Publication: The New York Times
New York, NY, United States
WILLIAM BROOKFIELD DEAD.
His Career in Business and in New York City Republican Politics.
William Brookfield died at his home, 516 Madison Avenue, at 7:30 o'clock yesterday morning of heart disease. He had been unconscious for more than two days.
The funeral will take Place on Saturday afternoon, with interment at Woodlawn, but the arrangements Will not he announced until this morning.
William Brookfield was born at Greenbank, N.J., May 24. 1844, where he was educated. He moved to Brooklyn in 1862, where he become engaged in the business which subsequently become the Bushwick Glass Company, and of which be was chosen President. He was also at the head of the Sheldon Axel Company of Wilkes-Barre, Penn., and served as the receiver of the Hecker-Jones-Jewell Mining Company.
It was in New York City Republican politics that Mr. Brookfield was best known. He had the admiration of his party associates, but he opposed the methods of Senator Platt, and consequently was forced out of the Republican State and County Committees after being at the head of each from 1891 to 1894.
After his break with Mr. Platt Mr. Brookfield did not quit the political field, but was active in the organization of the Republican organization of the City and County of New York, which of late years opposed Platt's methods, and stood for direct nominations by the people instead of by convention.
Mr. Brookfield was for years a resident of the old Twenty-first district, but latterly he lived in the present Twenty-ninth, where he used his influence for the election of State Senator Elsberg and against allowing President Robert C. Morris a place on the District Committee.
Mr. Brookfield was appointed Commissioner of Public Works by Mayor W. L. Strong, but he soon resigned to be succeeded by the late Gen. C. H. T. Collis. During his term of office he conducted a successful fight against the asphalt interests. There were few conventions, State or National, since 1875 that Mr. Brookfield did not attend either as a delegate or a looker-on. He strongly opposed the turning down of Gov. F. S. Black.
As a member of the Committee of Fifty-three, of which Cornelius N. Bliss was Chairman, he labored long and successfully to purge the Republican rolls of the names of dead men and men of alleged Tammany leanings. He also worked hard to bring about the enactment of the present primary law. He was a great admirer of President McKinley, and was prominent in the organization of the league bearing the late President's name.
His reputation as a party man who was opposed to dictation was expressed recently in this language by a prominent occupant of the "Amen Corner" at the Fifth Avenue Hotel:
"Billy Brookfield was always a stanch Republican, but claimed the right to think for himself."
Mr. Brookfield was President of St. John's Guild, and it was often his proud declaration that he valued the position more than any other he ever held. He was a Trustee of Wells Collage at Aurora, N.Y., and it is said that he never missed a meeting of the board, while he was also a generous contributor to its treasury.
Mr. Brookfield was an active member of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church congregation, though not a member of the church; and after Dr. Hall's death he was chosen by the congregation to head the committee which finally selected a pastor.
He was a member of various clubs - in addition to having been President of the Republican Club and Vice President of the Union League Club - among them the Barnard, Patria, New York Athletic, Lotos, Lawyers', Adirondack League, and the Fulton and Union League Clubs of Brooklyn. He also had a membership in the Down Town Association, the American Geographical Society, and the American Museum of Natural History.
He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trade and Transportation, the Consolidated and Mining Exchange, and the Produce Exchange. He was in the Directory of the Kings County and Greenwich Fire Insurance Companies, the Franklin Loan and Improvement Co., and other corporations.
Mr. Brookfield married Miss Kate Morgan of Aurora, N. Y., and his wife and four sons survive him. He had been in failing health for some time, and in January went to Palm Beach, Fla., where he developed heart trouble about six weeks ago and was brought to his home, 516 Madison Avenue, late in April.