DEAD VICE PRESIDENTS
Civil War to World War I
William A. Wheeler
March 4, 1801 to March 4, 1805
In March of 2008, Debbie and I took a drive (11 hours and 2,050 miles) south the Sevierville near the Great Smoky National Park for a week vacation. In addition to visiting the park we also went to Chickamauga National Battlefield in Georgia and Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga. On our way home, we took a detour of I-81 to visit Greeneville, Tennessee and visit the home of our 17th president, Andrew Johnson. After touring his home (both his first and second) along with the museum in the Visitor Center we drove to the his grave in Andrew Johnson National Cemetery. Johnson is a milestone for me becoming the 30th DPOTUS on my list.
Johnson was a U.S. Senator from Tennessee, at the time of the secession of the Southern states. He was the only southern Senator not to quit his post upon secession and later was appointed military governor of Tennessee. Johnson became the Vice President in 1864 on the ticket with Lincoln. Johnson became president upon Lincoln's assassination on April 15, 1865. As president, he fought with the Radical Republicans in Congress and became the first U.S. President to be impeached.
Johnson, who was of Scots-Irish and English decent, was born in 1808, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Jacob Johnson and Mary McDonough. Andrew Johnson's father died when Andrew was three years old, leaving his family in poverty. Johnson's mother then worked to support her family and later remarried. She bound Andrew as an apprentice tailor when he was 14 but at age 16-17 he and his brother ran away to Greeneville, Tennessee, where he found work as a tailor. Johnson married Eliza McCardle Johnson at the age of 19. He never attended any type of school and taught himself how to read and spell; his wife taught him arithmetic, and how to read and write more fluently.
Johnson, who loved to talk politics, used his tailor shop in Greeneville to start his political career. Johnson served as an alderman in Greeneville from 1829 to 1833 and was elected mayor of Greeneville in 1833. In 1835 he was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives, where after serving a single term he was defeated for re-election. In 1839 he was elected to the Tennessee Senate, where he served two two-year terms. In 1843 he became the first Democrat to win election as the U.S. Representative from Tennessee's 1st congressional district; he held the office for five terms.
Below is a photo President Andrew Johnson house. Johnson owned this home for 24 years, both before and after his presidency. He lived here until his death in 1875, however, he did not die here.
During the Civil War the home was used by both Union and Confederate troops as headquarters. A section of the left on the walls by soldiers during that time has been left exposed for visitors to see. Some of the graffiti written by Confederate soldiers is not very complimentary of Johnson "the traitor".
Johnson was elected governor of Tennessee, serving from 1853 to 1857, and was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate and served from October 8, 1857, to March 4, 1862. Before Tennessee voted on secession, Johnson, who lived in Unionist east Tennessee, toured the state speaking in opposition to the act, which he said was unconstitutional. Johnson was an aggressive stump speaker and often responded to hecklers, even if those hecklers were in the senate. At the time of secession of the Confederacy , Johnson was the only Senator from the seceded states to continue participation in Congress. In March 1862, shortly after the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson and the capture of Nashville, Lincoln appointed Johnson military governor of Tennessee. During his three years in this office he "moved resolutely to eradicate all pro-Confederate influences in the state." This "unwavering commitment to the Union" was a significant factor in his choice as vice-president by Lincoln. According to tradition and local lore, on Aug. 8, 1863, Johnson freed his personal slaves. He vigorously suppressed the Confederates and later spoke out for black suffrage.
As a leading War Democrat and pro-Union southerner, Johnson was an ideal candidate for the Republicans in 1864 as they enlarged their base to include War Democrats and changed the party name to the National Union Party. He was elected Vice President of the United States. At the inauguration ceremony, Johnson, who had been drinking (he explained later) to offset the pain of typhoid fever, gave a rambling speech and appeared intoxicated to many. In early 1865, Johnson talked harshly of hanging traitors like Jefferson Davis, which endeared him to the Radicals.
On April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth while attending a play at Ford's Theater. Booth's plan included the assassination of Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward that same night. Seward narrowly survived his wounds, while Johnson escaped attack, when his would-be assassin, George Atzerodt, failed to go through with the plan.
