Mayors of Pittsburgh: 1816-1841

Ebenezer Denny

1816-1817

Federalist

March 11, 1761 to July 1822

Ebenezer Denny | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
Ebenezer Denny became the first mayor of Pittsburgh in 1816. He was the only Pittsburgh mayor to serve in the Revolutionary War, having led the Pennsylvania Regiment. Denny was elected by the Select and Common Council from among the twelve aldermen of Pittsburgh appointed by the governor. Although there was a unanimous vote to re-elect him, Denny chose to keep his term to a single year due to ill health. He passed away a few years later.<br><br><em>The Mayors of the City of Pittsburgh Photograph Collection, PSS #33, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>
David Lawrence | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
These pages from the Minutes of the Proceedings of the Select Council of the City of Pittsburgh are from the first volume and record the day the first mayor of Pittsburgh, Ebenezer Denny, was sworn in.<br><br><em>Minutes of the Proceedings of the Select Council of the City of Pittsburgh, Volume 1, 1816-1829. City of Pittsburgh, Office of the City Clerk.</em>

John Darragh

1817-1825

Federalist

1772 to May 14, 1828

John M. Snowden

1825-1828

Democratic-Republican, Jacksonian

Jan. 13, 1776 to April 1, 1845

John M. Snowden | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
Upon his move to Pittsburgh, John M. Snowden purchased a paper and dubbed it “The Mercury.” This political newspaper helped to establish Snowden in the community, such that in 1825 he became the third Mayor of Pittsburgh.<br><br><em>The Pittsburgh Mercury, July 30, 1812, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>

Magnus Miller Murray

1828-1830, 1831-1832

Jacksonian, Democrat

Feb. 22, 1787 to March 4, 1838

Magnus Miller Murray | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
Magnus Miller Murray was elected the fourth mayor of Pittsburgh in 1828. His term was marked by public improvement projects, including the construction of the city’s first waterworks. There was some public outrage during Murray’s time when the city was planning on installing gas lighting and it was discovered that members of the Select Council had purchased stock in the company meant to do the work. The proposal for the project was soon defeated. Murray has the distinction of being the first in a line of Pittsburgh mayors; his son-in-law and grandson would also go on to hold the position.<em>The Mayors of the City of Pittsburgh Photograph Collection, PSS #33, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>

Matthew B. Lowrie

1831-1832

Anti-Masonic

May 12, 1773 to July 28, 1850

Matthew Lowrie | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
Matthew B. Lowrie was elected as mayor in 1830 during a time of anti-secret society hysteria. Masonic member Magnus Miller Murray both preceded and followed as mayor. Lowrie was one of the original twelve aldermen of Pittsburgh and made sure to respect the power of the city councils. During his time as mayor, he divided the city into four wards to increase the number of voters during elections.<em>The Mayors of the City of Pittsburgh Photograph Collection, PSS #33, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>
Matthew Lowrie | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
A correspondence from Mayor Matthew B. Lowrie to the Select and Common Councils.<br><br>Records of the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Select and Common Council, 1806-1938, MSS #46, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>
Matthew Lowrie | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
A correspondence from Mayor Matthew B. Lowrie to the Select and Common Councils.<br><br>Records of the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Select and Common Council, 1806-1938, MSS #46, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>

Samuel Pettigrew

1832-1836

Democrat, Jackson and Clay, Democratic and Workingmen’s

Samuel Pettigrew | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
Samuel Pettigrew was sworn in as mayor of Pittsburgh on Jan. 10, 1832. Barely a month had passed before a great tragedy fell on the city in the form of the Great Flood of 1832. As shown in this letter, Pettigrew held a public meeting about the flood and resolved to urge the Councils of Pittsburgh to provide speedy relief to the sufferers of the flood. <br><br><em>Records of the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Select and Common Council, 1806-1938, MSS #46, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>
Samuel Pettigrew | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
In this letter from Mayor Samuel Pettigrew to the Select and Common Councils, the mayor calls for immediate action to be taken. A Supreme Court decision had affected court convictions under ordinances and new laws would need to be made within Pittsburgh to keep the peace. <br><br><em>Records of the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Select and Common Council, 1806-1938, MSS #46, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>

Dr. Jonas (John) R. McClintock

1836-1839

Democrat, City, City Improvement

Jan. 8, 1808 to Nov. 25, 1879

Jonas McClintock | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
Jonas McClintock studied medicine at the University of Maryland (in Baltimore) and, following graduation in 1830, came back to Pittsburgh. He was the mayor of Pittsburgh from 1836-1839 and wasm until Luke Ravenstahlm the youngest mayor to occupy the post in Pittsburgh.<br><br><em>Letter to Mr. and Mrs. McClintock written by their son John McClintock (while in school in Baltimore, MD) dated 11-24-1829, 2007.0018, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>
Jonas McClintock | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
In this letter, Mayor Jonas McClintock works with the Select and Common Councils in order to make certain that they are fulfilling the requirements of Pittsburgh Ordinances.<br><br><em>Records of the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Select and Common Council, 1806-1938, MSS #46, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>
Jonas McClintock | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
A correspondence to the Select and Common Councils from Mayor Jonas McClintock.<br><br><em>Records of the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Select and Common Council, 1806-1938, MSS #46, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>

William Little

1839-1840

Independent

Aug. 8, 1809 to Aug. 26, 1887

William Little | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
Little was voted mayor after having been nominated as a candidate not by any of the political parties of the time, but by the volunteer firemen of the city. While he was unable to accomplish much during his time due to conflicting views from the councils, Little was a very popular mayor and was nominated to run again but declined. He moved away from Pittsburgh for many years to pursue business,but returned in 1855 and became an active community member.<br><br><em>The Mayors of the City of Pittsburgh Photograph Collection, PSS #33, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>
William Little | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
William Little was a true businessman at heart, as shown by these pages from the daybook of a store he ran. Business didn’t stop just because Little was serving as mayor. After his mayoralty, Little went on to run a farm, start a furniture business, and work in the Monongahela Navigation Company before being appointed U.S. assessor by President Abraham Lincoln. <br><br><em>Daybook of a Connellsville store operated by William Little, MFF 2962, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>

William W. Irwin

1840-1841

Whig and Anti-Masonic

Jan. 8, 1803 to Sept. 15, 1856

William Irwin | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
William Irwin was born in 1803 to wealthy parents. A native Pittsburgher, as a boy he earned the nickname “Pony Irwin” for the horse he often rode. A graduate of Allegheny College, he was soon admitted to the bar. Despite being a popular fellow, it was not until his fourth nomination that he was successfully elected as mayor. Immediately following his mayoralty were stints as a state representative and then as <em>charge d’affaires</em> to Denmark. Eventually he moved back to Pittsburgh, where he remained popular and in the public eye until his death in 1856.<br><br><em>The Mayors of the City of Pittsburgh Photograph Collection, PSS #33, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>
William Irwin | Mayors of Pittsburgh | Heinz History Center Digital Collection
In this letter from William Irwin, who later became mayor in 1840, Irwin alerts the councils about legislature from Harrisburg that would effect changes in Pittsburgh. <br><br><em>Records of the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Select and Common Council, 1806-1938, MSS #46, Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center.</em>