted boarders, washed clothes, sewed outwork and managed the "unpaid labor" of raising children, supervising servants (in the rare event there were any), and organizing the household.40 But it is difficult to estimate how much of this activity occurred only during times of extreme hardship or whether the skilled artisans' wives who left home to look for work and children who left home to scrounge in the neighborhood did so on a regular basis to supplement their households.41

Within this system, organized men's wives and children certainly earned money, contributed to the household's maintenance through unpaid labor, and actively sought outside-the-home economic interactions, but such activities did not alter the worldview that breadwinning male heads of household legally and ideologically represented the family to the wider economic world.42 Based largely on coverture laws that dated from the colonial era, married men ideally acted as conduits between their family of so-called dependents and numerous economic, political, and legal institutions.43 It is important to remember here that the vast majority of organized men headed households with multiple dependents and, as Deborah A. Rosen shows, by the end of the eighteenth century, the entrenchment of the early national legal and economic system severely curtailed married women's opportunities for independent financial and legal action.44 Women managed, nevertheless, to participate in public economic relations. When members of the Seventh Ward asked the Common Council for the creation of a new market, their petition noted that "a number of the said Ward are Mechanics and are therefore obliged to attend to their daily employment on account of which most of their wives and children are compelled to do their daily marketting (sic)." Even though this document is, on one hand, a validation of women and children's outside-the-home economic activity, it is crafted with the legal voice and authoritative position of the petit patriarch.45

Organized men's perceived household obligation to provide for numerous dependents through their market engagement significantly shaped their public voice and representation; working men and their families championed such obligations and developed a breadwinner ethic in support of them in spite of the reality of other family member's economic activities.46 Detailing the work experiences of organized men's wives is difficult given the dearth of records available, but one telling example comes from a petition concerning Elizabeth Kline in 1801. Elizabeth petitioned the city because her "husband is a Rope Maker by trade and works as a Journeyman for the support of his family, but not having been able to meet with constant employment, he has got behind hand with his House Rent." She therefore asked the council for the "privilege of Selling Coffee and Chocolate in the Catherine Market" in order to assist her husband, "in the support of his family."47 Even as she made arrangements to set up her own business, Elizabeth Kline's words reinforced her husband's ultimate responsibility for providing for the household by signaling that it was his rent to pay and his family to support.

As the Kline family story suggests, individual working men often struggled to fulfill their perceived household obligations and uphold domestic duties. Sometimes, this called upon them to make real sacrifices in the name of family (whether or not it was in the name of love). John Doyle, an immigrant and member of the New York Typographical Society, wrote a series of letters to his wife, Fanny, who was living in Kilkenny, Ireland detailing the lengths he would go to for their relationship. Unable to afford to move Fanny to America, John traveled from Philadelphia to New York for printing work, but could not find steady employment. For the sake of getting enough money to move his wife closer to him, Doyle decided to leave the printing trade. He resolved to "turn myself to something else, seeing that there was nothing to be got from idleness."48 Whatever loyalty Doyle had to his trade and the mysteries of his craft, he was willing to set them aside to fulfill his family obligations.

A very different type of gesture was made by shoemaker Oramel Bingham, who became an evangelical Baptist at the insistence of Samuel Dodge, the father of his fiancée Elizabeth McIntire Dodge. Samuel would not allow Elizabeth to marry anyone who was not a Baptist and Oramel quickly obliged. These brief anecdotes from John Doyle's and Oramel Bingham's lives demonstrate organized men's commitment to their nuptials and the sacrifices they made to keep their families together.


Because working men and their wives created relationships to deal with the bad times as much as the good, it meant that sickness, death, and providing for one's family after an untimely demise became vital issues of domestic obligation for organized working men and the labor organizations they formed. For working men in their mid-thirties, there was no promise of an extended breadwinning future. At a time when the crude death rate (deaths per 1000) in New York City ran as high as any city in the United States and higher than an English city of comparable size such as Liverpool, the average age of organized men should not be overlooked.49

John H. Griscom's 1840 study of workers' living conditions highlighted that life expectancy for the average tradesmen and their family was only 22 years.50 While this statistic included a high infant and child mortality, a 20-year-old man at the time could expect to die by age 50 and a 30-year-old could not plan on seeing their 55th year.51 Griscom's treatise on The Sanitary Conditions of the Laboring Class of New York also cited the possibility of illness or threat to worker's health from poor ventilation. He noted that a full "inquiry into the amount of air allowed" to "laborers in work-shops, will exhibit a degree of neglect, or ignorance, in relation to this vitally important subject."52

One trades' union newspaper tried to reassure married working men that the prognosis was not that dire by reporting that "Dr. Casper, of Berlin, from a number of statistical returns and tables, has come to the conclusion that the average life of married people is better than that of the single."53 However, the doctor's study could not cure mortality. Working men surely understood that at their average age of 35 or 36, they were probably half way through their productive working years.

A glimpse into the lives of Society of Journeymen Shipwrights and Caulkers members shows the precariousness of organized working men's lives. From May 1815 to June 1817 for instance, union association fluctuated between 161 and 20 individuals, but over the same period at least ten members died and three more went away to sea.54 The union's minute book noted the support of some of these men's families after their deaths, including the payment on October 12, 1815, of "$9 for the widow Mills."55 A few years later, the union's account book recorded that "Widow Catherine Dunn" was "pensioned on August 19, 1819 by treasurer paid in two installments for the year on May 19 and November 19 at $17.50 per payment."56 Showing that the union's benefit review mechanisms worked properly, the November 19th payment exactly marked the one year anniversary of the death of Abraham Dunn, Catherine's husband. Widows surely needed such contributions; Catherine Dunn maintained a household with six children well into the next decade. 57 Through these payments of widow's benefits, organized men showed their awareness and their commitment to familial obligations even after death.

