Hewitt, Abram Stevens (hyōˈĭt) [key], 1822–1903, American industrialist and political leader, b. Haverstraw, N.Y. He became a lawyer, and friendship with a son and marriage to a daughter of Peter Cooper shaped his career. Together he and Edward Cooper became (1847) iron manufacturers with Peter Cooper's backing. Hewitt promoted advanced methods of iron making and steel making and was interested in railroad development and mining. He built up one of the great fortunes of his day.
Elected as a Democratic Representative to Congress in 1874, he served continuously, except for one term, until 1886. As chairman of the Democratic National Committee he directed Samuel J. Tilden's presidential campaign in 1876. During Rutherford B. Hayes's administration he led a Democratic House majority in securing the repeal of a number of radical Reconstruction measures. In 1886 he was elected mayor of New York City on a Tammany ticket, defeating Henry George and Theodore Roosevelt. As a reform mayor, he did not suit Tammany and was not renominated. He became a trustee of Columbia Univ. and was for many years connected with Cooper Union. Selections of his writings, edited by Allan Nevins, appeared in 1937.
See study by A. Nevins (1935, repr. 1967).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.