century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

View all members

David C. Colden

Lawyer/Public Servant

Centurion, 1847–1850

Full Name David Cadwallader Colden

Born 9 January 1797 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Died 11 April 1850 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum, Manhattan, New York

Proposed by N/A: Founder

Elected 13 January 1847 at age fifty

Century Memorials

Mr. Seymour, Secretary, offered the following Resolutions.

Resolved, That the loss of our esteemed associate and friend Mr. David C. Colden is deeply regretted by the members of the Century.

Resolved, That as one of the original members of our Club, and as a Member of our Committee of Management from its organization, Mr. Colden displayed a warm and steady interest in its welfare which contributed as much to our success as his presence added to the harmony and pleasure of our meetings and that while as a body we miss his ready goodwill and energy in knowing our common object, there are none of us but have cause to remember with affectionate regret the uniform courtesy & warmhearted kindness which marked him in the social intercourse of our association.

That a copy of these resolutions be sent to Mrs. Colden by the Secretary.

Daniel Seymour, Secretary
Monthly Meeting Minutes, 4 June 1850

He was the great-grandson of Cadwallader Colden, the loyalist lieutenant-governor of New York on the eve of the Revolution (who carried on a steady correspondence with Benjamin Franklin, Linnaeus, Samuel Johnson [first president of King’s College in New York City], and John Bartram), and the son of Cadwallader David Colden, who was a Mayor of New York, a state senator and the author of a life of Robert Fulton.

Colden attended Columbia College in 1816 but did not stay for a degree. In 1842, a group of New Yorkers sent him to Boston to tell the young Charles Dickens that the city was eager to welcome him, suggesting that Colden had at least some interest in literature and perhaps the arts in general.

He was one of the original Commissioners on Emigration, and oversaw the carrying of water from the Croton reservoir across the East River from Manhattan to Ward’s Island for use in the Hospital and Refuge there.

William A. Frosch
“Our Original Amateurs, 2009”