Stonecutters’ Riot of 1833

The contractors for the building of the New York University found that they could purchase dressed stone at Sing Sing, the work of the prisoners there, much cheaper than in New York, and so concluded to use it. This, the stonecutters of the city said, was taking the bread out of their mouths, and if allowed to go on would destroy their business. They held excited meetings on the subject, and finally got up a procession and paraded the streets with placards asserting their rights and denouncing the contractors. They even attacked the houses of some of the citizens, and assumed such a threatening attitude, that the Twenty-seventh Regiment, Colonel Stevens, was called out. Their steady, determined march on the rioters dispersed them and restored quiet. Apprehensions were felt, however, that they would reassemble in the night and vent their rage on the University building, and so a part of the regiment encamped in Washington Square in full view of it. They remained here four days and nights, until the excitement subsided, and the work could go on unmolested.


Headley, Joel Tyler. The great riots of New York, 1712 to 1873: including a full and complete account of the Four Days' Draft Riot of 1863. New York: E. B. Treat, 1873.

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