February 1st, 2017

book cover - tpbol

Cabinet: William Howard Taft

On this date in 1904, William Howard Taft took office as the 42nd Secretary of War, appointed by Theodore Roosevelt. As Secretary of War, he supervised preparations for the construction of the Panama Canal, and was in Panama in November and December 1904. Taft was in the Philippines from July to September 1905. He was the provisional governor of Cuba during September and October 1906. And he also served as acting Secretary of State during John Hay's final illness (he died in office in 1905).

Taft resigned in June 1908, in order to run for President, at Roosevelt's urging. He won the election, and served one term, the seventh former Cabinet Secretary (of eight) to become President.

Taft's father, Alphonso, was the 31st Secretary of War, serving under Ulysses Grant from March to May, 1876.
book cover - rtvp

Second Lady Ellen Hamlin

On this date in 1925, Ellen Vesta Emery Hamlin died at the age of 89. Her elder half-sister, Sarah Jane Emery, died in 1855 (after twenty years of marriage), and the following year, Ellen married her Sarah's widower, Hannibal Hamlin. He was 26 years older than she, and had been serving in the Senate for seven years. Ellen was two years older than her oldest stepson/nephew. Hannibal and Ellen had two children. In 1861, Ellen became Second Lady of the United States, when Hannibal took office as the 15th Vice President. Hannibal served one term, was dropped from the ticket for re-election, and later served another two terms in the Senate, and just over a year as US Minister to Spain. Hannibal died in 1891.