Related document:
Moses Bampton's Will
Another way to analyze a working man's family ties was through his decisions made in writing a will. Organized working men's wills clearly demonstrate that their first concern after their own demise was ensuring family welfare. Contemporary laws of coverture required that widows received at least one third of her husband's property (the dower portion) after his death. Most working men who made wills gave more. Benjamin Young, a member of the Typographical Society, prepared a will that bestowed, "all my Estate real personal and mixed unto my wife Matilda Young and my three children." It went on to declare that "my said Wife shall have for her own use all my Household and Kitchen furniture and I bequeath the same to her."58 John Florence Sr. of the New York Union Society of House Carpenters similarly left his wife Anna Maria Florence "all my estate of every name and kind and all my property of every name and kind which I may have to be intrusted (sic) in at the time of my decease whether the same consists of real estate personal estate goods chattels claims demands rights in action or otherwise."59 Tailor Seth Tuttle even cited a changing notion of coverture and his wife's right to more than the traditional thirds in his will, which left his wife Maria the use of "Rent issues" that were "over and above her right of dower."60 As these probate records show, Young, Florence, and Tuttle, along with dozens of other organized men, used their wills to make final gestures to their families.


Organized men's wills did more than make arrangements for the disposal of their real and personal estates: they left written records, often the only ones, of the material connection between these men and their wives, children, and relatives. But how did they compare with the larger artisan community or other sectors of the populace in this respect? Certainly not every artisan or trade unionist in the early nineteenth century owned a significant amount of property or left extant probate records, but investigating how those that did willed what little they possessed offers some insight into their familial relations. David E. Narrett found in his study of family life and inheritance patterns in colonial New York City that married artisans in the city a generation or two earlier bequeathed their wives all or nearly all of their property only 44.8 % of the time. The remainder of these probate records included provisions for one half or one third of the property, or even an irregular mixed amount.61 Using a sample of married organized men's probate records from the period 1800-1840, very different figures emerge: over 87% of these organized men left their entire or almost entire amount of property to their wives.62

There are numerous personal and legal reasons why working men left their wives a greater percentage in the nineteenth century than they did in the previous century. In a typical example, tailor Archibald Bulkley explained that he left his entire estate to his wife Ann because of his "perfect confidence in my said Wife that she will manage my Estate to the best advantage and expend it prudently in the maintenance of herself and the support and Education of my children."63 While this pattern does not suggest that an organized artisan in 1820 loved his wife or cared about his family any more than an artisan did fifty years earlier, it does suggest that the onset of the market revolution and industrial capitalism did not adversely affect inheritance-based familial relationships. Organized working men first and foremost defined themselves as husbands and fathers, even as they assessed their lives and made plans for their legacy. 64

Connection to Neighborhoods

Probate records show, unsurprisingly, that organized men's closest relationships occurred with their immediate families, but they also reveal important neighborhood ties that workers fostered in connection to the households that surrounded their own.65 Through the development of residential patterns, associations with neighbors, and work as volunteer firemen, artisans integrated their households into larger journeymen's communities. Such links were extremely significant. At a time when many men and their families walked the fine line between poverty and relative comfort, it was necessary to be constantly vigilant about factors affecting domestic economy. Because a rent increase or sudden fire could prove as devastating as unemployment, sickness, or death, neighborhood ties helped working men to face household uncertainty collectively and subsequently shaped the structure and agenda of organized labor.

Ties between trades unions and neighborhoods were more than mere coincidence; they formed an important part of the organization's bond and reflected the link between its activities and the relationships that these men had to their households. While there was not always a direct linkage between residential distribution and trade union membership, some clear patterns are noticeable. The members of the Journeymen Cordwainers' Union that stood trial in the landmark 1809-1810 conspiracy case occupied multiple wards of the city, but usually lived close to other members within a given ward. The families of Daniel Allen and William Abernathy actually shared the building at 36 Hudson Street and both John Wilcox and Sam Browning lived at the corner of Cherry and James in the Fourth Ward.66

City Wards and Shipwrights' and Caulkers' Union Members' Homes The most pointed example of a trade union-specific neighborhood occurred in the Seventh Ward among members of the Society of Journeymen Shipwrights and Caulkers. Over the three-year period between May 1815 and June 1818, the union averaged only seventy-nine members annually, but more than fifty members and their families lived within a few blocks of each other.67 The Shipwrights' map shows the distribution of Society members' households and uses different colors to distinguish the population density for given streets. Detail of Seventh Ward from Hooker's 1833 Map of New York City Green streets contained eleven or more members, yellow streets contained four to ten members, red streets contained two or three members, and blue streets contained one member. Aside from two members who lived near one another on Spring Street in the Eighth Ward and one man in the Fourth Ward, all of the identifiable union members inhabited a close-knit neighborhood in the Seventh Ward. This location was near the shipyards where they worked, importantly helping to unify, rather than separate the domestic sphere and the work sphere.


