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Francis Granger

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Francis Granger
10th United States Postmaster General
In office
March 6, 1841 – September 18, 1841
PresidentWilliam Henry Harrison
John Tyler
Preceded byJohn Milton Niles
Succeeded byCharles A. Wickliffe
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 26th district
In office
March 4, 1835 – March 3, 1837
Preceded byJohn Dickson
Succeeded byMark H. Sibley
In office
March 4, 1839 – March 5, 1841
Preceded byMark H. Sibley
Succeeded byJohn Greig
In office
November 27, 1841 – March 3, 1843
Preceded byJohn Greig
Succeeded byAmasa Dana
Personal details
Born(1792-12-01)December 1, 1792
Suffield, Connecticut, U.S.
DiedAugust 31, 1868(1868-08-31) (aged 75)
Canandaigua, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic-Republican (before 1828)
National Republican (1828–1834)
Whig (1834–1860)
Constitutional Union (1860-1861)
SpouseCornelia Rutsen Van Rensselaer
RelativesGideon Granger (Father)
Amos Granger (Cousin)
Robert Charles Winthrop (son-in-law)
ResidenceFrancis Granger House
EducationYale University (BA)

Francis Granger (December 1, 1792 – August 31, 1868)[1] was an American politician who represented Ontario County, New York, in the United States House of Representatives for three non-consecutive terms. He was a leading figure in the state and national Whig Party, particularly in its moderate-conservative faction. He served as a Whig vice presidential nominee on the party's multi-candidate 1836 ticket and, in that role, became the only person to ever lose a contingent election for the vice presidency in the U.S. Senate.[2] He also served briefly in 1841 as United States Postmaster General in the cabinet of William Henry Harrison. In 1856, he became the final Whig Party chairman before the party's collapse, after which he joined the Constitutional Union Party.

Early life[edit]

Granger was born in Suffield, Connecticut, on December 1, 1792. Granger was born into a prominent political family, with his father, Gideon Granger, serving in the Connecticut House of Representatives before being appointed by Thomas Jefferson as the longest serving Postmaster General in United States history. His mother was Mindwell (née Pease) Granger (1770–1860) and his first cousin, Amos Phelps Granger, also served two terms in the United States House of Representatives.[3]

Granger pursued classical studies at and graduated from Yale College in 1811.[1] He then moved with his father to Canandaigua, New York, in 1814, where he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1816 and commenced practice.[1]


Granger started his own political career as a member of the New York State Assembly from 1826 to 1828 and from 1830 to 1832.[1] He ran unsuccessful campaigns for Lieutenant Governor of New York in 1828, and for Governor of New York in both 1830 and 1832 with the National Republican Party.[2]

National politics[edit]

He was then elected as an Anti-Jacksonian to the 24th Congress serving from March 4, 1835, to March 3, 1837.[2]

In 1836, the Whig Party was unable to settle on one set of candidates for its presidential ticket. Granger was a regional vice presidential nominee for the northern and border states on the same ticket as William Henry Harrison, though in Massachusetts he was on the Whig ticket headed by Daniel Webster. Though Democrat Martin Van Buren secured enough votes in the Electoral College to win the presidency, Virginia's 23 electors refused to vote for his running mate Richard M. Johnson, who had then lacked only one vote. As a result, votes were split among Johnson, Granger, John Tyler and William Smith with none getting the majority. This triggered a contingent election, the only contingent vice presidential election by the Senate in history, under the Twelfth Amendment with the U.S. Senate deciding between the top two vote-getters Johnson and Granger.[1] As the 25th Congress consisted of 35 Democrats and 17 Whigs, Granger could not hope to be elected and was defeated by Johnson 33–16.

In the general election of the same year, Granger was also running as a Whig candidate for election to the 25th Congress, but failed in that bid as well.[2] He was re-elected to Congress as a Whig to the 26th and 27th Congresses serving from March 4, 1839, to March 5, 1841.[2]

Harrison would win the presidency four years later in 1840 but Granger was not again his running mate and was instead replaced by John Tyler.

