Myers, Mordecai

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MYERS, MORDECAI (1776–1871), U.S. merchant, army officer, and politician. Myers was born in Newport, r.i. He lived in New York State most of his life, while intermittently maintaining residence in Charleston, s.c. A member of New York City's Shearith Israel Congregation after 1792, he served as a trustee from 1800 to 1805 and donated a generous sum toward the construction of a new synagogue in Greenwich Village. Subsequently he joined the army and was commissioned captain in the Third Regiment of the First Brigade Infantry (1811). He served with the Thirteenth Infantry in the War of 1812, was wounded in the battle of Chrysler's Field, and was later promoted to major. In 1814 Myers married a non-Jewish woman, and thereafter ceased to play a role in the Jewish community. He was a ranking Mason from 1823 to 1834 and was offered the office of grand master for New York State, which, however, he declined. In 1828 and from 1831 to 1834 Myers served as a Democratic assemblyman in the state legislature from New York County. Subsequently he moved to Schenectady, where he was elected mayor in 1851 and 1854. In 1860, at the age of 84, he ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the U.S. Congress.

[Leo Hershkowitz]