A generation later in the 1830s, neighborhood ties still remained strong and crucial to the labor movement. An investigation of the new member list from the New York Union Society of House Carpenters shows that many recruits came to the union as neighbors or even co-boarders in the same buildings. Typical of this process was the list of new members from January 14, 1836 that included: George Snyder, Charles Herder, and Charles Zane all from 73 Grand Street, and William Williamson and Theodore Abett of 101 Reade Street. Similarly, at the next monthly meeting both E. Minister and H. S. Shurkettle of 25 Dye Street and William Hawthorne and William J. McCormick of 145 Greenwich Street became new members.68

William N. Black's analysis of Union Society members found that these artisans often moved from house to house during the mid-1830s, but remained within the close confines of Wards Eight and Nine. For example, nearly 60% of union carpenters with a tax assessment of over $500 of property lived on the same street for more than five years during the 1830s. Even for union members too poor to be assessed at such a level, over 66% changed street addresses two or fewer times over the course of the decade.69 It was not so much that these house carpenters (or other organized men) stayed in the same house or apartment for many years, but rather that they established important bonds with co-workers through domestic ties and did not readily abandon existing community relationships. Membership in a union or labor political party was a neighborhood- and household-related activity as much as it was a work-related activity.

Organized working men's neighborhood ties reflected more than settlement patterns; they also expressed an economic relationship to their local community. Organized journeymen in the sample group paid more in average monthly rent and held larger real and personal estates than other working men. While only 83.8% of non-organized men paid a rent of at least $5 monthly in 1819, 94.5% of organized men paid the sum of $5 or more. This discrepancy may have been partly caused by the necessity for more space because of larger families, but whatever the reason, organized men made a greater investment in housing. Likewise, they had a larger economic stake in the neighborhood. Organized journeymen held total estates of at least $100, 5.5% of the time as compared with 1.7% for non-organized journeymen.70 It is hard to gauge whether or not larger estates created better or closer ties with neighbors, but it certainly inspired the desire to improve and protect the neighborhood. Loco Foco leader Moses Jacques even sent a petition to the city council asking for permission to place building materials in the street while he constructed a house on Whitehall Street so as not to disturb his neighbors or annoy city officials.71

As residents with an economic investment in the neighborhood, organized men took steps to protect their homes and surroundings by volunteering as firemen. While there are no statistics to show that men who joined the labor movement between 1800 and 1840 also served more frequently as firemen, those occupations that produced large numbers of firemen also featured active trade unions. More than any other skilled craftsmen, shipwrights and house carpenters earned acclaim as volunteer firemen in the first decades of the nineteenth century in New York City. Because of their particular artisanal skills in house construction and knowledge of building materials, city officials and residents sought these tradesmen as the best-qualified to deal with buildings at risk.72 Labor activists also populated the ranks of these trades and many can be found in the records as firefighters. House carpenter (and Working Men's Party leader) Henry G. Guyon volunteered for over a decade as part of Hook & Ladder Company No. 3, as did members of the Society of Journeymen Shipwrights and Caulkers such as Henry Eckford, Richard Morrill, Stephen Thorn, and Francis Gantre.73 Even years later when Eckford rose to become a master craftsman, he organized a volunteer fire company with the journeymen in his own shop.74

This picture of firemen as stable heads of household protecting their domestic and neighborhood spheres offers quite a contrast with the one that would develop in the 1840s, best personified by "Fighting Mose," a fictional Bowery B'hoy character who fought other men as often as he fought fires.75 However, from the turn of the century and through the 1830s, firemen persisted in celebrating their connection to the local community and family support. The Fireman's Gazette even boasted that the fire department "feeds the hungry and clothes the naked" while assisting "widows and orphans."76 Rather than outgrowths of rowdy youth culture, organized volunteer firemen in the early decades of the nineteenth century represented the legacy of a conscious attempt to protect their own families' homes and neighborhoods.


Many organized men volunteered as firemen because fires presented specific economic challenges for working men and their families, not just because they were abstract dangers that required lip-service protection. Even a small blaze disrupted land prices, rents, and the ability of a working family to find a place to live. The loss of a home was the most significant way a fire touched organized men and their families' neighborhoods, but it was hardly the only way.77 This can best be seen in the devastating fires of 1835 that started with a few small conflagrations during the summer and culminated in the Great Fire of December 16th. This one inferno leveled 674 buildings on 18 different blocks, sending the housing market into chaos and contributing to the paralysis felt by young artisans trying to establish a family.78 Shocked ministers, like William Ware of the First Congregational Unitarian Church, delivered sermons that tried to soothe a city where everyone was overcome: "the idle and the industrious, the good and the bad, the rich and the poor."79

Even though most of the burnt buildings were not residential, let alone organized men's quarters, their demise sent a city-wide ripple through the housing market and disrupted working men's domestic lives. Most of the post-fire rebuilding concentrated on lucrative commercial investments, causing a two-pronged effect on housing rates. First, the rise in commercial building caused New York land values to skyrocket in 1836. They rose 62% in one year after averaging between 8% and 10% annually earlier in the decade.80 Second, the dearth of housing construction made a tight rental market even tighter for struggling families. Philip Hone noted in his diary on March 12, 1836, that "everything in New York is at an exorbitant price. Rents have risen 50 per cent for the next year."81 One newspaper exclaimed that some rents "since the great fire" rose 100% and in some instances "they have been raised two hundred [percent]."82 To add insult to injury, both Congress and the New York state legislature passed bills providing relief for many of the merchants who lost goods in the fire without subsequently assisting working families who faced increasing rents.83 An 1836 strike-wave directed by the General Trades' Union directly responded to these rent changes, which threatened to destabilize their neighborhoods and, more importantly, their household economies.