Upon the death of Lincoln the following morning, April 15, 1865, Johnson was sworn in as President of the United States by Lincoln's newly appointed Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase. He was the first Vice President to succeed to the U.S. Presidency upon the assassination of a President and the sixth vice president to become a president.
Photo is of President Johnson's desk in his home in Greenesville, Tennessee. The office is to the right of the front door seen in the above photo.
As president, Johnson forced the French out of Mexico by sending a combat army to the border and issuing an ultimatum. The French withdrew in 1867, and their puppet government quickly collapsed. Secretary of State Seward negotiated the purchase of Alaska from the Russia Empire on April 9, 1867, for $7.2 million. Critics sneered at "Seward's Folly" and "Seward's Icebox" and "Icebergia."
However, it was Post-Civil War Reconstruction that shaped Johnson's legacy. At first Johnson talked harshly, "Treason must be made odious... traitors must be punished and impoverished ... their social power must be destroyed." But then he struck another note: "I say, as to the leaders, punishment. I also say leniency, reconciliation and amnesty to the thousands whom they have misled and deceived." His class-based resentment of the rich appeared in a May 1865 statement to W. H. Holden, the man he appointed governor of North Carolina, "I intend to confiscate the lands of these rich men whom I have excluded from pardon by my proclamation, and divide the proceeds thereof among the families of the wool hat boys, the Confederate soldiers, whom these men forced into battle to protect their property in slaves. "Johnson in practice was not at all harsh toward the Confederate leaders. He allowed the Southern states to hold elections in 1865 in which prominent ex-Confederates were elected to the U.S. Congress; however, Congress did not seat them. Congress and Johnson argued in an increasingly public way about Reconstruction and the manner in which the Southern secessionist states would be readmitted to the Union. Johnson favored a very quick restoration, similar to the plan of leniency that Lincoln advocated before his death.
Johnson appointed governments all passed Black Codes that gave the Freedmen second class status. In response to the Black Codes and worrisome signs of Southern recalcitrance, the Radical Republicans blocked the re-admission of the ex-rebellious states to the Congress in fall 1865. Congress also renewed the Freedman's Bureau, but Johnson vetoed it. Although strongly urged by moderates in Congress to sign the Civil Rights bill, Johnson broke decisively with them by vetoing it on March 27. His veto message objected to the measure because it conferred citizenship on the Freedmen at a time when eleven out of 36 States were unrepresented and attempted to fix by Federal law "a perfect equality of the white and black races in every State of the Union." Johnson said it was an invasion by Federal authority of the rights of the States; it had no warrant in the Constitution and was contrary to all precedents.
The Democratic Party, proclaiming itself the party of white men, north and South, aligned with Johnson. However the Republicans in Congress overrode his veto and the Civil Rights bill became law. The last moderate proposal was the Fourteenth Amendment, designed to put the key provisions of the Civil Rights Act into the Constitution, but it went much further. It extended citizenship to everyone born in the United States (except Indians on reservations). Johnson used his influence to block the amendment in the states, as three-fourths of the states were required for ratification. (The Amendment was later ratified.)
The moderate effort to compromise with Johnson had failed and an all-out political war broke out between the Republicans (both Radical and moderate) on one side, and on the other Johnson and his allies in the Democratic party in the North, and the conservative groupings in the South. The decisive battle was the election of 1866. Johnson campaigned vigorously but was widely ridiculed. The Republicans won by a landslide (the Southern states were not allowed to vote), and took full control of Reconstruction. Johnson was almost powerless.
Photo is of the Johnson family plot containing President Johnson and his wife Eliza atop Signal Hill in 1875. Known today as Monument Hill. Also here are his two unmarried sons Charles and Robert.
The Republicans were determined to rid themselves of Johnson. There were two attempts to remove President Andrew Johnson from office. The first occurred in the fall of 1867, after a furious debate, a formal vote was held in the House of Representatives which failed 108-57.
Later, Johnson notified Congress that he had removed Edwin Stanton as Secretary of War (Johnson had wanted to replace Stanton with former General Ulysses S. Grant who refused to accept the position). This violated the Tenure of Office Act, a law enacted by Congress in March 1867 over Johnson's veto, specifically designed to protect Stanton. Johnson had vetoed the act, claiming it was unconstitutional (years later in the case Myers v. United States in 1926, the Supreme Court ruled that such laws were indeed unconstitutional).
