Sunday, December 19, 2010
Augustus Van Wyck (October 14, 1850 – June 8, 1922)
One of the neighborhood most famous residents in 1890s was Augustus Van Wyck of 172 Hancock Street of the Bedford Section of Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn. 172 Hancock is on the architectural pleasing block between Nostrand and Marcy Avenue. Augustus Van Wyck in 1881 was the third man to build a home on this block. The architect for this neo-grec house was the Brooklyn architect Marshall J. Morrill. Morrill designed many other fine homes on Hancock street between Bedford and Nostrand with architect Robert Dixion. Morrill practiced architecture from the 1860s until the early 1900s and was a popular brownstone architect. Morrill's work can be found in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Clinton Hill, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Ft. Greene and Cobble Hill just to name a few.
Augustus Van Wyck's education led him to Phillips Exeter Academy and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study the practice of law. Moving to Richmond, Virginia where he met and married Leila and practiced law there for a brief period. In 1871 Van Wyck moved to Brooklyn, New York living first on 387 Gates Ave, near Nostrand.
He was an active member of the Democratic party in Brooklyn. In 1882 Van Wyck was elected as President of the County General Committee. He also was active in state, county and national conventions of the Democratic party.
In 1884, Augustus Van Wyck was elected to the Superior Court in Brooklyn until transferred to the Supreme Court where he remained until 1896.
Much to Van Wyck's surprise, he was nominated by his fellow Democrats to oppose the Republican, Theodore Roosevelt, in the race for Governor of New York in 1898. Although Van Wyck was seen as a strong candidate, Roosevelt's popularity in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War led him to win the election by 17,786 votes. Van Wyck received 643,921 votes, while Roosevelt received 661,715 votes.
After the election Van Wyck resumed his law practice on 149 Broadway, New York.
New York Times article from 1898: http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F10F10FA3F5C11738DDDA00894D8415B8885F0D3