Household Concerns

Like other threats and perceived threats to working men's domestic stability examined in later chapters, organized men experienced the Great Fire as husbands and fathers and chose to act on behalf of their families. This was not a unique or uncharacteristic posture. Organized men self-identified as family men and experienced life through their domestic and neighborhood relationships. As this demographic portrait of organized working men illustrates, organized working men married at higher rates than workers in general, were older, and also headed larger and more expensive families. Even through the 1830s, when the mean rates in these categories fell slightly to reflect a growing number of younger, unmarried men in the ranks, they still outpaced other working men. Moreover, the demographic shift did not affect the group's views and expectations about marriage.

Throughout the era, organized men remained committed to the ideal image of a working man bound to his household and familial obligations. Such obligations not only included breadwinning and maintenance of one's own family, but also an allegiance to the neighborhood. Through deciding where to reside, how to interact with neighbors, and whether to belong to volunteer fire companies, organized men demonstrated their ties to the extended domestic environment surrounding them. Simply because organized men overwhelmingly headed families and felt pressure to fulfill household and neighborhood duties did not mean that they performed or satisfied such roles better than their non-organized neighbors; but it did mean that as a group they had unique concerns. Working men championed a household dynamic where they occupied the top position. However, as petit patriarchs ruling landless estates in the guise of rented apartments, they lived in a constant state of discomfort. As the market revolution transformed New York's economy in the early nineteenth century, they increasingly perceived numerous financial, workplace, and political threats to their tenuous domestic position.

Journeyman Tailor working at home in an attic Such threats do not imply simple causality as much as they properly contextualize the range of factors that contributed to organized men's decision to form labor organizations and the agenda of those organizations. In other words, household obligations played as important a role in labor activism and politics as workplace obligations played in domestic experiences. No separate home and work spheres existed for working men and their families. One pamphlet published during the Journeymen Tailor's Union strike in 1836 demonstrates how this relationship worked. The tract, entitled A Dialogue Between Strike and Steady, Two Journeymen Tailors, in Relations to Trade Unions, etc. focuses on a conversation between tailors deliberating their union, its strike, and its dramatic conspiracy trial. Noting on the cover that profits from the piece were to be "applied for the benefit of Journeymen Tailors and their families, who are in distress," the dialogues took place within the tailors' homes so that their wives and children could offer their opinions about unionism.84


Recent scholarship associates the labor movement with the ideological aspects of artisan republicanism and working-class/workplace consciousness, but by doing so, it sidesteps the domestic arena as a vital setting for understanding organized labor. Even studies which utilize gender as a methodological lens into the period view the relationship between working men and the household as tense at best.85

This study argues that a very different portrait of organized laborers and their activities and rhetoric emerges when seen as an outgrowth of domestic concerns and obligations. While these men satisfied workplace obligations through their labor, they also satisfied family and neighborhood obligations through their support of wives, children, and neighbors. Critical to this argument is the ability to make evident the natural placement of working men within the homes and residential neighborhoods of the city. While this chapter has focused on demonstrating the important place of the average organized working man within a household milieu, the following chapter examines how this looked for two individuals: house carpenter Robert Townsend Jr. and printer Theophilus Eaton.


Note 1: John Frazee, "The Autobiography of Frazee, the Sculptor," The North American Quarterly Magazine 6, number 31 (July, 1835), 22. back

Note 2: Frazee later married Lydia Place. For more on his life, see Linda Hyman, "From Artisan to Artist: John Frazee and the Politics of Culture in Antebellum America" (Ph.D. Diss., City University of New York, 1978). back

Note 3: I created the sample group of 1158 organized men by identifying 16 men from the Journeymen Cordwainers' Union, 289 men from the New York Typographical Society, 255 men from the New York Society of Journeymen Shipwrights and Caulkers, and 598 men that participated in the General Trades' Union, Working Men's Party, or Union Society of Journeymen House Carpenters. The portrait is constructed through petitions, census, tax assessment, probate, insolvency court, and other records to detail the domestic experiences of these men. back

Note 4: These figures are based on the New York City Census and Jury List, 1819, New York Historical Society Manuscript Division. I looked at information from a total of 1271 households from Wards Two, Four, Six, Seven, and Eight. One member of the printers union was located in Ward Five in New York City Census, The 5th Ward of New York, Manuscript Book Belonging to Abraham Ackerman, New York Historical Society Manuscript Division. Of these, 1180 were skilled journeymen's households and 91 belonged to organized men as set down by the parameters set above in note three. back

Note 5: The number of men in the city was 83,037, with 83,049 women. More than half, 51.59%, of these men between 16-45 were married. In artisan-heavy Wards Eight and Ten, the percentages of unmarried women were 46.4% and 37.8%, respectively. See Census of the State of New-York, for 1825 (Albany: Croswell, Van Benthuysen, & Burt, 1826). Ten years later, these percentages rose, but only slightly to 52.83%. See Census of the State of New-York, for 1835 (Albany: Croswell, Van Benthuysen, & Burt, 1836). back

Note 6: I would like to thank Bruce Dorsey for bringing this important point to my attention. back