The House impeached Johnson for intentionally violating the Tenure of Office Act. On March 5, 1868, a court of impeachment was constituted in the Senate to hear charges against the President. William M. Evarts served as his counsel. Eleven articles were set out in the resolution, and the trial before the Senate lasted almost three months. Johnson's defense was based on a clause in the Tenure of Office Act stating that the then-current secretaries would hold their posts throughout the term of the President who appointed them. Since Lincoln had appointed Stanton, it was claimed, the applicability of the act had already run its course. In May, 35 Senators voted "guilty" and 19 "not guilty." As the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority for conviction in impeachment trials, Johnson was acquitted. A single changed vote would have sufficed to return a "Guilty" verdict. Seven Republican senators were disturbed by how the proceedings had been manipulated in order to give a one-sided presentation of the evidence. Senators William Pitt Fessenden (Maine), Joseph S. Fowler (Tennessee), James W. Grimes (Iowa), John B. Henderson (Missouri), Lyman Trumbull (Illinois), Peter G. Van Winkle (West Virginia) and Edmund G. Ross (Kansas), who provided the decisive vote, defied their party and public opinion and voted against conviction.
Had Johnson been successfully removed from office, he would have been replaced with Radical Republican Benjamin Wade, making the presidency and Congress somewhat uniform in ideology, although in many ways Wade was more "radical" than the Republicans in Congress. This would have established a precedent that a President could be removed not for "high crimes and misdemeanors," but for purely political differences.
Here is a photo of me in front of Johnson's grave that my wife Debbie took. Family tradition holds that Johnson chose this spot as his final resting place, and it has a commanding view of the distant mountains. The words inscribed there are a testament to Johnson's political legacy - "His Faith in the People Never Wavered."
One of Johnson's last significant acts was granting unconditional amnesty to all Confederates on Christmas Day, December 25, 1868. This was after the election of U.S. Grant to succeed him, but before Grant took office in March 1869.
Johnson was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate from Tennessee in 1868 and to the House of Representatives in 1872. However, in 1874 the Tennessee legislature did elect him to the U.S. Senate. Johnson served from March 4, 1875 until his death. He is the only former President to serve in the Senate. In his first speech since returning to the Senate, which was also his last, Johnson denounced the corruptions of the Grant Administration. His passion aroused a standing ovation from many of his fellow senators who had once voted to remove him from the presidency.
On July 28, 1875, Johnson and his wife were visiting their daughter at her home near Elizabethton, Tennessee when he suffered a stroke. He recovered somewhat but suffered a second stroke the next day. He passed away two days later. He was returned to Greeneville where his body lay in state at the Greeneville County Courthouse (only a couple of blocks from his home). Because of the hot weather, his body started to decompose so the casket remained closed. On August 3, his body was escorted by honor guard to his gravesite where a simple Masonic funeral service was held. He was buried covered in the American flag and with his head resting on a copy of the U.S. Constitution. The gravesite was on land he owned and had personally chosen for his burial. His wife Eliza died six months later and was buried along side him. The family erected the tall obelisk over Andrew and Eliza Johnson’s grave in 1878. There was a dedication ceremony, and afterwards, this became known as “Monument Hill.” The photo here is of the eagle atop Johnson grave.
Johnson's personal life was sad. His wife Eliza became an invalid. She supported her husband in his political career, but had tried to avoid public appearances. Though she lived in the White House, she was not able to serve as First Lady due to her poor health. He had three sons, Charles, Robert and Andrew Jr. (nicknamed Frank) and two daughters, Martha and Mary. Charles, a surgeon during the Civil War, fell from a horse and died in 1863 at the age of 33. Robert, who became a colonel and the commander of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry (a pro-Union Tennessee regiment) during the war, never got over the death of his brother and resigned his commission shortly afterwards. He committed suicide at the age of 36 in the Johnson home shortly after the family’s return from Washington in 1869. Both brothers Charles and Robert, who had severe alcoholic problems, are buried side by side near their parents. Andrew Johnson Jr. was the youngest of the Johnson children by 18 years and the only son to marry. He never had children and died four years after his parents. Martha, who was the oldest of the children and her father's favorite, served as White House hostess for her invalid mother. Martha’s husband, David Trotter Patterson, had been one of Tennessee’s Senator at the time of Johnson’s impeachment. Patterson cast one of the Democratic “not guilty” votes during the trial. Martha lost both David and their daughter Belle within months of each other in 1891. Martha, however, lived longer than any of the other Johnson children. She witnessed the turn of a century, and died in 1901. Mary and her first husband, Daniel Stover, had three children, Sarah, Lillie and Andrew. Daniel died during the Civil War and the widowed Mary moved to the White House with her parents. She preceded the family's return to Greeneville to renovate and restore the family home to accommodate her and her children. However, a short time after finishing she married William Brown and moved away (they divorced after the deaths of her parents).
