The Forgotten Story of a Former U.S Secretary of the Treasury and his connection to Irvington: William Gibbs McAdoo
The Forgotten Story of a former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and his connection to Irvington: William Gibbs McAdoo
By: Riley Wentzler &Felicia Barber
William Gibbs McAdoo (1863-1941)
William Gibbs McAdoo was born near Marietta, Georgia in 1863. He went to college at the University of Tennessee and then went to law school. He practiced law at a local firm in the city of Chattanooga from 1885 until 1892, before starting his own law firm in New York City. He then got in on the railroad boom in 1902 by becoming president of the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Company. From this position he oversaw the development of the first tunnel under the Hudson River(William Gibbs McAdoo, MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation).
William McAdoo’s House in Irvington Photo Credit Paul Feiner
In 1907, he built a house at 65 West Clinton Ave in Greenburgh’s Village of Irvington pictured above (marker on House gate The second photo is actually the same photo, just zoomed in on the marker.)
While McAdoo saw himself primarily as a businessman, as a lawyer and a railroad manager, it was in his best interest to be involved in politics. He became an active member in The Democratic Party (William Gibbs McAdoo, MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation).
The star of the 39 year-old Georgia-born, Tennessee- educated lawyer turned railroad manager was definitely rising, there was no question.
As McAdoo’s star was rising so was that of a Virginia-born Georgia-educated 46 year-old man who had, rather surprisingly, become president of Princeton University in 1902. His name was Thomas Woodrow Wilson.
President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)
The ambitious university president decided to do two things:
- Drop his first name in order to make himself sound more distinguished.
- Run for the Governorship of New Jersey on the Democratic ticket.
These two proud southerners who moved north for greater economic opportunities knew little about each other in 1902. That would change however in the exciting political landscape of the Progressive Era, as Woodrow Wilson resigned his position at Princeton to serve as Governor of New Jersey in 1910. He served in this position until 1913. However, in 1912 he began using issues in New Jersey to launch a campaign for the U.S. Presidency. In the 1913 Democratic Primary, Woodrow Wilson faced a tough race against Representative Champ Clark of Missouri and Representative Oscar W. Underwood of Alabama (Woodrow Wilson, MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation)
One person watching this contest with baited-breath was William McAdoo. He enthusiastically supported Wilson’s bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination and his general election campaign against Republican incumbent President William Howard Taft. When Wilson was elected president in 1913, he chose McAdoo as his Secretary of the Treasury. From this position, McAdoo was the driving force behind the creation of the Federal Reserve System. That same year, McAdoo married his boss’s daughter, Eleanor Randolph Wilson. Woodrow Wilson was reelected President of the United States in 1917, therefore, McAdoo continued to serve as his Secretary of the Treasury until 1918 (William Gibbs McAdoo, MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation).
Knowing that Wilson’s term would run out in 1921, McAdoo himself ran for president in 1920, but narrowly lost the Democratic Nomination to then Ohio Governor James Middleton Cox (Warren G Harding, MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation) In 1924, he tried again, but again narrowly lost his party’s nomination this time to John W. Davis (Calvin Coolidge MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation).
From 1933-1938 he served as one of California’s senators. He died in 1941 (William Gibbs McAdoo, MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation).
Previous Slices of History include:
- The Intersection of Banking, Ballet, and School: Greenburgh’s Warburg Estate (Updated) (10/22/19) https://greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/6095/The-Intersection-of-Banking--Ballet--and-School-updated
- Lost History: The Tragedy of Malkasten (1/26/19) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5673/Lost-History--The-Tragedy-of-Malkasten
- Juneteenth: A Day of Liberation (6/6/2020) https://greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/6920/Juneteenth--A-Day-of-Liberation
- The Jewel of Greenburgh: The Life of Charles Lewis Tiffany (7/25/2020) https://greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/7049/The-Jewel-of-Greenburgh---The-Life-of-Charles-Lewis-Tiffany
- Hastings’ Best and Brightest: Nobel Laureates of Hastings
About the Authors:
We are both Assistant Town Historians at Greenburgh Town Hall and we are engaged to be married and are currently looking for permanent employment.
I was born and raised in a small rural town in central Pennsylvania. In high school, I took every honors course available including four years of Spanish. I received A’s in all of them. I graduated third in my class of 146 students. This brought me to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Once there, I continued my trend of academic excellence. I graduated summa cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Spanish and a Master’s in Communication Studies, with a G.P.A of 3.94. It was also there that I met my lovely fiancée, Felicia Barber. My Master’s in Communication has promoted public speaking, teamwork, and customer service. My Political Science degree has developed my research skills using computer-based tools and provided me with experience using the Microsoft Office products. My minor in Spanish has facilitated my bilingual capabilities. During my internship at Greenburgh, I created the petition for the State Roads project using website tools. My diverse education and areas of interest have provided me with a wide range of skills. I look forward to finding a career opportunity in business or government. To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at email@example.com, or to help me find employment, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I was born in New York City and raised in Hartsdale, New York. I graduated from Ardsley High School. I recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It was here that I met my fiancé, Riley Wentzler. As a result of my academic excellence, I won a scholarship every year. I learned and applied many graphic design skills to projects during my summer internships and at school. I am proficient in using Adobe graphic design applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For my Identity/branding course at Edinboro, I created logos to appear on the tee-shirts of Physical Education majors. For a veteran’s upcoming event, I used a typeface to focus the reader to the soldier in the poster. For the State Roads Legislative Campaign project, I created the embedded graphic-photo that accompanied the petition I am looking for a job to utilize my skills as a Graphic Designer in an agency, print shop, company or government To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at email@example.com. To learn more about my artwork or to help me find employment you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two Interviews with the authors:
Coolidge, (John) Calvin in Microsoft Corporation. (1993-2003, (Not Given) (Not Given)). Encarta Encyclopedia. Redmond, Washington, United States of America
McAdoo, William Gibbs in Microsoft Corporation. (1993-2003, (Not Given) (Not Given)). Encarta Encyclopedia. Redmond, Washington, United States of America
Harding ,Warren G in Microsoft Corporation. (1993-2003, (Not Given) (Not Given)). Encarta Encyclopedia. Redmond, Washington, United States of America
Wilson, (Thomas) Woodrow in Microsoft Corporation. (1993-2003, (Not Given) (Not Given)). Encarta Encyclopedia. Redmond, Washington , United States of America