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And then there were six

January 20, 2017

 

Indiana is known as the ‘mother of vice-presidents’ and is, in fact, second only to New York.  As of today’s inauguration, Indiana will have been home to six vice-presidents; New York has had eleven.

 

In celebration of the newest Veep, here’s some information and trivia about all six of these prominent Hoosier politicians.

 

Schuyler Colfax, Jr. was the first vice-president from Indiana, but was 17th overall, serving 

under President Ulysses S. Grant from 1869-1873. Colfax moved to New Carlisle, Indiana from New York in 1836 and worked as a journalist, covering the Indiana Senate for the Indiana State Journal.

 

Colfax was good-natured and kind, and became known as 'Smiler' Colfax in Washington. His grandfather had fought in the American Revolution, and had worked alongside George Washington, so he had many ties to politics already.

 

In his younger days, Colfax had written to Horace Greeley (famous editor and owner of the New York Tribune), who ended up publishing many of his stories on Indiana Politics.

 

In 1849, he had opportunity to help revise the Indiana constitution as a delegate to the Whig Party. 

 

Colfax was a member of the House of Representatives, and was, in fact, the Speaker of the House during Lincoln's presidency. In fact, he had been invited to attend the theater with Lincoln on that fateful night when he was assassinated, but had turned down the invitation.

 

He has towns named after him in eight of the United States. His son, Schuyler Colfax, III was the mayor of South Bend from 1898-1901, and he is buried there.

 

Thomas Hendricks followed shortly after, and served as V.P. from 1885 to – well, 1885. He didn’t get much time in office, as he passed away after only eight months in office.

Originally from Cleveland, Hendricks attended Hanover College in Indiana where the library is named for him. Prior to his short stint as vice-president, Hendricks was Indiana’s governor from 1873-1877.

 

Hendricks also had a familial history in politics. His uncle, William Hendricks, was the third governor of Indiana, and Hendricks County Indiana was named after Uncle William.

 

Hendricks has a statue honoring him on the grounds of the State Capitol – the tallest bronze statue on the property. An interesting fact – Hendricks’ position under the president went unfilled after he passed away and actually remained unfilled for 5 years, until 1889. This resulted in the Presidential Succession Act of 1792, which provided that the Senate's president pro tempore (he or she who presides over the Senate in the absence of the VP) and the Speaker of the House, in that order, should succeed.

 

Hendricks is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

 

The third vice-president from Indiana was Charles Fairbanks, serving under Theodore Roosevelt from 1905-1909. He served as a reporter covering Horace Greeley and the famous 1872 election, then moved to Indianapolis in 1874 where he served as manager of the city, which was bankrupt at the time.

Fairbanks' father was a wagon builder and was very successful in business. He paid for his son's education at Ohio Wesleyan where Fairbanks graduated 8th in his class.

 

Fairbanks was as successful at being a lawyer in Indianapolis as his father had been in business in Ohio, so he was able to amass a great deal of money. When he decided to go into politics, he secretly bought The Indianapolis News,  and then the The Indianapolis Journal. Needless to say, 'owning the press' was able to help him and his party in the elections.

 

Fairbanks died in Indianapolis, and he, too, is buried at Crown Hill. Fairbanks, Alaska is named for him, as are cities in two other states.

 

Thomas Marshall was the fourth Hoosier to serve as vice-president. He served from 1913-1921 under President Woodrow Wilson. He’d previously served as Governor of Indiana from 1909-1913.

 

Marshall was well-known for his sense of humor, and is famous for his saying, “What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar.”

 

In his early years, Marshall was sued for libel and hired future President Benjamin Harrison to represent him.  Luckily for him, Harrison got the charges dropped and didn’t charge Marshall, but he did give him a stern talking to about proper behavior and etiquette.

 

Marshall lived at home with his parents into his 30’s when he married. An interesting fact: while governor, he placed the final golden brick to complete the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track.

 

He is the only vice-president who has been targeted for an assassination attempt. One of only two of the V.P.’s to have been born in Indiana (until today when Pence, from Columbus, IN takes office), Marshall attended Wabash College. He is also buried in Crown Hill.

 

James Danforth Quayle served as the 44th Vice-President under President George H.W. Bush from 1989-1993. He was the 5th and most recent V.P. from Indiana until Mike Pence.

 

Quayle lived in Huntington, Indiana where he graduated high school and eventually practiced law there with his wife. Huntington is the home of the Dan Quayle museum, now called The Quayle Vice-Presidential Learning Center, which features not just memorabilia on Quayle, but on most of the vice-presidents.

He is the grandson of Eugene Pulliam, the founder of Central Newspapers Inc., a multibillion-dollar media corporation that owned newspapers such as the Indianapolis Star. One of Quayle's first jobs was working for his family's newspaper, the Huntington Herald-Press.

 

Quayle attended DePauw University where he lettered in golf for three years, then went on to get his law degree at Indiana University. He was part of the Indiana Army National Guard and attained the level of Sargent.

 

Before becoming Vice-President, Quayle worked in different capacities in Indianapolis, and while working there, he set up his home in Carmel, Indiana. He owned the home until 1999, just before he announced his candidacy for the Presidential Nomination in the 2000 Election.  The house was eventually torn down in 2012, and a new home was built on the site.

 

As Vice-President, Quayle was extremely active, officially visiting forty-seven countries during his time in office.

 

Quayle’s son, Ben, is now a U.S. Representative for Arizona.

 

Michael Richard Pence is set to become the 48th Vice-President of the United States today. Born in Columbus, Indiana, he will be the sixth Indiana VP. He was the 50th governor of Indiana, serving in that position from 2013-2016, before joining Donald Trump on the Republican ticket for president.

Pence also served in the House of Representatives from 2001 through 2013, and in 2008, Esquire magazine listed him as one of the ten best members of Congress

 

Pence attended Hanover College, then went on to Indiana University for his law degree.

Interesting facts told to ABC in an interview last year – his favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz, and his favorite superhero is Superman. A true pet lover, Pence has a beagle and two cats. According to the Indianapolis Star, he also has a rabbit named Marlon Brando.

 

Best of wishes to Mike Pence as you head off to Washington, D.C. representing our great Hoosier state!

 

 

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