Note 7: New York City Census and Jury List, 1819. back

Note 8: New York Journeymen Shipwrights Society, Constitution of the New York Journeymen Shipwrights Society Adopted January 5, 1804 (New York: T. and J. Swords, 1804), Papers of the Society of Journeymen Shipwrights and Caulkers, Roll of Members, May 1815-June 1817, New York Public Library Rare Book and Manuscript Division, Papers of the Society of Journeymen Shipwrights and Caulkers, Minute Book 1815-1816, New York Public Library Rare Book and Manuscript Division, and Edmund P. Willis, Tax and Census Records, New York City, 1789-1790 and 1810 [Computer File]. ICPSR Version. (New York: Edmund P. Willis, City University of New York [producer], 1977) (Ann Arbor: ICPSR [distributor], 2000). back

Note 9: Diana Wall gives these household sizes for middling and elite homes in 1810, respectably, see Diana diZerega Wall, The Archeology of Gender: Separating the Spheres in Urban America (New York: Plenum Press, 1994), 87-105, 183-185. back

Note 10: Evening Post, May 27, 1819 and May 31, 1819. back

Note 11: Organized men averaged 35.85 years, while all journeymen averaged 32.71 years. See New York City Census and Jury List, 1819. back

Note 12: Carol Pernicone found that journeymen accounted for 21.1% of her sample of all artisans over fifty in the Sixth Ward. See Carol Groneman Pernicone, "The 'Bloody Ould Sixth': A Social Analysis of a New York City Working-Class Community in the Mid-Nineteenth Century," (Ph.D. diss., University of Rochester, 1973), 28. back

Note 13: Edmund P. Willis, Tax and Census Records, New York City, 1789-1790 and 1810. back

Note 14: See specifically Michael Kaplan, "The World of the B'Hoys: Urban Violence and the Political Culture of Antebellum New York City, 1825-1860" (Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1996), Mary Beth Hamilton, "'The Life of a Citizen in the Hands of a Woman': Sexual Assault in New York City, 1790-1820" in William Pencak and Conrad Edick Wright eds., New York and the Rise of American Capitalism: Economic Development and the Social and Political History of an American State, 1780-1870 (New York: New-York Historical Society, 1989), 228-248, Christine Stansell, City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789-1860 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986), 78-83, and Howard Rock, Artisans of the New Republic: The Tradesmen of New York City in the Age of Jefferson (New York: New York University Press, 1979), 295-322. On minstrel shows see Eric Lott, Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), David R. Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (New York: Verso Press, 1991), 115-131, Alexander Saxton, "Blackface Minstrelsy and Jacksonian Ideology" American Quarterly 27 (March, 1975), 3-28, and Alexander Saxton, The Rise and Fall of the White Republic: Class Politics and Mass Culture in Nineteenth Century America (New York: Verso Press, 1990). Paul A. Gilje cogently demonstrates how artisans often led or participated in the regular cycle of mob action in the early nineteenth century; however, organized working men's participated in few such instances of street violence outside of trade union strikes. See Paul A. Gilje, The Road to Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City, 1763-1834 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987). back

Note 15: Sean Wilentz, Chants Democratic: New York City and the Rise of the American Working Class, 1788-1850 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), 262. back

Note 16: See Report of the Trial of Pienovi for Biting Off His Wife's Nose Extracted From the New-York Judicial Repository for September, 1818 (New York: n. p., 1818. Another example comes from the story of John Williamson, a journeyman shoemaker who starved his wife to death by hanging her in a closet. His story and a graphic image of the crime appear in The Malefactors' Register; or Bloody Calendar: Containing Genuine and Circumstantial Narratives of the Lives, Trials, and Dying Speeches of Some of the Most Notorious Criminals, Who Have Suffered Death or Other Punishments, in Great Britain, Ireland, and America (New York: Hardcastle & Van Pelt, 1813), 16. D. Fraser of 178 Williams Street printed the image separately. back

Note 17: See Anthony Wallace, Rockdale: The Growth of an American Village in the Early Industrial Revolution: An Account of the Coming of the Machines, The Making of a New Way of Life in the Mill Hamlets, The Triumph of Evangelical Capitalists Over Socialists and Infidels, and The Transformation of the Workers Into Christian Soldiers in a Cotton-Manufacturing District in Pennsylvania in the Years Before and During the Civil War (New York: W.W. Norton, 1978) and David G. Hackett, The Rude Hand of Innovation: Religion and Social Order in Albany, New York, 1652-1836 (New York: Oxford Press, 1991), Jama Lazerow, Religion and the Working Class in Antebellum America (Washington: Smithsonian Institute Press, 1995), William R. Sutton, Journeymen for Jesus: Evangelical Artisans Confront Capitalism in Jacksonian Baltimore (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998), and William R. Sutton, "Tied to the Whipping Post: New Labor History and Evangelical Artisans in the Early Republic," Labor History 36 (Spring, 1995), 251-81. back

Note 18: The Union, April 21, 1836. back

Note 19: Working Man's Advocate, October 30, 1830 and January 16, 1830. back

Note 20: Rev. Isaac T. Hecker, "Dr. Brownson and the Working Man's Party Fifty Years Ago," Catholic World 45 (May, 1887), 205. back

Note 21: Record of Wills and Probates, 1787-1879, Probate Records, Wills of New York County, Volume 100, page 80. back

Note 22: For Chandler and Guyon see Wilentz, Chants Democratic, 207. Robert Dale Owen, Moral Physiology; or, a Brief and Plain Treatise on the Population Question 4th Ed., (New York: Wright and Owen, 1831), 32. back

