Isaac Leggett Varian
(New York, New York
, June 25
- Peekskill, New York
, August 10
) was a New York
state legislator and a Mayor of New York
Varian was a prominent Democrat
and led Tammany Hall
from 1835 until 1842. He was a member of the State Assembly
(1831-34), Mayor of New York
(1839-41), and a State Senator
As Tammany Hall leader, Varian presided over a critical period in Democratic history, which saw the defection, and return of the Locofoco faction, which was in existence from 1835 until 1840, and was the decisive factor in the 1837 mayoral election won by Whigs against the divided Democracts.
Varian first ran for mayor in 1838, losing to Whig Aaron Clark by only 519 votes in an election tainted with allegations of massive Whig fraud and intimidation. In 1839 Varian beat Clark by 1,067 votes despite blatant electoral misconduct. During Varian's first term the legislature passed a bill that mandated voter registration and made it a lot harder to commit electoral fraud.
In 1811 Varian married Catharine Hopper Dusenbury (1789 - 1870). They had nine children, seven of whom survived infancy:
- Andrew Hopper (1812 - 1826)
- Tamar Letitia (b. 1813)
- Isaac (1815 - 1816)
- Matilda Campbell (b. 1817)
- Mary Elizabeth (1819 - 1868)
- Isaac (b. 1823)
- Catharine Emeline (b. 1826)
- Jacob Harsen (twin) (b. 1828)
- Hannah (twin) (1828 - 1830)
In 1845 Varian quit politics and retired to Peekskill, where he died in 1864. He is buried in the New York City Marble Cemetery.
The Valentine-Varian House
The Valentine-Varian House (1758) is a historic farmhouse that still stands on what used to be the Varian dairy farm in the Bronx
along the route from New York
. The Varian family occupied the house from 1791 until 1905. At present, the building houses the Museum of Bronx History
. A public park and an elementary school in the area are named after Varian.