The 81st New York State Legislature, consisting of the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly, met from January 5 to April 19, 1858, during the second year of John A. King's governorship, in Albany.
Under the provisions of the New York Constitution of 1846, 32 Senators and 128 assemblymen were elected in single-seat districts; senators for a two-year term, assemblymen for a one-year term. The senatorial districts were made up of entire counties, except New York County (four districts) and Kings County (two districts). The Assembly districts were made up of entire towns, or city wards, forming a contiguous area, all within the same county.
On April 13, the Legislature re-apportioned the Senate districts, and the Assembly seats per county. Cayuga, Dutchess, Genesee, Greene, Montgomery, Onondaga, Orange, Otsego, Schoharie and Tompkins counties lost one seat each; New York, Oswego, Queens, Ulster and Westchester counties gained one seat each; Kings County gained four seats; and the new Schuyler County was apportioned one seat.
At this time there were two major political parties: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The Know Nothing movement ran in the election as the "American Party."
The New York state election, 1857 was held on November 3. All eight statewide elective offices were carried by the Democrats. The approximate party strength at this election, as expressed by the vote for Secretary of State was: Democratic 195,000; Republican 177,000; and American 67,000.
The Legislature met for the regular session at the Old State Capitol in Albany on January 5, 1858; and adjourned on April 19.
On January 12, John B. Halsted (R) was elected President pro tempore of the State Senate..
On January 26, after three weeks of deadlock, Thomas G. Alvord (D) was elected Speaker on the 53rd ballot.
The asterisk (*) denotes members of the previous Legislature who continued in office as members of this Legislature. James Noxon, John E. Paterson, John B. Halsted, James Wadsworth and John P. Darling were re-elected. George G. Scott and Ralph A. Loveland changed from the Assembly to the Senate.
Party affiliations follow the vote for Senate officers.Clerk: Samuel P. Allen
Deputy Clerk: Henry J. Sickles
Sergeant-at-Arms: Henry W. Dwight
Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms: Simeon Dillingham
Doorkeeper: Richard U. Owens
First Assistant Doorkeeper: Henry W. Shipman
Second Assistant Doorkeeper: Samuel Ten Eyck
Third Assistant Doorkeeper: James P. Clark
Journal Clerk: James Terwilliger
Engrossing Clerks: A. N. Cole, Charles G. Fairman
The asterisk (*) denotes members of the previous Legislature who continued as members of this Legislature.
Party affiliations follow the original vote for Speaker.Clerk: David Wilson
Assistant Clerk: Edwin O. Perrin
Sergeant-at-Arms: Philip H. Lasher
Doorkeeper: Peter J. Cook
First Assistant Doorkeeper: John Davis
Second Assistant Doorkeeper: James Swarthout
Journal Clerk: Joseph B. Cushman