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John Tayler
5th Governor
February 24, 1817–July 1, 1817
John Tayler (1742–1829) was acting governor for four months after Tompkins resigned to serve as vice president. He was a successful businessman from Albany, an agent for the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, director of the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company, and an Albany County judge. Elected to the State Senate eleven times, Tayler served as president of the Senate in 1811. He was lieutenant governor under Daniel D. Tompkins (1813–1817) and De Witt Clinton (1817–1822).
Portrait: Ezra Ames (1768–1836) settled in Albany in 1793 and became the leading portraitist in the region. Throughout his life, he completed nearly 400 portraits, mostly of New York State legislators. On loan from the Albany Institute of History & Art, Gift of Mrs. George W. Lynch in Memory of Marcia Meyers Brady and Anthony Nicolas Brady.

More Information

Tayler, John (b New York City, ?28 July 1742; d Albany, 19 Mar 1829). Merchant and lieutenant and acting governor.

He moved to Albany in 1759, followed the army as a trader during the French and Indian War, farmed at Stillwater [now in Saratoga Co] from 1771 to 1773, and thereafter advanced as a politically astute and ingratiating trader, Albany merchant, land investor, and banker.

Tayler married Margarita van Valkenburgh in 1764. During the Revolution he represented Albany Co in the Third and Fourth Provincial Congresses and sat in five sessions of the New York State Assembly, including its first meeting in 1777. Acting often as an agent for the commissioners of Indian Affairs, Tayler contributed to the state’s acquisition of Native American land in Central and Western New York and procured substantial real estate. He then served as an original director of the Western Inland Lock Navigation Co (1792) and as Albany Co judge (1797). A political adherent of George Clinton, reputedly his distant relative, Tayler was elected to 11 sessions of the state senate (1802, 1804–13) and became president of the senate in 1811.His service on the Board of Regents began in 1802 and continued until his death. When serving in the 1805 senate, he sought to block the creation of the anti-Clintonian Merchants’ Bank of New York City, an institution that would compete with the New-York State Bank of Albany, which he helped to create and over which he presided. In 1812 Tayler opposed the creation of the Federalist-backed Bank of America and supported Gov Daniel D. Tompkins’s decision to prorogue the legislature. Adept at legislative management, he contributed to a wide range of laws, including the statutes that fostered New York State’s turnpikes and shaped its local government, including that of New York City. He served as lieutenant governor under both Tompkins (1813–17) and De Witt Clinton (1817–22), and he briefly acted as governor in 1817 when Tompkins became US vice president. As an ex-officio member of the Council of Revision, Tayler voted against the Erie Canal bill. He presided over the 1824 People’s Party convention, a body in which upstate business banking interests had strong representation. In 1824 he substituted for an absent John Quincy Adams elector and in 1828 voted for Andrew Jackson as an elector-at-large.

Hammond, Jabez D. The History of Political Parties in the State of New-York from the Ratification of the Federal Constitution to December, 1840, 2 vols (Albany: Van Benthuysen, 1842)

Tayler, John. Papers.New York State Archives, Albany

Craig and Mary L. Hanyan

Peter Eisenstadt, ed., The Encyclopedia of New York State
(Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2005), [p. 1535-36].
© Syracuse University Press. Reproduced with permission from the publisher.

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