The cemetery was owned by the family until 1906. From 1906 until 1942, the cemetery was under the jurisdiction of the War Department. The first veteran burial took place in 1908, one hundred years after the birth of Andrew Johnson. By 1939, there were 100 graves. When the National Parks Service took over in 1942, their original policy was to allow no more burials. The DAR and American Legion, however, began lobbying for the reactivation of the Cemetery, and in 1946 they found success. The cemetery is still active today. This is one of the few cemeteries administered by the National Park Service to have soldiers other than those who fought in the Civil War. Here you will find veterans from the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf Wars.
National Park Service: Andrew
Johnson National Historic Site
Schuyler Colfax was the first dead vice president, and the 17th overall, that my wife Debbie and I visited on "The Five DPOTUS Tour '05". Along with the dead presidents, we picked up dead vice presidents, dead supreme court chief justices and losing presidential candidates. We started out from Bayonne early in the morning on Saturday, August 27. We drove across I-80 through Pennsylvania (what a drive that was) and into Ohio. We went past Cleveland and west along the Ohio Turnpike to Fremont (Rutherford B. Hayes) and finally to Sandusky to spend the night. The next day, we continued our trip west toward Chicago. One of the stops on the way was South Bend, Indiana. We found City Cemetery fairly easy and Colfax even easier. He is just inside the main gate. After snapping our photo we left to visit the University of Notre Dame. We walked around the campus seeing the chapel, the grotto, the stadium and of course, 'Touchdown' Jesus. Both Debbie and I were very much impressed with Notre Dame.
Schuyler Colfax's father died of tuberculosis before he was born. At the age
of ten, Schuyler went to work clerking in a store to help support his mother
who was only 27. The following year, his mother remarried in 1834 and two
years later they moved to New Carlisle, Indiana. After working in minor
political jobs, Colfax founded the St. Joseph Valley Register in South Bend
in 1845 and served as the editor of the influential Whig newspaper for
eighteen years. Two years later, he would meet Abraham Lincoln. Colfax was
one of the founders of the Free Soil Party in 1848 and was a delegate
to Whig Conventions that year and again in 1852. In 1950, Colfax ran
unsuccessfully as a Whig candidate for U.S. House of Representatives from
Indiana. Later in 1852, he declined the Whig nomination for Congress.
At the end of July, 2006, my wife and I drove to Massachusetts for three days. We stayed in the town of Natick, just outside of Boston. We went to a Red Sox game in Fenway Park and got to see David Ortiz hit a walk-off three run homer against the Cleveland Indians. The next morning, we set out to find Henry Wilson. The cemetery was about a mile from the hotel. There are two Dell Park cemeteries next to each other, with identical signs, and neither one saying "Old." The first one looked a lot more modern then the second one. I have a feeling that the name is not the Old Dell Park Cemetery, but it's rather the "old" Dell Park Cemetery. We did find the right one and found Wilson fairly easy. The marker is a lot smaller then I thought it would be.
Wilson was born Jeremiah Jones Colbath in Farmington, New Hampshire. Coming
from a poor family, his father sent him as an indentured servant to a nearby
farmer named Wilson until he was 21. He had little formal education, but read
everything he could on his own. Long estranged from his family, in 1833 he
had his name legally changed to Henry Wilson after the man who took care of
him. Wilson literally walked from Farmington, New Hampshire to Natick,
Massachusetts that year and was taught to be a shoemaker. He attended several
local academies, and also taught school in Natick, where he later engaged in
the manufacture of shoes. Wilson became successful as a shoe manufacturer and
as a Whig politician. In 1936, he visited Washington D.C. and was so
horrified at the sight of a slave auction, he left Washington determined
"to give all that I had . . . to the cause of emancipation in America,"
he said. At that point, Wilson committed himself to the antislavery movement.