If Granger had been reselected as Harrison's running mate in 1840, Granger as vice president would have become president when President Harrison died in April 1841 after a month in office.

In 1841, Granger was appointed Postmaster General in the Cabinet of President William Henry Harrison and served from March 6 to September 18, 1841,[1] the day when almost all Whig Cabinet members left the government of new President John Tyler on the instruction of their party leader Henry Clay. Following that event, he was again elected to the Congress in a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Representative John Greig. He served from November 27, 1841, to March 3, 1843, and was not a candidate for reelection in 1842.[1]

Later career[edit]

A supporter of the Compromise of 1850, Granger led the pro-Fillmore group which became known as the Silver Gray Whigs after Granger's own silver hair. This faction would remain in conflict with the anti-Compromise Sewardites until the collapse of the Whig Party in the state in 1855.

Chairman of the Whig National Executive Committee from 1856 to 1860, Granger joined in the call for the convention of the Constitutional Union Party that was held in May 1860. He was then a member of the peace convention of 1861 held in Washington, D.C., in an effort to devise means to prevent the impending war.

Personal life[edit]

He married Cornelia Rutsen Van Rensselaer (1798–1823), the daughter of Jeremiah Van Rensselaer and Sybella Adeline (née Kane) Van Rensselaer.[3] She was also the granddaughter of Brigadier General Robert Van Rensselaer,[4][3][5] who was a member of the New York Provincial Congress from 1775 to 1777 and later a member of the New York State Assembly in the 1st, 2nd and 4th New York State Legislatures.[6][a] The Grangers' home at Canandaigua from 1817 to 1827, now known as the Francis Granger House, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.[7] Together, they had a daughter, son, and an unnamed second daughter who died with her mother in childbirth in 1823.[8]

Granger died in Canandaigua on August 31, 1868.[3] He was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.[2]


  1. ^ Robert Van Rensselaer was the son of Johannes Van Rensselaer, the proprietor and lord of the lower manor of Rensselaerwyck known as Fort Crailo. Robert was also the younger brother of both Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, the 3rd Lieutenant Governor of New York and Catherine Van Rensselaer, who married General Philip Schuyler.[3]
  1. ^ a b c d e f g Freehling, William. "Francis Granger (1841): Postmaster General". American President: An Online Reference Resource. University of Virginia. Archived from the original on 17 December 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "GRANGER, Francis - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Reynolds, Cuyler (1914). Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 1151. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  4. ^ Spooner, pp. 197
  5. ^ Americana: (American Historical Magazine). American Historical Company, Incorporated. 1920. p. 294. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  6. ^ Hough, M.D., Franklin (1858). The New York Civil List: containing the names and origin of the civil divisions, and the names and dates of election or appointment of the principal state and county officers from the Revolution to the present time. Weed, Parsons and Co. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  7. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  8. ^ Archives, Episcopal Church General Convention Commission on; Hobart, J. H. (1804). Archives of the General Convention. Privately printed. p. 243. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  9. ^ "DEATH OF R.C. WINTHROP; In Literature and Politics One of Boston's Great Men. DESCENDANT OF A NOTED FAMILY Representative in Congress for Many Years and Later a Senator -- A Famous Whig -- Noted as a Lecturer". The New York Times. 17 November 1894. Retrieved 22 June 2017.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by National Republican nominee for Governor of New York
1830, 1832
Succeeded by
Preceded by Anti-Masonic nominee for Governor of New York
1830, 1832
Succeeded by
New political party Whig nominee for Vice President of the United States
Served alongside: John Tyler¹
Succeeded by
Preceded by Anti-Masonic nominee for Vice President of the United States

Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 26th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 26th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 26th congressional district

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by United States Postmaster General
Succeeded by
Notes and references
1. The Whig Party ran regional candidates in 1836; Tyler ran in Southern states and Granger ran in Northern states.