Tammany Hall Police Commissioner, William ‘Big Bill’ Devery

Notorious Tammany Hall crony, and former “top cop” of New York City, William S. Devery.

​New York City’s storied political past has certainly been marked by highs and lows, corruption, reformation and arduous transfers of power.

But never was New York City’s power consolidated so tightly and so rigidly as it was within the Tammany Hall political system, also known as “the machine.” It was, for a time, run by William “Boss” Tweed and then figures like “Honest John” Kelly, Richard Croker, Charles Murphy and Timothy Sullivan.

Nestled between Kelly and Croker is former top cop of the New York City Police Department, William S. Devery.

A cartoon by William Allen Rogers entitled “The Big Chief’s Fairy Godmother,” published in Harper’s Weekly in 1902. It shows a sleeping man in a police uniform, a caricature of NYC Police Chief William Stephen Devery. (WILLIAM A. ROGERS/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Could this be the first documented appearance of the beloved pension fairy???

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