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April 2017

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February 25th, 2017

book cover - tpbol

Supreme Court: Philip P. Barbour

On this date in 1841, Philip P. Barbour died at the age of 57. He is unique in US political history, as the only person to serve as both Speaker of the House and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Barbour represented Virginia in the House of Representatives from 1814 to 1825, and again from 1827 to 1830. From December 4, 1821 to March 4, 1823, he was the 12th Speaker of the House. In 1836, President Andrew Jackson appointed Barbour to the Court, and he served until his death.

Barbour's family held several governmental posts at that time: his brother James was Secretary of War (1825-28), a Senator (1815-25), and Governor of Virginia (1812-14); his first cousin John was a Representative (1823-33); and his first cousin once removed John Jr. was later a Representative (1881-87) and Senator (1889-92).
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First Lady Anna Harrison

On this date in 1864, Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison died at the age of 88 years 215 days. Hers was the briefest tenure as First Lady. Indeed, she is the only Presidential spouse to never be in the national capital while her husband was President. The weather in March 1841 was cold and unpleasant, so Anna decided to follow her husband to Washington later in the spring. Unfortunately, he died a month after taking office.

Anna Harrison is number six on the list of longest-lived First Ladies, and the most fertile. She and William Henry Harrison married in 1795, and had ten children in the next 19 years (nine of whom lived to adulthood). Only four of their children survived to see their father become President in 1841, but one of them fathered a President himself: John Scott, who served in the House of Representatives for four years, and was the father of President Benjamin Harrison. Anna and William's ten children combined to give them 48 grandchildren.