Note 23: For more on the controversy in England and Houston's trial, see Public Records Office, Treasury Solicitor's Papers, 11/47/183, Rex vs. Houston. Houston's Memorial to the Attorney-General, 25 May 1814, Privy Council Papers, 1/4032, Information from Houston, notes respecting Ecce Homo drawn up in Newgate, 29 February 1816, 5 March 1816, Privy Council Papers, 1/4032, Mitcham to Houston, 3 July 1813, Brown to Houston 1 and 21 July, 13 August, December 1813, Information from Houston, 29 February 1816, and Privy Council Papers, 1/4032, Brown to Houston,14 and 23 September 1813. See also John Dinwiddy, "William Cobbett, George Houston, and Freethought," Notes and Queries, 222 (July 1977) 355-9. back

Note 24: The Correspondent, January 12, 1828, July 18, 1829, and January 31, 1829. On Houston and New York's Jewish community see Jonathan D. Sarna, "The Freethinker, the Jews, and the Missionaries: George Houston and the Mystery of Israel Vindicated" AJS Review 5 (1980), 101-114. back

Note 25: Fitzwilliam Byrdsall, The History of the Loco-Foco or Equal Rights Party: Its Movements, Conventions, and Proceedings With Short Characteristic Sketches of Its Prominent Men (New York: Clement and Packard, 1842), 189. back

Note 26: Jedidey Birchard, Loco Foco forever!!! Or, Downfall of Tammany!! : Being the heads and tails of a discourse delivered by the Right Rev. Father in God, Jedidey Birchard, L.L.D., D.D. and A.S.S., at the Chatham Show Shop, on last Sabbath Ev'g. (New York: s.n., [1837]). back

Note 27: On members of the union, see New York Union Society of House Carpenters, Constitution, By Laws, Roll of Members, 1833-1836, New York Public Library, Rare Book and Manuscript Division. back

Note 28: For more on demographic patterns for the post-1830 period, see New York Union Society of House Carpenters, Constitution, By Laws, Roll of Members, 1833-1836 and William Neill Black, "The Union Society of Journeymen House Carpenters: A Test in Residential Mobility in New York City, 1830-1840" (M.A. thesis, Columbia University, 1975). back

Note 29: The population rose from 202,589 to 270,089 from 1830 to 1835. Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. Study 00003: Historical Demographic and Census of the State of New-York, for 1835. On housing for the workers in the 1830s see Elizabeth Blackmar, Manhattan For Rent, 1785-1850 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989), 109-148. back

Note 30: National Trades' Union, July 11, 1835. back

Note 31: Marriage statistics are from the Census of the State of New-York, for 1835 and the construction figures are from Blackmar, Manhattan For Rent, 1785-1850, 276. See National Trades' Union, January 31, 1835. back

Note 32: Asa Greene, A Glance at New York: Embracing the City Government, Theatres, Hotels, Churches, Mobs, Monopolies, Learned Professions, Newspapers, Rogues, Dandies, Fires and Firemen, Water and Other Liquids, &c. &c. (New York: Published by Asa Greene, 1837), 19. back

Note 33: The Man, March 7, 1834. back

Note 34: See The Man, May 17, 1834, National Trades' Union, November 14, 1835, and National Trades' Union, March 12, 1836 for three examples of pro-marriage articles among the dozens that appeared in pro-labor newspapers printed in the 1830s. back

Note 35: The Man, May 17, 1834. back

Note 36: For an example of a cultural depiction of a working man's desire to marry, see The Gosport Tragedy, or, The Perjured Ship-Carpenter; To Which is Added, The Rapids; and The Done over Tailor (New York: n.p., 1812). back

Note 37: On wives' unpaid labor, see Nancy Folbre and Barnet Wagman, "Counting Housework: New Estimates of Real Product in the United States, 1800-1860," Journal of Economic History 53, number 2 (June, 1993), 275-288, Jeanne Boydston, "To Earn Her Daily Bread," in Vicki L. Ruiz and Ellen DuBois, eds., Unequal Sisters: A Multicultural Reader in U.S. Women's History (New York: Routledge Publishing, 1994) 54, and Jeanne Boydston, Home and Work: Housework, Wages, and the Ideology of Labor in the Early Republic (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990) 152-163. back

Note 38: The Man, April 17, 1834. back

Note 39: On female employment, see Christine Stansell, City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789-1860 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987), Paul A. Gilje and Howard B. Rock eds., Keepers of the Revolution: New Yorkers at Work in the Early Republic (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992), 244-280, and Barbara Mayer Wertheimer, We Were There: the Story of Working Women in America (New York: Pantheon Books, 1977). back

Note 40: For more, see Boydston, Home and Work, 99-163 and Nancy Folbre and Wagman Barnet, "Counting Housework: New Estimates of Real Product in the United States, 1800-1860," Journal of Economic History 53, number 2 (June, 1993) 275-288. back

Note 41: Stansell, City of Women, 50-54. back

Note 42: For a different model of household and work relations between men and women, see Mary H. Blewett, Men, Women, and Work: Class, Gender, and Protest in the New England Shoe Industry, 1780-1910 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988). back

Note 43: As Joan Gunderson writes of the period, "the interplay of Revolutionary rhetoric concerning independence with the need to define citizenship and the socioeconomic status of women resulted in a series of social, economic, and political discussions that presumed women to be members of a dependent class." See Joan R. Gundersen, "Independence, Citizenship, and the American Revolution," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 13, number 1 (Autumn, 1987), 59-60. For challenges to this system, see Amy Dru Stanley, From Bondage to Contract: Wage Labor, Marriage, and the Market in the Age of Slave Emancipation (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998). For an interesting view of what these household dynamics meant in slaveholding society, see Stephanie McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds: Yeoman Households, Gender Relations, and the Political Culture of the Antebellum South Carolina Low Country (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995). back

