John Lamson Flagg
John Lamson Flagg

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

JOHN LAMSON FLAGG, well known to the citizens of Troy for many years as a gentleman active in business, warm hearted, of unbounded generosity, genial, and with marked force of character, was born at Nashua, N. H., Sept.. 11, 1835. He prepared for college at Troy, N. Y., under the tuition of the venerable John Smith, and entered Harvard University in 1853, from which he was graduated in 1857. He was a student at law in the office of the late Hon. David L. Seymour, of Troy, and was admitted to practice in 1858. In 1860 he married Ellen H., daughter of Col. W. W. Brown, a prominent, citizen of Providence, R. 1., by whom he had one son, John Flagg.

In 1860 he was elected school commissioner of the Third Ward of Troy; manager of the Troy Young Men's Association in 1862, and president of that institution in 1863. He was elected justice of the Justices' Court of Troy in 1862, and appointed by the common council as police magistrate of the city, - holding this office until 1865. In 1866 he became the Democratic candidate for mayor, and was elected to that high and responsible position, being the youngest person ever chosen to that office in the history of the city government. He was re-elected the following year. Previous to and during his administration of the mayor's office the incumbent presided in person over the deliberations of the common council. In this position his talents shone conspicuously, for he was a good parliamentarian, and possessed the nerve to enforce the rules and take advantage of all points in his favor.

In 1868 he was elected to the lower house of the Legislature, and re-elected in 1869, 1870, and 1871; serving in 1869 as chairman of the committee of ways and means and being a prominent candidate for the speakership; acting in 1870 as chairman of the committee on public instruction, and in 1871 as chairman of the committee on railroads. He was a director of the Troy City Bank from 1864 to the time of his decease, May 11, 1874.

Since 1871, Mr. Flagg had been quietly engaged in professional pursuits, and was formerly connected with J. G. Runkle, now of Albany, in the practice of law, and had built up quite an extensive business, as collection agent, with Mr. Neary. He was the recipient. to a large degree of the public confidence, a man of exquisite tact, and possessed the faculty of reducing the most complicated details of business to a beautiful order and method. He was a believer in the Unitarian faith. His disposition was mild, his attachments warm, his impulses generous. He inherited a marked benevolence from his parents, and always held an open hand to the poor and needy. His natural amiability, courteous demeanor, and graceful politeness attracted hosts of friends, and rendered his companionship pleasing, if not sometimes magnetic. He never cherished malignity or sought revenge, and had remarkable self-command amid the stormiest antagonisms.

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