Historic, but not famous

William Leggett, writer, Evening Post

William Leggett (April 30, 1801 – May 29, 1839) was an American poet, fiction writer, and journalist. He was a New Yorker who attended Georgetown and then entered the military. His time in the military didn’t agree with him and he was court martialed for “dueling on duty”. Upon leaving the navy, he returned to New York City in 1826 and began writing.

Leggett became a theater critic at the New York Mirror and assistant editor of the short-lived Merchants’ Telegraph. In November 1828, he founded the Critic, a literary journal that lasted only a few months. In the summer of 1829, however, William Cullen Bryant (of Bryant Park fame) invited Leggett to write for the New York Evening Post. He wrote literary and drama reviews and began to write political editorials.

In 1831 he became part owner and co-editor and took over for Bryant when he traveled to Europe in 1834-35.  Leggett’s political opinions proved highly controversial, he often took on President Jackson in his editorials.  He also became an outspoken opponent of slavery. His opinions and the following controversy proved expensive for the paper and took a toll on his health. When Bryant returned from Europe, Leggett resigned his position and moved to Upstate New York. He continued to write and be involved in politics, a consistent and strong  advocate of laissez-faire (an economic system in which transactions between private parties are free from government intervention such as regulation, privileges, tariffs and subsidies.)

While he was in the Navy, Leggett had contracted yellow fever. This had left him in poor health for much of his later civilian life and he died in New Rochelle, New York in 1839 at the age of  38.

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Historic, but not famous

Dr. John Charlton (1731-1801), was a celebrated English surgeon who arrived in New York with British troops during the Revolutionary War. Following England’s defeat, Charlton remained in the newly independent colonies and became the president of the Medical Society of the State of New York.

The organization  began in 1749 and  struggled through the Revolutionary period due to poor organization. In 1794, Charlton reorganized the group, and by 1796, the Society had begun to influence local and state health policy. As president of the Society, Dr. Charlton fought for the inclusion of educational standards in the licensing requirements for medical practitioners. The Society provided guidance to the New York City and State governments during a series of yellow fever epidemics. The Society’s recommendations led to the creation of a permanent State Health Office that established quarantines and appointed state health commissioners.

In 1807, Trinity Church (which owned the thoroughfare) named Charlton Street for the eminent doctor who contributed to the formalization and organization of American medicine. Charlton Plaza is bounded by the Avenue of the Americas, King Street, and Charlton Street and is located in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.

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