Note 44: Deborah A. Rosen, Courts and Commerce: Gender, Law, and the Market Economy in Colonial New York (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1997), 111-137. Rosen also notes that even as merchants began to move toward more individualistic notions of market dynamics within such systems, artisans lagged behind. back

Note 45: New York, December 11, 1795, City Clerk Filed Papers, Municipal Archives of the City of New York. back

Note 46: Bruegel also shows the importance of collective dynamics in the development of market economics in upstate New York. See Martin Bruegel, Farm, Shop, Landing: The Rise of a Market Society in the Hudson Valley, 1780-1860 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002). See Chapter Five for fuller analysis of breadwinner ideology. For an interesting discussion of why women married to organized men supported their calls for a family wage and representative market engagement even if working women did not, see Chapter Three of Alice Kessler-Harris, A Women's Wage: Historical Meanings and Social Consequences (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1990). back

Note 47: "Petition of Elizabeth Kline," City Clerk Filed Papers, August 22, 1801, New York City Municipal Archives. (Italics are mine). This document is also reprinted in Gilje and Rock eds., Keepers of the Revolution, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992), 261-264. back

Note 48: "Letter of John Doyle to His Wife, Fanny, January 25, 1818" quoted in Paul A. Gilje and Howard B. Rock, eds., Keepers of the Revolution: New Yorkers at Work in the Early Republic (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992), 85. On Doyle and the Typographical Society, see Lause, Some Degree of Power. back

Note 49: Crude death rates for New York City in 1810 were 21.5, rising to 28.4 and 27.3 for 1820 and 1830, respectively. See Ira Rosenwaike, Population History of New York City (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1972), 17 and 176. Liverpool's crude death rate between 1817 and 1827 was 21. Philadelphia's rate was higher, but that was because its statistics included stillbirths. For comparisons with other cities, see Susan E. Klepp, Philadelphia in Transition: A Demographic History of the City and Its Occupational Groups, 1720-1830 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1989), 242-3 and Louise Kantrow, "Life Expectancy of the Gentry in Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia" Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 133, number 2 (June, 1989), 312-327. back

Note 50: John H. Griscom, The Sanitary Condition of the Laboring Population of New York. With Suggestions For its Improvement. A Discourse (With Additions) Delivered on the 30th December, 1844, at the Repository of the New York Hospital; Late Physician of the City and Eastern Dispensaries (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1845), 22. Comparably, unskilled laborers and their families' average age of death was 15, while merchants and professionals averaged 35 years. For more on Griscom, see Charles E. Rosenberg and Carroll S. Rosenberg, "Pietism and the Origins of the American Public Health Movement: A Note on John H. Griscom and Robert M. Hartley" Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 23, issue 1 (January, 1968), 16-35. back

Note 51: Mary Dalton, "Mortality in New York City A Century And A Quarter Ago" Human Biology 6, number 1 (Feb. 1934), 90. back

Note 52: Griscom, The Sanitary Conditions, 11. back

Note 53: National Trades' Union, March 12, 1836. back

Note 54: Papers of the Society of Journeymen Shipwrights and Caulkers, Roll of Members, May 1815-June 1817, New York Public Library Rare Book and Manuscript Division. back

Note 55: Papers of the Society of Journeymen Shipwrights and Caulkers, Minute Book 1815-1816, New York Public Library Rare Book and Manuscript Division. back

Note 56: Papers of the Society of Journeymen Shipwrights and Caulkers, Account Book 1818-1827, New York Public Library Rare Book and Manuscript Division. back

Note 57: Papers of the Society of Journeymen Shipwrights and Caulkers, Roll of Members, May 1815-June 1818, New York Public Library Rare Book and Manuscript Division. back

Note 58: Record of Wills and Probates, 1787-1879, Probate Records, Wills of New York County, Volume 59, page 293, New York State Archives. back

Note 59: Record of Wills and Probates, 1787-1879, Probate Records, Wills of New York County, Volume 100, page 498. On the dates of union membership see New York Union Society of House Carpenters, Constitution, By Laws, Roll of Members, 1833-1836. back

Note 60: Record of Wills and Probates, 1787-1879, Probate Records, Wills of New York County, Volume 55, page 217. back

Note 61: David E. Narrett, Inheritance and Family Life in Colonial New York City (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992), 96-98. The date range for these figures is 1751-1775. back

Note 62: Record of Wills and Probates, 1787-1879, Probate Records, Wills of New York County. My sample included 50 wills, 31 of which belonged to married men, 27 of whom left all or nearly all to their wives, with only 12.9% leaving only a half or a third. back

Note 63: Record of Wills and Probates, 1787-1879, Probate Records, Wills of New York County, Volume 61, page 195. back

Note 64: Sculptor and Working Men's Party candidate John Frazee named his second wife Lydia as his estates' administrator before he died in 1852. As part of her duties, she penned an 1860 request to the United States Senate to collect a debt for work he performed on the New York City custom house. See U.S. Congress, Senate, A Bill For the Relief of Lydia Frazee, Widow and Administratrix of John Frazee, Late of New York, 36th Cong., 1st Sess., 1860. S. Doc. 208. back

Note 65: See Nan A. Rothschild, New York City Neighborhoods: The 18th Century (New York: Academic Press, 1990). back