March 4, 1881 to September 19, 1881
Chet Arthur was the 3rd DPOTUS that I picked up on a Columbus Day weekend trip through upstate New York and New England back in 1999 in what I dubbed "DPOTUS Tour '99". My wife and I had just left Martin van Buren in Kinderhook and drove up the highway to Albany. We had some trouble finding the cemetery, since I wasn't sure it's exact location only a general one. After to topping in a connivance store, I looked over their map and found what I was looking for. Its entrance is off a heavily traveled road. It's easier to enter if you're going south (of course, I was going north).
As soon as you enter the cemetery (they do have maps in a box at the main building), there are signs that lead you directly to Chet. It's a very large, hilly place. There are some other famous people resting at Albany Rural like Revolutionary War hero Philip Schuyler, Stephen Van Rensselaer and New Jersey's 2nd Governor William Paterson.
The grave is very interesting. The bronze angel resting her hand on Chet's coffin is very interesting. The flowers were from President Clinton (Debbie checked the card on the wreath.) We arrived only a couple of weeks after Chester Arthur's birthday (his 179th). These flowers were sent by the White House. It must be a tradition to send flowers on the birthdays of ex-presidents
I returned to see Chet with my nephew Justin during a hockey tournament in Albany. We were in the neighborhood so I thought I would drop by. It was his First DPOTUS.
After leaving the cemetery, we drove over the Berkshires into Western Massachusetts. We spent the night in the Charlemont Inn on Route 2 in Charlemont, Massachusetts. The next morning we are heading north into Vermont to find Calvin "Silent Cal" Coolidge.
Arthur was born in Northern Vermont – one of two presidents born in the Green Mountain State – the other being Coolidge.
He left the vice presidency in 1805, heavily in debt. Burr entered in a strange plot with Louisiana Governor James Wilkinson. Burr was going to lead an attack against Mexico hoping to get many Western States to leave the Union and make a southeastern confederacy under his leadership. Before it began, Wilkinson betrayed Burr, who was arrested on the charge of treason. He was tried for treason in Richmond, Virginia in 1807. Chief Justice John Marshall presided over the trial and was responsible for Burr's acquittal. After the trial, Burr left for Europe.
Thomas Andrews Hendricks was the sixth dead vice president, and the 22nd overall, that my wife Debbie and I visited on "The Five DPOTUS Tour '05". Along with the dead presidents, we picked up dead vice presidents, dead supreme court chief justices and losing presidential candidates. We started out from Bayonne early in the morning on Saturday, August 27. We drove for two days, with numerous stops, on our way to Chicago. After spending the week in Chicago, we headed on to Iowa and then back to Springfield, Illinois. The next night we left Springfield and headed to Indianapolis, Indiana. In Indianapolis, we drove to Crown Hill Cemetery. This is one of the most famous cemeteries in the country due to the fact it has one dead president, Benjamin Harrison, three dead vice-presidents; Charles Fairbanks, Thomas Marshall and Hendricks along with famous gangster John Dillinger. Crown Hill is extremely large and though Harrison's grave is easy to finds (since there are signs to it) the three vice-presidents were not. I knew the areas they were in, but they were not easily marked in the cemetery. Hendricks was the last to be located and by far the most difficult.
Hendricks, who was born on a farm in Ohio and moved to Indiana the following year with his parents, John and Jane Thomson. Hendricks was from a prominent political family; his father, an uncle and three cousins were all members of the Indiana state legislature while another uncle was the third governor of Indiana and a U.S. senator. After his graduation from Hanover College in 1841 (another famous alumni of Hanover College is actor Woody Harrelson from TV's Cheers), he began studying law. Becoming a lawyer two years later, he practiced law in Shelbyville, Indiana and later married Eliza Morgan. A Jacksonian Democrat, he became involved in politics shortly after. He spoke out against the "Know-Nothing" Party and their anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant views. In 1848, Hendricks, who was very politically ambitious, was elected to the Indiana state legislature where he became a member of the State constitutional convention where he led the move to enact "Black Laws" that promoted segregation and restricted the migration of free blacks into the state.
