Richard Varick

Richard Varick
45th Mayor of New York City
In office
Preceded by James Duane
Succeeded by Edward Livingston
New York State Attorney General
In office
May 14, 1788  September 29, 1789
Preceded by Egbert Benson
Succeeded by Aaron Burr
Personal details
Born March 15, 1753
Hackensack, Bergen County, Province of New Jersey
Died July 30, 1831 (aged 78)
Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey
Nationality American
Political party Federalist

Richard Varick was an American lawyer and politician. He was born on March 15, 1753, at Hackensack in Bergen County, New Jersey, and he died on July 30, 1831, at Jersey City in Hudson County, New Jersey.


American Revolutionary War

At the outset of the American Revolution, he was studying law at King's College (the former name of Columbia University) in New York City. He suspended his studies and became a captain in the militia. On June 28, 1775, he was appointed captain of the 1st New York Regiment. He served under General Philip Schuyler in various posts until after the Battle of Saratoga when he was appointed inspector-general of West Point.

At West Point, he became an aide to General Benedict Arnold. Although he was no longer serving in this capacity when Arnold defected to the British, Varick, along with David Franks, was arrested. The two were subsequently cleared by a court of inquiry. After the West Point incident, Varick served under General George Washington as private secretary until the end of the war.

After the war

Signature of Richard Varick while Mayor of New York (1798)

Varick was Recorder of New York from 1784 to 1789, and New York State Attorney General from 1788 to 1789. He was Mayor of New York City from 1789 to 1801. While Mayor, he focused on the yellow fever epidemics which struck repeatedly. Along with Samuel Jones, Varick revised and standardized the statutes of New York (1788). He was a member of the New York State Assembly from New York County from 1786 to 1788, and he was Speaker during the sessions of 1787 and 1788. Meanwhile, he served as a colonel in the state militia.

Later life

Varick also served as a bank officer. He was a founder and later president (succeeding John Jay) of the American Bible Society, as well as a member of the Society of the Cincinnati and president of the New York chapter until his death. As such, he was responsible for maintaining the legacy of George Washington. From 1790 to 1836, celebrations of Washington's birthday in the City included Tammany Hall dinners, Washington Benevolent Society parades and an intimate open house held each February 22 by Mary Simpson (c. 1752-March 18, 1836), at her John Street grocery. Varick was a member of, and generous contributor to, many charitable organizations in New York City.

Having no children, he was survived by his wife Maria Roosevelt, daughter of Isaac Roosevelt. He left his estate to his wife and relatives. Varick was interred at the First Reformed Dutch Church Cemetery in Hackensack, New Jersey.[1]


The Town of Varick, New York, Varick Street in Jersey City and Varick Street (where he once owned property) in Manhattan in the City of New York bear his name.[2]


  1. Richard Varick, Find A Grave. Accessed August 7, 2006.
  2. Downtown Street Names and the Stories They Tell Archived August 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Accessed August 22, 2007. "An extension of Seventh Avenue leading south from Clarkson Street, Varick Street got its name from Richard Varick, who served as the mayor of the city from 1791 to 1801."

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
John Lansing, Jr.
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Succeeded by
John Lansing, Jr.
Preceded by
James Duane
Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
Edward Livingston
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Watts
Recorder of New York City
Succeeded by
Samuel Jones
Preceded by
Egbert Benson
New York State Attorney General
Succeeded by
Aaron Burr
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