Thomas Andrews Hendricks (September 7, 1819 November 25, 1885) was a U.S. Representative and a Senator from Indiana, a Governor of Indiana, and the twenty-first Vice President of the United States (serving with Grover Cleveland).
His uncle, William Hendricks, was Governor of Indiana from 1822 to 1825. He pursued classical studies and graduated from Hanover College in 1841 in the same class as Albert G. Porter. He moved on to study law in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and was admitted to the bar in 1843. He returned to Indiana and began practicing law in the office of Stephen Major in Shelbyville.
Hendricks was married to Eliza Morgan on September 26, 1848 after a two year courtship. Their only child, a son, was born January 16, 1848. The child would die in 1851.
Hendricks ran for Congress in 1850 and was elected as a Democrat to the thirty-second and thirty-third Congresses serving from (March 4, 1851–March 4, 1855). While in Congress Hendricks was Chairman of the Committee on Mileage and the Committee on Invalid Pensions. He campaigned unsuccessfully for reelection in 1854.
Following his tenure in Congress, Hendricks was Commissioner of the General Land Office from 1855 to 1859. He campaigned in an unsuccessful attempt as the Democratic candidate for Governor of Indiana in 1860, but lost to the Republican Henry S. Lane. He moved to Indianapolis in 1860 and resumed practicing law for two years.
Hendricks again ran for public office in 1862. He was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate, and served from March 4, 1863, to March 4, 1869. He was succeeded by outgoing Republican Governor Oliver Morton.
Hendricks inherited a state government that was populated almost exclusively by Republicans. He found himself regularly at odds with the Republican legislature. Hendricks was able to pass the Baxtor Bill, enact election reform in response to accusation of corruption from the last election, and reform the judiciary. Otherwise his term as governor was uneventful as he was unable to come to terms with the legislature as all other legislation, including the appropriations bill, was delayed or never passed.
During his term he toured the south stopping to deliver a public speech in New Orleans. He was an outspoken critic of the Grant Administration and quickly rose to high prominence in the national stage of the Democratic party. Being in the campaign of Vice President, he did not seek reelection.
He only served from March 4, 1885, until his death a few months later on a trip home to Indianapolis. He complained of feeling ill the morning before his death and went to bed early. He died in his sleep that night. His funeral was large with a ceremony held in St Paul's Cathedral which was attended by dignitaries from across the nation including Grover Cleveland. He is interred in Crown Hill Cemetery. With his death, the Vice Presidency became vacant until Levi Morton became Vice President in 1889.