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November 2015




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Nov. 26th, 2015

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Vice President John C. Calhoun

On this date in 1845, former Vice President John C. Calhoun joined the US Senate for the second time. The seventh Vice President (from 1825 to 1832), he'd resigned months before his term ended to join the Senate, and served until 1843. He left the Senate, and then served a year as Secretary of State under John Tyler. His second stint in the Senate lasted four and a half years, until his death in March 1850.

Calhoun was the first of five former Vice Presidents to serve in the Senate.
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Supreme Court: Bushrod Washington

On this date in 1829, Associate Justice Bushrod Washington of Virginia died in office. A nephew of first President George Washington, he was born on June 5, 1762, and was John Adams's first appointment to the Supreme Court. Bushrod was 36 years 244 days old when he took his seat on February 4, 1799, the third youngest Justice ever. He is buried at Mount Vernon with his famous uncle.

Nov. 25th, 2015

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Presidential Children: George W. Bush

On this date in 1981, Laura Bush gave birth to fraternal twin daughters, Babara and Jenna. Laura's father-in-law, George H.W. Bush, had just been elected the 43rd Vice President. The twins graduated high school in 2000, and later that year, their father, George W. Bush, was elected the 43rd President. Barbara and Jenna went on to graduate from Yale University and the University of Texas, respectively, in 2004. They are, to date, the only twin children of a US President.
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Vice President Thomas A. Hendricks

On this date in 1885, 21st Vice President Thomas A. Hendricks died in office. He had been sworn in less than nine months earlier, with Grover Cleveland (for Cleveland's first term). The 66-year-old Hendricks had been represented Indiana in the House of Representatives (1851-55), in the Senate (1863-69), and as Governor (1873-77). He ran for Vice President on Samuel Tilden's ticket in 1876, and lost the highly contested election that year. In 1884, the Democrats nominated him again, and he was successful, but served only a short time as Vice President. He is buried in Indianapolis's Crown Hill Cemetery, along with President Benjamin Harrison and Vice Presidents Charles Fairbanks and Thomas Marshall.
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Presidential wedding anniversary: the WHHarrisons

On this date in 1795, 20-year-old Anna Tuthill Symmes married 22-year-old William Henry Harrison. Over the next twenty years, the couple had ten children (including one, John Scott, who would serve in the House of Representatives and become the father of President Benjamin Harrison). In 1840, William Henry was elected the ninth President of the United States. In early 1841, the weather was miserable, and while he went to Washington to be sworn in, Anna decided to stay home in Ohio until later in the year, when the weather would be better. William Henry gave a long inaugural speech in bad weather, caught cold, and died a month into his term. Anna Harrison was the only First Lady to never make it to the national capital while her husband was in office.
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Presidential parents: Harry Truman

On this date in 1852, Martha Ellen Young was born in Missouri. In 1881, she married John Truman. Her first son died as an infant, but her second, Harry, grew up to be the 33rd President of the United States. Martha died on July 26, 1947, aged 94 years 243 days, making her #3 on the list of longest-lived Presidential parents.

Nov. 24th, 2015

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President Zachary Taylor

On this date in 1784, Zachary Taylor was born in Virginia. In May 1808, he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the US Army's Seventh Infantry Regiment by his second cousin, President James Madison. Taylor served in the Army for forty years, rising to the rank of Major General. By 1848, he had never held political office, nor, apparently, ever voted. But as a heroic veteran, the Whig Party nominated him for President, and he won the election. Taylor died sixteen months into his term, apparently of an acute bout of gastroenteritis. There were rumors Taylor had been poisoned, but there was no proof, and indeed, in 1991, his body was exhumed and tested, and no evidence of poisoning was found. He was reinterred in the military cemetery that bears his name in Kentucky.
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Vice President Alben Barkley

On this date in 1877, Alben Barkley was born in Kentucky. In 1912, he was elected to the House of Representatives, where he served for 14 years. In 1926, Kentucky elected him to the Senate, and then reelected him in 1932, 1938, and 1944. In 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in office, and Vice President Harry Truman succeeded to the office. In 1948, Truman was nominated for his own term as President, and Barkley received the Democratic nomination for Vice President. They won. In 1947, Barkley's first wife, Dorothy Brower, died. In 1949, at the age of 71, Barkley became the only Vice President to marry while in office, when he married Elizabeth Jane Rucker Hadley, known as Jane Hadley, who was a widow 34 years his junior. Following his one term as Vice President, Barkley retired to Kentucky in 1953, but the following year, decided to run for the Senate again. He won the election, and served less than a year and a half: he died in April 1956.

Nov. 23rd, 2015

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President Franklin Pierce

On this date in 1804, Franklin Pierce was born in New Hampshire. He represented New Hampshire in the House of Representatives from 1833 to 1837, and then in the Senate from 1837 to 1842. Following his resignation from the Senate, he returned to practicing law, and was the US Attorney for New Hampshire from 1845 to 1847. He turned down the nomination for Governor, and when President Polk offered to appoint him Attorney General, he refused that post, too. He was an officer during the Mexican-American War (1846-48), and a surprise, compromise candidate at the Democratic convention of 1852. He served one term, the only President from New Hampshire, and then lost the nomination for another term in 1856. He died in 1869.
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Vice President Elbridge Gerry

On this date in 1814, fifth Vice President Elbridge Gerry became the second to die in office (his predecessor, George Clinton, was the first). Gerry was 70 years old (Clinton had been 72). He had been a delegate to the Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and a member of the first class of Representatives in the House (he represented Massachusetts from 1789 to 1793). He ran for the governorship of Massachusetts several times, and was finally elected in 1810. Re-elected in 1811, he was defeated in 1812. Following Clinton's death in April 1812, Gerry got the nod to run on Madison's ticket for his second term. The Democrat-Republican Party was, at the time, already looking to the election of 1816, when they planned to run James Monroe for the Presidency, and they didn't want a Vice President who would challenge for the nomination. Gerry went them one further, and died of heart failure in office. Following Clinton's and Gerry's deaths, the country decided to turn toward younger Vice Presidents, and next elected Daniel D. Tompkins, who was 42 when he took office.

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