Two years later, he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives and won. He won re-election two years later in 1852. A popular member of the House, he became a follower of Illinois Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas and supported Douglas' controversial Kansas-Nebraska Act. This act permitted residents of the territories to determine whether or not to permit slavery, a concept known as "popular sovereignty." This issue was very controversial and resulted in the emergence of the new Republican party. His support of the Kansas-Nebraska Act brought about his defeat for re-election to a third term in 1854.
After his defeat, Hendricks accepted an appointment from President Franklin Pierce to become commissioner of the General Land Office in the Interior Department, a post he held through 1859. Next, Hendricks ran for Governor of Indiana in 1860, but lost to Republican Henry S. Lane. After his defeat, he moved to Indianapolis and practiced law.
After the firing on Fort Sumter in April of 1861, Civil War broke out in the United States. Indiana was split between those who advocated peace by letting the South secede from the Union and those who wanted to fight to maintain the Union. Hendricks became one of his state’s leading "War Democrats." Later in the year, when it was discovered that Jesse D. Bright, the president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate and Indiana's leading Democrat, was supporting the Confederacy, was expelled from the Senate. The following year, the Indiana state legislature choose Hendricks to take his seat in the United States Senate [popular voting of senators wouldn't come about until 1913]. He was one of only ten Democrats in the now reduced Congress [The eleven southern Confederate states were gone].
Unlike many Democratic "Copperheads", Hendricks was loyal to President Lincoln and the Union but opposed many aspects of the Republican-dominated military effort in the American Civil War and the Reconstruction program for the South after the war. He favored Lincoln's plan of leniency toward the former Confederate states and opposed the Radical Republicans plans. Unfortunately, his racist belief that Blacks were not equal to Whites led him to oppose all legislation aimed at assisting freed Blacks, either politically or economically. He went so far as to openly oppose the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution that gave freedom for slaves as well as voting rights and U.S. citizenship.
In 1868, during the Democratic National Convention held at Tammany Hall in New York City, Hendrick's name was put forward for president, but he lost to New York Governor Horatio Seymour. From that year until his death, he was put forward for nomination for the Presidency at every national Democratic Convention except 1872. After his one term as senator was up, he returned to Indiana. In 1872, Hendrick's defeated Civil War general Thomas M. Browne to become Indiana's 16th governor, the first Democratic governor elected in a northern state after the war, replacing Republican Conrad Baker.
During the presidential election of 1872, Democratic candidate Horace Greeley died days after the popular vote in the presidential election. In the Electoral College, Governor Hendricks received 42 electoral votes that were previously pledged to Greeley.
In the 1876 Democratic National Convention held at Merchants Exchange Building in St. Louis, Hendricks was the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Democratic Party, but after the Panic of 1873, Hendricks became associated with the "greenbacks." This made New York financiers very nervous and the nomination went to New York governor Samuel Tilden instead. To balance out the ticket, and get "greenback" votes, Hendricks was nominated to be Tilden's running mate.
The Election of 1876 was the most controversial in the history of the United States (even more then 2000). Because of all of the scandals surrounding the prior Grant administration, both parties looked to get candidates who could win the public trust. When the votes were counted up, Tilden looked like the easy winner. He had 4,288,546 votes to Hayes' 4,034,311 giving Tilden 51% of the popular vote. However, Tilden was one electoral vote short of the majority needed to win. Hayes had even less electoral votes. The problem was that three southern, and former Confederate states, had sent in two sets of voting results. South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida where Reconstruction Republican governments were still in control submitted two sets of electoral ballots, one favoring Tilden, the other Hayes.
Congress opted to appoint an Electoral Commission to find a solution. The commission consisted of five members of the House, five from the Senate and five justices from the Supreme Court with a party affiliation of seven Republicans, seven Democrats and one Independent. The Independent, Supreme Court Justice David Davis of Illinois (whose grave I also photographed on this trip), dropped out when the Illinois state legislature suddenly appointed Davis to fill an empty seat in the U.S. Senate. Justice Joseph P. Bradley, a Republican, was selected as his replacement. Though a fan of Tilden, he joined the other Republicans and the vote was 8 to 7 along party lines. Hayes was president. However, Southern Democrats planned to block the Commission's report with a filibuster. A secret compromise was worked out to get the Democrats to go along with it, including removal of Federal troops from the former Confederate states and ending Reconstruction in the former Confederacy.