Note 66: Edmund P. Willis, Tax and Census Records, New York City, 1789-1790 and 1810. back

Note 67: Papers of the Society of Journeymen Shipwrights and Caulkers, Roll of Members, May 1815-June 1817, New York Public Library Rare Book and Manuscript Division and New York City Census and Jury List, 1819. back

Note 68: New York Union Society of House Carpenters, Constitution, By Laws, Roll of Members, 1833-1836, New York Public Library, Rare Book and Manuscript Division, January 14, 1836 and February 11, 1836. back

Note 69: William Neill Black, "The Union Society of Journeymen House Carpenters: A Test in Residential Mobility in New York City, 1830-1840" (M.A. thesis, Columbia University, 1975), 52-56 and charts 7A, 7B, 8A, and 8B. back

Note 70: New York City Census and Jury List, 1819. back

Note 71: See Common Council minutes for March 30, 1818 in Minutes of the Common Council of the City of New York, 1784-1831 volume 9, (New York: City of New York, 1917), 563. back

Note 72: See Augustine E. Costello, Our Firemen: A History of the New York Fire Departments, Volunteer and Paid (New York: A. E. Costello, 1887), 623-624 and Richard B. Calhoun, "From Community to Metropolis: Fire Protection in New York City, 1790-1875" (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1973). back

Note 73: Guyon became a fireman in 1819. See Minutes of the Common Council of the City of New York for June 14, 1819. For shipwrights who were firemen, see Papers of the Society of Journeymen Shipwrights and Caulkers, Roll of Members, May 1815-June 1817, New York Public Library Rare Book and Manuscript Division and New York City Census and Jury List, 1819. back

Note 74: George W. Sheldon, The Story of the Volunteer Fire Department of the City of New York (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1882), 156. back

Note 75: See Amy Greenberg, "Fights/Fires: Violent Firemen in the Nineteenth-Century American City," in Pieter Spierenburg, ed., Men and Violence: Gender, Honor, and Rituals in Modern Europe and America (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1998), 159-189 and Wilentz, Chants Democratic, 259-263. back

Note 76: The Fireman's Gazette, November 22, 1834. The quotes appear in an article entitled "The Poor of New-York." back

Note 77: One visitor to the city noticed the frequency of fires, noting, "Several times did I see between 40 & 50 families burnt out of house & home the same night, during my stay in New York, and when I mentioned it with a humane allusion, I was invariably laughed at for my pains -- 'That is a mere nothing,' was the general reply." See Richard Gooch, America and the Americans in 1833-4, By An Emigrant Edited by Richard Toby Widdicombe (New York: Fordham University Press, 1994), 20-21. back

Note 78: On the Great Fire, see Costello, Our Firemen, 270-302. back

Note 79: William Ware, And Shall They Say, Every Man to His Neighbor, Wherefore Hath the Lord Done Thus to This Great City?: A Sermon, Preached on the Sunday Succeeding the Great Fire, Which Occurred On the Night of December 16th, 1835 (New York: n.p., 1835), 4. See also Orville Dewey, A Sermon On the Occasion of the Late Fire, in the City of New York (New York: David Felt & Co., 1836). back

Note 80: Blackmar, Manhattan For Rent, 203. With the financial panic in 1837, land values would drop again, but not before the rise pressured workers and their families for a few years. back

Note 81: Allan Nevins, ed., The Diary of Philip Hone, 1828-1851 (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1927), 202. back

Note 82: New York Transcript, February 20, 1836. Italics in original. back

Note 83: See "An Act For the Relief of the Sufferers by the Fire in the City of New York" in The Revised Statutes of the State of New York: As Altered by the Legislature; Including the Statutory Provisions of a General Nature, Passed from 1828 to 1835 Inclusive, With References to Judicial Decisions: To Which are Added, Certain Local Acts Passed Before and Since the Revised Statutes; All the Acts of General Interest Passed During the Session of 1836; and an Appendix, Containing Extracts From the Original Reports of the Revisers to the Legislature, All the Material Notes Which Accompanied Those Reports, and Explanatory Remarks (Albany: Packard and Van Benthuysen, 1836) and Speech of Mr. Phillips of Massachusetts, Upon the Bill for the Relief of the Sufferers By the Fire at New York. Delivered in the House of Representatives, February 16, 1836 (Washington: National Intelligence Office, 1836). On other governmental response to natural disasters in the era, see Michele L. Landis, "Let Me Next Time Be 'Tried By Fire': Disaster Relief and the Origins of the American Welfare State, 1789-1874," Northwestern University Law Review 92, number 3, (1998), 967-996. back

Note 84: A Friend to Journeymen Tailors, A Dialogue, Between Strike and Steady, Two Journeymen Tailors, in Relation to Trades Unions, Etc. (New York: n.p., 1836) 1. Robert Townsend Jr., whose life will be detailed in Chapter Two, certainly identified with the debate. He led a Loco Foco rally in the park in support of the same tailors following their trial defeat in June of 1836. See Amy Bridges, A City in the Republic: Antebellum New York and the Origins of Machine Politics (Cornell: Cornell University Press, 1984), 109. back

Note 85: Even some newer works that are sympathetic to gender analysis segregate labor organizing from the domestic arena by removing their discussions on unions and the Working Men's Party to chapters concerning the workplace and working-class institutions instead of one focusing on family economy or working-class neighborhoods. See Richard B. Stott, Workers in the Metropolis: Class, Ethnicity, and Youth in Antebellum New York City (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990). back