Jersey City turns 183 today.
The first mayor was Dudley S. Gregory, who moved to Jersey City around 1834, four years before Jersey City was formally incorporated on February 22, 1838.
Gregory was a dual officeholder: as mayor of Jersey City, he was also a Bergen County Freeholder, because Jersey City was in Bergen until Hudson County was established in 1840. He then went on to serve three terms as a Hudson freeholder.
In 1846, Rep. William Wright, who was mayor of Newark while Gregory was mayor of Jersey City, didn’t seek re-election as he prepared to run for governor in 1847 as a Democrat. (He lost, but later went to the U.S. Senate).
Gregory, running as the Whig Party candidate, won the seat with 61% of the vote. He didn’t run for a second term and returned to get into the insurance business in New Jersey.
When he died in 1874, at age 74, Gregory left an estate worth over $1 million – about $20 million in today’s dollars. Not bad for a guy who spent fourteen years as a clerk in the New York State Comptroller’s office before getting involved in New Jersey politics.