Thomas A. Hendricks Biography

(21st Vice President of the U.S.A.)

Birthday: September 7, 1819 (Virgo)

Born In: Fultonham

Thomas Andrew Hendricks was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 21st Vice President of the United States; from March 1885 to November 1885. Born to a farmer in Ohio, Hendricks was brought up in Shelby County in Indiana, and graduated from Hanover College. Upon finishing his college, Hendricks studied law, passed the bar exam and established a law practice in Indiana. Later, he was elected to the Indiana legislature as a member of the Democratic Party and served as one of Indiana's representatives in the United States Congress for several years. Thereafter, he was appointed commissioner in the United States General Land Office and later, during the American Civil War, Hendricks served as a United States Senator of Indiana.He was able to gain much national recognition while serving in the U.S. Senate during the late 1860s.Following the civil war, he served as the first Democrat elected governor of a Northern state, from January 1873 to January 1877. Although the Democratic Party lost the 1876 elections where Hendricks was its vice presidential nominee, the party once again selected him as its candidate for the vice presidency in the 1884 general elections. This time, with Cleveland as the party’s presidential candidate,Hendricks emerged victorious in a very close race. Unfortunately,Hendricks was not able to remain as vice president for long and within nine months of his inauguration, his health deteriorated and he died in his sleep
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Thomas Hendricks

Died At Age: 66


Spouse/Ex-: Eliza Hendricks

Political Leaders American Men

political ideology: Political party - Democratic

Died on: November 25, 1885

place of death: Indianapolis

More Facts

education: Hanover College

Childhood & Early Life
Thomas Hendricks was born on September 7, 1819, in Muskingum County, Ohio, United States, to John Thomson Hendricks, a farmer who later became involved in politics, and his wife, Jane. He was one of the eight children in his family.
In 1820, his family settled on a farm in Madison, in Jefferson County, Indiana, and later moved to Shelby County, Indiana. After Hendricks’ father was appointed deputy surveyor of public lands for his district, their home was frequently visited by the state's leading men, which inclined his interest towards politics from a young age.
After receiving elementary education from the Shelby County Seminary and Greensburg Academy, Hendricks attended the Hanover College, Indiana, from where he graduated in 1841.
After finishing college, he studied law from a school in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Thereafter, he returned to Indiana and was admitted to the bar in 1843. Subsequently, he began a private law practice in Shelbyville.
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In 1848, Thomas Hendricks entered into politics as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives, where he served a one-year term and was speaker of the house.
In 1850, Hendricks was appointed, as a Democrat, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana's 5th district, where he served from March 1851 to March 1853.He was the chairman of the Committee on Mileage in Thirty-second Congress.
From March 1853 to March 1855, he served as Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana's 6th district. He was on the Committee on Invalid Pensions in Thirty-third Congress.
In 1855, Hendricks was appointed the Commissioner of the General Land Office in Washington, D.C., a post he retained until 1859. After resigning as land commissioner, Hendricks moved to Indianapolis and in 1860, he ran as the Democratic candidate for governor of Indiana, but lost.
In 1862, he was elected by the Indiana General Assembly to the U.S. Senate during the American Civil War. From 1863 to 1869, he remained in the Senate, covering the Thirty-eighth, Thirty-ninth, and Fortieth Congresses, as leader of its small Democratic minority.
In 1868, he once again lost in the race for the governor of Indiana and subsequently retired from the Senate in March 1869. Thereafter, he returned to his private law practice in Indianapolis but maintained link with the state and national politics.
In 1872, in this third attempt, Hendricks was elected as the governor of Indiana, and served in this capacity from January 1873 to January 1877. His term as governor of Indiana was marked by the economic Panic of 1873 and he was opposed by a strong Republican majority in the Indiana General Assembly to enact any significant legislation.
In 1876, he ran unsuccessfully as the Democrat Party candidate for the Vice President of the United States. In 1880, the party nominated him for the vice presidency again but he declined for health reasons.
In the election of 1884, despite poor health, he was once again nominated for the Vice President of the United States on the Democratic Party's ticket, with Grover Cleveland as party’s presidential nominee. In this second attempt, Hendricks won and was elected for vice presidency.
Hendricks was inaugurated as the 21st Vice President of the United States on March 4, 1885. However, his term was cut short by his unexpected demise on November 25, 1885.
Major Works
During his tenure as governor of Indiana, Hendricks was successful in convincing legislature to enact election reform and judiciary reform. While serving at the post, he also proposed to build a new Indiana Statehouse, the cornerstone for which was laid in 1880, after he left office. The building was completed eight years later and is still in use.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1845, ThomasHendricks married Eliza C. Morgan of North Bend, Ohio. They had a son, Morgan, who unfortunately died at the age of three.
Thomas Hendricks died unexpectedly in his sleep on November 25, 1885, in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States,at the age of 66. His funeral was held in St. Paul's Cathedral, Indianapolis, and he was later interred in Indianapolis's Crown Hill Cemetery.

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