Some people can readily identify the eight Presidents of the United States who died in office (Wm. H. Harrison, Taylor, Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Harding, FDR, and JFK). It is probably much more of a challenge to recite the seven Vice Presidents who died in office (George Clinton, Gerry, King, Wilson, Hendricks, Hobart, and Sherman). One of those VPs was Indiana’s own Thomas A. Hendricks, who died this day (November 25) in 1885 while serving as Vice President under Grover Cleveland.
Hendricks was born near Zanesville, Ohio on September 7, 1819. He grew up in Indiana, and graduated from Hanover College in 1841. He began practicing law in Shelbyville in 1843, served one term in the Indiana General Assembly, and served in the U.S. House from 1851-1855. He lost the race for governor in 1860 to Republican candidate Henry S. Lane. The General Assembly elected Hendricks to the U.S. Senate in 1862 and he served through the end of the Civil War and into Reconstruction until 1869. Hendricks won election as governor of Indiana and served from 1873-1877. He ran as Samuel Tilden’s vice president in 1876, but the Democrats lost that contest. The Democratic convention nominated him again eight years later as Grover Cleveland’s running mate. Hendricks served as Vice President of the United States from March 3, 1885 until his death on November 25, 1885.
You can find many obits for Hendricks in Chronicling America. A few samples are below:
We are happy to announce that IUPUI’s Center for Digital Scholarship has recently made available 29 years of the Indianapolis News from 1869-1897. They plan to eventually complete digitizing issues through 1922.
The News began publication in 1869 as a Republican leaning, although officially independent, newspaper. Its circulations outpaced its long-time rivals the Sentinel and the Journal by the late 19th and early 20th century. The News consolidated with the Star in 1948, but continued to be issued as a separate title. The News ceased publication in 1999.
This day in 1877 U.S. Senator Oliver P. Morton died. Morton served as Indiana’s governor throughout the Civil War. He was an ardent Unionist, and some contemporaries charged that he exceeded his constitutional authority in some cases in an effort to squash dissent and disloyalty within the state. Experts frequently list Morton as one of Indiana’s best governors, and as one of the strongest state governors during the Civil War.
Two obits/memorials from contemporary newspapers, one Republican, one Democrat, are below. It is interesting that even the Democratic Sentinel offered praise of the deceased Republican politician.