There is some confusion as to the real reason why we celebrate Tweed Day. Some people believe the day was created to celebrate William M “Boss” Tweed who was a corrupt American democratic boss. Tweed stole between $30 to $200 million by means of political corruption in New York. The day could also have a nicer origin and simply celebrates the Scottish fabric made into many items of clothing such as suits and jackets. Whichever origin you prefer for Tweed Day, today is a day to enjoy tweed in all its various forms.
History of William Tweed
William tweed was born on April 3, 1823 the day that Tweed Day is now celebrated. He decided to stop going to school at the age of 11 and become an apprentice to a saddler, which was common at the time. He married a woman named Mary Skaden in 1844, and joined a Fire Company. In 1848 he formed his own fire company called “Americus Fire Company” with his friends. Tweed quickly became famous for the violence that ensued as they fought other fire companies for the chance to put out fires. Tweed was particularly infamous for wielding an axe in these fights. At the time many political parties would recruit candidates from these violent companies. The democratic party had Tweed run for Alderman in 1850. He lost this position but then ran again and was awarded his first political position. This also began his career in corruption. Tweed was arrested once in 1875 but managed to escape jail by going to Spain. He was tracked down and returned to jail in 1876. By his death in 1878 he was convicted of stealing 200 million dollars from the taxpayers of New York.
History of Tweed Fabric
The history of Tweed fabric is not as eventful as William Tweed. This fabric is a rough woolen fabric that is very tightly woven. Tweed is considered to be a major facet of Scottish and Irish clothing and is often used for outerwear. This material is moisture resistant and very durable. Tweed was originally made to withstand harsh climates for long periods of time, making it a perfect fabric for hunting in Ireland and Scotland. Today, tweed is used in a more relaxed sense and as a fashionable alternative to the wide variety of fabric available.
The original name of Tweed was tweel, which is Scots for the material used in this fabric. In the traditional story of origin, the name that we use today was created by accident. In 1831, a London merchant received a letter from a manufacturer about some “tweels” the merchant misinterpreted the handwriting and thought it was the name of a company based off the river Tweed that flows near the area in which the fabrics were made. The fabric was advertised as Tweed and the name has been used ever since. Tweed has been worn by several famous literary figures such as Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and Indiana Jones.