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Samuel Bulkley Ruggles

Samuel Bulkley Ruggles (April 11, 1800 New Milford, Litchfield County, Connecticut - August 28, 1881 Fire Island, Suffolk County, New York) was an American lawyer and politician from New York



He graduated from Yale College in 1814, and was admitted to the bar in 1821. He was a successful lawyer in New York City for several years, but eventually gave up the practice of law to dedicate himself to public affairs.

He was a Whig member from New York County of the New York State Assembly in 1838, and was Chairman of the Committe on Ways and Means. In 1839, he was elected by the New York State Legislature a canal commissioner to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Stephen Van Rensselaer III. In 1840, he was the only canal commissioner to remain in office when the new Whig majority removed all Democratic commissioners. In 1842, the Whig commissioners, including Ruggles, were removed by the Democrats. In July 1858, he was appointed by Governor John Alsop King a canal commissioner again, this time to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Samuel S. Whallon, and remained in office until the end of that year.

In New York City, he was a driving force behind the establishment of Gramercy Park which was dedicated in 1831, to which he personally donated the land, and also influenced the design of Union Square, where he lived. In the 1860s he was a United States delegate to several European assemblies, like the International Statistics Congress in Berlin in 1863, and the Paris Exposition of 1867.

In 1854, he published the pamphlet The Duty of Columbia College to the Community which was a kickoff for the drama surrounding Dr. Oliver Wolcott Gibbs's denied academic appointment at Columbia University due to his Unitarian religion.[1]

He died at the Surf Hotel on Fire Island where he spent his summer vacation.

Chief Judge Charles H. Ruggles was his cousin. George Templeton Strong was his son-in-law.


  1. ^ Cf. Bender, p. 271 etc.


  • Bender, Thomas, New York Intellect: A History of Intellectual Life in New York City, from 1750 to the Beginnings of Our Own Time, Knopf, 1987. ISBN 0394550269
  •, "Gramercy Park" The New York Times, Editorial, Sunday, July 3, 1921, p.22. On Gramercy Park's 90th anniversary and some history.
  • "Samuel B. Ruggles, Founder Of Gramercy Park", Antiques Digest, reprinted. Originally published 1921.
  • The New York Civil List, compiled by Franklin Benjamin Hough (pages 42, 221 and 301; Weed, Parsons and Co., 1858)
  •, Obit in NYT on August 29, 1881 (stating erroneously he had been a member of the Canal Board for 18 years)
  •, The canal commissionership, in NYT on July 22, 1858

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