The Petitioners

Although the Common Council began to destroy Seneca Village and succeeded in gaining control of over 7500 plots of land in upper Manhattan in 1855, some residents of Seneca Village refused to allow the government to exploit their land. There were two types of petitioners: those who refused to surrender their property, and those who believed that the government should give them more money for their land. 

Andrew Williams was a resident of Seneca Village, and he was one of the petitioners who argued that the government was not giving the residents a reasonable amount for his property. He believed so because the government offered $2,335. He thought that he deserved more money because he knew that his land was $4,000. In order to stop the residents from going against the government’s proposal, the government or the Common Council paid more than $5 million for the land above Forty-Second Street.

Some Seneca Villagers refused to leave Seneca Village.  According to the New York Times, the police tried to make the residents abandon their community and leave the village, yet they were unable to persuade the resident to leave the village:

"The policemen find it difficult to persuade them out of the idea which has possessed their simple minds, that the sole object of the authorities in making the Park is to procure their expulsion from the homes which they occupy."