thomas a hendricks

Thomas A. Hendricks


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).


Early life

Thomas Hendricks was born near East Fultonham, Ohio, on September 7, 1819. He moved with his parents to Indiana in 1820.

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.


He was a member of the state House of Representatives in 1848 after defeating Whig candidate Martin M Ray. That year he served as speaker of the house. He was elected as a member of the state's second constitutional convention in 1851. At the convention Hendricks was part of the committee that created the organization of the townships and counties of the state, decided upon the taxation and financial portion of the constitution, and also debated the clauses on the powers of the difference offices. He also argued strongly for a powerful judiciary and the abolishment of grand juries.

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.


He was then elected Governor of Indiana in 1872 defeating incumbent governor Thomas M. Browne in a close election winning by only 1,148 votes. He served from 1873 until 1877. He was the first Democrat Governor elected in the North after the American Civil War.

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.

Vice President

Because of the death of Democratic candidate Horace Greeley days after the popular vote in the presidential election of 1872, Hendricks received 42 electoral votes that were previously pledged to Greeley. Hendricks ran as an unsuccessful candidate for Vice President on the Democratic ticket with Samuel Tilden in the following presidential election of 1876. He ran again in U.S. presidential election, 1884, and was elected Vice President of the United States on the Democratic ticket with Grover Cleveland, filling an office that had been vacant since Vice President Chester A. Arthur became President in 1881.

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.

Numismatic connection

He is the only U.S. Vice President (who did not also serve as President) whose portrait appears on U.S. paper money. His engraved portrait appears on the so called 'tombstone' $10.00 silver certificate of 1886. The nickname derives from shape of the border outline of his portrait, a shape that resembles a tombstone. To see an example visit the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco website:


See also

External links

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