In the Democratic Convention of 1880 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Hendricks was not nominated, that honor going instead to William H. English of Indiana, who with presidential candidate Winfield Scott Hancock, lost to Republican James Garfield. Later that year, he suffered a stroke while on vacation in Arkansas.
Four years later in the 1884 Democratic
held at the Exposition Building in Chicago, Hendricks was a delegate.
The field for candidates was wide open and the Democrats were looking to go
with a 'new' face and nominated the reform governor of New York, Grover
Cleveland. However, opponents to Cleveland decided to throw Hendricks, who
represented the "old ticket" of 1876 that had been robbed of
victory, into the mix and get him nominated instead. Cleveland did prevail
and received the nomination when it was realized he stood the best chance of
winning the general election. They did nominate Hendricks as his running mate
despite the fact that Cleveland did not want him on the ticket (delegates
gave him the vice president spot claiming he deserved it and again with the
hope of gaining "greenback" votes). This was the second time that
Hendricks ran as the running mate of a New York governor. This time they won,
however by a slim margin of 30,000 votes, in what has often been described as
one of the "dirtiest" campaign in American political history.
Levi P. Morton
Born: May 16, 1824 in Shoreham, Vermont
One pleasant Sunday afternoon in May of 2006, my wife and I took a drive north along the Hudson River towards Rhinebeck, New York. Rhinebeck is a picturesque town among the hills of upstate New York. It's a short distance north of Hyde Park and Franklin D. Roosevelt's home and museum. While in Rhinebeck, which has some nice antique shops, we visited Rhinebeck Cemetery and got a photo of Levi Morton's grave. Morton becomes the 23rd dead vice president on my list.
Morton was born in Shoreham, Addison County, Vermont to a Congregationalist minister. His older brother, David Oliver Morton would become the Mayor of Toledo. Morton, an Episcopalian, was a clerk in a general store in Enfield, Massachusetts, taught school in Boscawen, New Hampshire, engaged in mercantile pursuits in Hanover, New Hampshire, moved to Boston, entered the dry-goods business in New York City and engaged in banking there. On October 15, 1856, he married his first wife, Lucy Young Kimball in Flatlands, New York. They had one child together. His wife died on July 11, 1871 and he remarried to Anna Livingston Reade Street. They had five daughters. Morton, an Episcopalian, was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1876 to the 45th Congress. He was appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes as honorary commissioner to the Paris Exhibition of 1878 (where the completed head of the Statue of Liberty was showcased).
Morton was elected as a Republican to the 46th and 47th Congresses, serving from March 4, 1879 until his resignation on March 21, 1881. Presidential candidate James Garfield asked him to be his vice presidential candidate in 1880, but Morton rejected the offer. He asked to be Minister to Great Britain or France instead. Ironically, if Morton had accepted. He, instead of Chester Arthur, would have become the 25th president after the assassination of Garfield in 1881. Garfield named him to be Minister to France (ambassador) and he served from 1881 to 1885 (Incidentally, it was this appointment that led indirectly to Garfield's assassination — his murderer, Charles Guiteau, decided to assassinate the president when he was passed over as minister to France).
Morton was very popular in France, helping commercial relations run smoothly between the two countries during his term, and he hammered the first nail in the construction of the Statue of Liberty (It was driven into the big toe of Lady Liberty’s left foot.). Also, while minister, he moved the U.S. Embassy to a new location in Paris. The plaza in front of the embassy was renamed Place des États-Unis (United States Place). Today there is a statue to Washington and Lafayette in the center of the square.
In 1888, Morton was chosen the vice presidential candidate on the Republican ticket headed by Benjamin Harrison of Ohio in their convention in Chicago. In the election, they were opposed by President Grover Cleveland. The Republicans campaigned heavily on the issue of protective tariffs, turning out protectionist voters in the important industrial states of the North.
Despite losing the popular vote by 90,000 to Cleveland, Harrison won the Electoral College 233 to 168. The pivotal swing state was New York (as well as having the most electoral votes - 36). This was Cleveland's state as well as Morton's. The Republican's were determined to carry the state. Money was collected to buy votes and a British ambassador was tricked into revealing his support for Cleveland which alienated Irish voters. This helped give the Republicans a 1% edge in the vote which carried New York.
