January 17th, 2017

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Cabinet: Bancroft, Dobbin, and Katzenbach

On this date in 1814, James Cochran Dobbin was born. He was the 22nd Secretary of the Navy (1853-57), and died five months after leaving office, on August 4, 1857, at the age of 43 years 199 days. He is number five on the list of shortest-lived Cabinet Secretaries.

On this date in 1891, George Bancroft died. He was born in 1800, and was the 17th Secretary of the Navy (March 11, 1845-September 9, 1846). Following his Cabinet service, he was Ambassador to England (1846-49) and Ambassador to Berlin (1867-74). His retirement from the Cabinet, which lasted 44 years, 130 days, is the second longest on record.

On this date in 1922, Nicholas Katzenbach was born. He was the 65th Attorney General, serving from January 28, 1965 to November 28, 1966 (he had previously been Deputy and acting Attorney General). He broke Bancroft's record for time retired from the Cabinet on April 7, 2011, and died May 8, 2012, setting the record at 45 years, 161 days.
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Presidential wedding anniversary: the Jacksons

On this date in 1794, for the second time, Andrew Jackson married Rachel Donelson Robards. Originally married to Lewis Robards in 1784, Rachel thought she had been divorced in 1790. But when Robards heard of Rachel's marriage to Jackson in August 1791, he finally sued for divorce, on the grounds of adultery. The divorce was issued in September 1793, and the Jacksons remarried a few months later. That seemed to put the issue to rest, until Andrew ran for President in 1828, when his opponents again brought it up. Though the theoretical adultery did not cost Jackson the election, it did cost Rachel her health and peace of mind. She died in December 1828, after Jackson won, but before he was inaugurated.
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President Rutherford Hayes

On this date in 1893, nearly twelve years after keeping his promise to not run for a second term as President, Rutherford Birchard Hayes died at the age of 70, of complications from a heart attack.

Born in Delaware, Ohio, on October 4, 1822, Hayes was named for his father, who had died 10 weeks before the future President was born (Hayes was the second of three posthumous Presidents). Hayes represented Ohio in the House of Representatives, and was Governor of Ohio for three terms.

In 1876, Hayes won the Republican nomination for President. Democrat Samuel Tilden won the popular vote, but the electoral vote was unclear, and it wasn't until February 1877 that the bipartisan Electoral Commission awarded all 20 disputed electoral votes to Hayes. As President, he ended Reconstruction, and attempted to reform the Civil Service.

Fellow Ohioan James Garfield was elected to succeed Hayes, and consulted with Hayes on appointments. In his retirement, Hayes was an advocate for educational charities, and served on the Board of Trustees for Ohio State University. His wife, Lucy, died in 1889.