Oliver Dwight Filley

 

Oliver Dwight Filley

Term: 1858 - 1861
Party: Republican
Born: May 23, 1806
Bloomfield, Connecticut
Died: August 21, 1881
Hampton, New Hampshire
 
Oliver D. Filley (Mayor 1858-1861)-Backround
Mayor (1858-1861). Oliver Dwight Filley was born in Bloomfield, Connecticut on May 23, 1806. Following elementary schooling he had a business education. His father was a tinner and he thus learned the trade. He worked in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia at the sheet metal occupation. In 1833 he came to St. Louis and worked for a stove manufacturing shop. He soon bought out the company and went into partnership with his brother, Giles F. Filley. In 1835 Filley married Miss Chloe Veline Brown of Bloomfield, Connecticut. They had three sons and four daughters.

Filley's first political beliefs followed those of the Jacksonian Democrats and he was a close friend of Thomas Hart Benton. Later Filley was a supporter of the Free Soil movement. After 1856 he became a leader in the Republican Party. At the municipal election of 1858 he was elected Mayor over George R. Taylor, the Democratic candidate.

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Oliver D. Filley (Mayor 1858-1861)-Administration
In 1858 Oliver Dwight Filley became the twentieth Mayor of St. Louis.

Under Filley's leadership the Fire Alarm Telegraph System was completed and put into use. The first paid Fire Department was organized. It had been authorized during Mayor Wimer's second administration in 1857. Construction was begun on four street railway lines operated by horse cars. The City began to regulate private employment agencies.

Mr. Filley was the City's first Civil War Mayor. At the start of the war he headed a movement for arousing and consolidating union sentiment and acted as chairman of the Committee of Public Safety. This citizens body was appointed to cooperate with the military in enforcing the authority of the National Government. He continued on the committee after his term as Mayor and this was his last prominent public service.

Mr. Filley had been elected for the usual one-year term in 1858. Then in 1859 he became the first Mayor elected for a two-year term under the new City Charter in 1859. Until this time all Mayors had been elected for one-year terms. This new Charter also changed the organization of the legislative body of the City Government. The two house legislative plan which had been adopted in 1839, was discontinued. From 1859 to 1876 the City Council consisted of one board called the Common Council. The board consisted of two members elected from each of the ten wards. Members of the board consisted of two members elected from each of the ten wards. Members of the old Board of Alderman became the new Common Council. The second body, the House of Delegates, ceased to exist in 1859. In 1866 it was used again for the one year only. In 1876 the House of Delegates re-appeared, and the two house system was used until 1914.

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Oliver D. Filley (Mayor 1858-1861)-Post-Administration

After serving as Mayor, Oliver Dwight Filley remained one of the City of St. Louis' leading businessmen. He was a director of the old Bank of the State of Missouri. His stove manufacturing company did business in a trade territory extending to all important points up the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers.

Oliver D. Filley died August 21, 1881 in Hampton, New Hampshire. Interment was in Bellefontaine Cemetery.

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