Morton was now Vice President of the United States. During his term, Harrison tried to pass an election law enforcing the voting rights of blacks in the South, but Morton did little to support the bill against a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. Harrison blamed Morton for the bill's eventual failure, and, at the Republican convention in 1892, Morton was replaced by Whitelaw Reid as the vice-presidential candidate (they would ultimately lose to Cleveland).
After leaving as vice president, Morton was elected as the 31st Governor of New York and served one two-year term from 1895 to 1896. During the 1896 Republican Convention in St. Louis, Morton received the fourth highest votes (58 votes) during the first ballot for president, but William McKinley (who would ultimately win the general election), who had received an overwhelming 661½ votes and won the nomination for president.
Following his public career, he became a real estate investor. He died in Rhinebeck on his 96th birthday (the only U.S. President or Vice President to have died on his birthday). Among vice presidents, Morton lived to be the second oldest (the oldest was John Nance Garner who lived to the age of 98). Morton even survived five of his successors in the vice presidency; Adlai E. Stevenson, Garret Hobart, Theodore Roosevelt, Charles W. Fairbanks and James S. Sherman.
The Village of Morton Grove, in Cook County, Illinois is named after Morton.
Adlai Stevenson was the third dead vice president, and the 19th overall, that my wife Debbie and I visited on "The Five DPOTUS Tour '05". Along with the dead presidents, we picked up dead vice presidents, dead supreme court chief justices and losing presidential candidates. We started out from Bayonne early in the morning on Saturday, August 27. We drove for two days, with numerous stops, on our way to Chicago. After spending the week in Chicago, we headed on to Iowa to visit Herbert Hoover's grave and then back to Springfield, Illinois. On the way to Springfield, we stopped in Bloomington, Illinois to visit the Stevensons. They were both easy to find. I had e-mailed the cemetery before going and they gave me good directions to the gravesites.
Adlai Ewing Stevenson, son of John Turner Stevenson and Eliza Ewing Stevenson (descended from Northern Irish Presbyterians), was born on the family tobacco farm in Christian County, Kentucky. At the time, Kentucky was a slave state and the Stevenson family owned a few slaves. When their tobacco crop was ruined in 1852, the family set their slaves free and moved to Bloomington, Illinois, where they operated a sawmill. Stevenson attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. He studied law and became a lawyer. He wanted to marry Letitia Green, the daughter of the college president and Presbyterian minister, but their family considered Stevenson socially inferior. After nine years, and the death of the minister, they were married. They had three daughters and a son Lewis (father of future presidential hopeful Adlai Stevenson II).
Stevenson became involved in politics after attending the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858. Stevenson became a supporter of the Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas and helped campaign for him against Lincoln. He spoke out against the "Know-Nothing" Party and their anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant views which made him popular among immigrants. In 1860, at age 23, he received a small political office which he held throughout the Civil War. In 1864, he was elected District Attorney and later started a law firm with his cousin James S. Ewing creating a very prominent law firm, Stevenson & Ewing.
In 1874, Stevenson ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and won. This is a major accomplishment considering that the Republicans dominated post-Civil War politics. However, the economic panic of 1873 caused voters to sweep him into office in the first Democratic congressional majority since the Civil War. He was defeated for re-election in 1876. In 1878, he returned to Congress for another term, but was again defeated when he ran for re-election.
Stevenson served as a delegate to the Democratic convention of 1884 held at Exposition Building in Chicago that nominated Grover Cleveland for president. Cleveland also abhorred the patronage system and refused to hand out jobs as political rewards. He eventually gave in to those who insisted on rewarding the party faithful and made Stevenson Postmaster General, who promptly set about replacing postmasters around the country with loyal Democrats. Postmasters, there were about 55,000 of them, were important political jobs since they had the ability to know everyone in small communities and were able to help distribute partisan mail. One Republican newspaper called Stevenson, ""an official axman who beheaded Republican officeholders with the precision and dispatch of the French guillotine in the days of the Revolution." In all, Stevenson replaced 40,000 postmasters with loyal Democrats. When Cleveland was defeated for re-election by Republican Benjamin Harrison in 1888, the new Postmaster General reversed over 30,000 of Stevenson appointments.