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October 2016




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Oct. 25th, 2016

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Presidential wedding anniversary: the Arthurs

On this date in 1859, 22-year-old Ellen Lewis Herndon married 30-year-old Chester Alan Arthur. The Arthurs had three children, two of whom lived to adulthood. Ellen, also known as Nell, died of pneumonia in January 1880. That summer, Chester was nominated for Vice President of the United States, elected in November, and succeeded to the Presidency in September 1881. Nell was the fourth woman to marry a future President, but not survive to see his term of office (following Martha Jefferson, Rachel Jackson, and Hannah Van Buren).
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Presidential wedding anniversary: the John Adamses

On this date in 1764, Abigail Smith (who was 19 days shy of her 20th birthday) and John Adams (five days shy of his 29th) married. The wedding was performed by the bride's father. She bore six children over the next ten years, including one judge and one President (John Quincy Adams). The couple remained married through John's extensive travels representing his new-born country (she mostly stayed home, but sometimes accompanied him). They were the first Presidential couple to live in the White House (they moved in months before John's term as the second President ended). Their marriage lasted 54 years; Abigail died three days after their anniversary. She was the first woman to be married to one President and mother of another, though she didn't live to see John Quincy's election.
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First Lady Caroline Harrison

On this date in 1892, First Lady Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison died of tuberculosis. She had contracted the disease a year earlier. Her death came days before the election of 1892, in which her husband, Benjamin, was defeated in his bid for re-election. Caroline had graduated from the Oxford Female Institute in 1853, months before marrying Benjamin. She was the third First Lady with a college degree (after Lucy Hayes and Frances Cleveland), and the second of three to die in office (after Letitia Tyler, before Ellen Wilson).
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Cabinet: Henry C. Wallace

On this date in 1924, 7th Secretary of Agriculture Henry C. Wallace died in office, having been on the job three and a half years. He was 58 years old.

Henry C. did not live long enough to see his son, Henry A., follow in his footsteps as the 11th Secretary of Agriculture (1933-40), nor go on to be Vice President (1941-45) or Secretary of Commerce (1945-46).

Oct. 24th, 2016

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Second Lady Cornelia Fairbanks

On this date in 1913, Cornelia Cole Fairbanks died of pneumonia. Born in 1852, she was the Second Lady of the United States from 1905 to 1909, when her husband, Charles, was the 26th Vice President. A mother of five children, she was elected President General of the National Society of the Daughter of the American Revolution in 1901. Charles outlived her by five years.
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Vice President James Sherman

On this date in 1855, James Schoolcraft Sherman was born in upstate New York. He represented New York in the House of Representatives from 1887 to 1891, lost the election of 1890, and then won again in 1892, serving another eight terms. In 1908 he was elected Vice President on William Howard Taft's ticket. On October 30, 1912, he died while in office (and while taking part in a losing re-election campaign: Taft came in third in the election, behind Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt).

Oct. 23rd, 2016

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Supreme Court: Clarence Thomas

On this date in 1991, 43-year-old Clarence Thomas took his seat as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Born in Georgia, he received his JD from Yale in 1974, and then worked for three years as the Assistant Attorney General of Missouri. From 1982 to 1990, he was Chairman of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and then was a judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for a year and a half, until George H.W. Bush appointed him to the Court. Thomas is the 106th Justice appointed to the Court, and is currently the second most senior Associate Justice.
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Vice President Adlai Stevenson

On this date in 1835, Adlai Ewing Stevenson was born. In 1874, he was elected to the House of Representatives, but he lost his bid for re-election in 1876. He made a comeback in 1878 and served another term, and then lost again in 1880 and 1882. Stevenson served as first assistant postmaster general during President Grover Cleveland's first term, and when Cleveland made a come-back in 1892, Stevenson was his running mate. Stevenson was Vice President from 1893 to 1897. He was also on the ticket in 1900, running for Vice President under William Jennings Bryan, but they lost to William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

Stevenson's grandson, Adlai Ewing Stevenson II, was the Democratic candidate for President in 1952 and 1956 (losing both times to Dwight Eisenhower). His great-grandson, Adlai Ewing Stevenson III, was a senator from Illinois from 1970 to 1981. Vice President Stevenson died in June 1914.

Oct. 22nd, 2016

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Presidential children: Warren Harding

On this date in 1919, Elizabeth Ann Britton (later to add the last names Harding and Blaesing) was born in Marion, Ohio, to Nan Britton. Nan alleged that Elizabeth was the illegitimate daughter of Warren G. Harding. She was the senior Presidential child from the death of Helen Herron Taft Manning on February 21, 1987, until her own death on November 17, 2005. Her death, a month after her 86th birthday, makes her one of only 15 Presidential children to live at least 85 years.
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Cabinet: William Harris Crawford

On this date in 1816, 7th Secretary of the Treasury William Harris Crawford took office. Appointed by James Madison at the end of his term, he served until March 6, 1825, mostly under James Monroe, for 8 years 135 days. Crawford was one of eleven Cabinet Secretaries to serve more than eight years in one post.

Prior to moving to the Treasury Department, he had been the 9th Secretary of War, for about 14 months. And before that, he had been US Ambassador to France for a year and a half, and a Senator for six years. When he wasn't serving in the government, he was a lawyer and a judge.

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