|United States Senator
from New York
March 4, 1875 – March 3, 1881
|Preceded by||Reuben E. Fenton|
|Succeeded by||Thomas C. Platt|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 21st district
March 4, 1863 – March 3, 1865
|Preceded by||R. Holland Duell|
|Succeeded by||Roscoe Conkling|
|Member of the New York State Assembly
from the Oneida County, 1st district
January 1, 1861 – December 31, 1861
|Preceded by||James McQuade|
|Succeeded by||Charles M. Scholefield|
January 14, 1816|
Wayne, New York
|Died||September 7, 1892
Utica, New York
|Spouse(s)||Hannah A. Devereux|
Francis Kernan (January 14, 1816 – September 7, 1892) was an American lawyer and politician. A resident of New York, he was active in politics as a Democrat, and served in several elected offices, including member of the New York State Assembly, member of the United States House of Representatives, and United States Senator from 1875 to 1881.
Kernan was born in Wayne, New York[a] on January 14, 1816, the son of General William Kernan, who came to America from County Cavan, Ireland in 1800 and Rose Anna (Stubbs) Kernan, who was also a native of Ireland.
He graduated from Georgetown University in 1836. Kernan then studied law with his brother in law Edward Quinn of Watkins Glen, New York, and moved to Utica, New York in 1839 intending to pursue a legal career. He completed his studies with Joshua A. Spencer, was admitted to the bar in July 1840, and then practiced law in partnership with Spencer as Spencer and Kernan. He later practiced in partnership with relatives as the senior partner of Kernan and Quinn, later Kernan, Quinn and Kernan. From 1854 to 1857, Kernan was Reporter of Decisions for the New York Court of Appeals.
He was a member of the New York State Assembly (Oneida County, 1st District) in 1861, and delegate to the 1867 New York Constitutional Convention. From 1870 until his death, Kernan served on the University of the State of New York Board of Regents.
He was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-eighth Congress, defeating Republican Roscoe Conkling, and served from March 4, 1863 to March 3, 1865. In 1864, he was defeated for re-election by Conkling. As a member of the New York Assembly and the U.S. House during the American Civil War, Kernan was a prominent War Democrat.
In January 1875, Kernan was elected a U.S. Senator from New York, the first Catholic senator from New York and its first Democratic senator in 24 years. He served from March 4, 1875 to March 3, 1881, alongside Roscoe Conkling. At the 1876 Democratic National Convention in St. Louis, Kernan nominated Samuel J. Tilden for President. In 1880, Kernan received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Georgetown University. In January 1881, Kernan was defeated for re-election by Republican Thomas C. Platt. After Platt's resignation in May 1881, Kernan ran again for the Senate in the following special election but was defeated by Republican Warner Miller.
Death and burial
- Political and Governmental History of the State of New York, p. 184.
- Transactions of the Oneida Historical Society at Utica, pp. 86–89.
- New York State Men, p. 124.
- "Memorial Address: Francis Kernan", pp. 521–536.
- Historical Records and Studies, p. 157.
- The Catholic Church in Mississippi, 1837-65, p. 262.
- Journal of the Assembly of the State of New York, p. 2090.
- Some sources indicate Tyrone, New York.
- Brown, Roscoe C. E.; Smith, Ray B. (1922). Political and Governmental History of the State of New York. 3. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Press.
- Herbermann, Charles George (1916). United States Catholic Historical Society: Historical Records and Studies. 9. New York, NY: United States Catholic Historical Society.
- Hill, Frederick Simon (1910). New York State Men: Biographic Studies and Character Portraits. 2. Albany, NY: The Argus Company.
- New York State Legislature (1881). Journal of the Assembly of the State of New York. 2. Albany, NY: Weed, Parsons & Co.
- Oneida Historical Society (1905). Transactions of the Oneida Historical Society at Utica. 10-13. Utica, NY: Thomas J. Griffiths.
- Pillar, James L. (1964). The Catholic Church in Mississippi, 1837-65. New Orleans, LA: Hauser Press.
- Watson, William H. (1894). "Memorial Address: Francis Kernan". 107th Annual Report (1893). University of the State of New York Board of Regents: Albany, NY.
- United States Congress. "Francis Kernan (id: K000133)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Francis Kernan at Find a Grave
- Kernan, Thomas (1913). "Francis Kernan". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
|New York Assembly|
|New York State Assembly
Oneida County, 1st District
Charles M. Scholefield
|U.S. House of Representatives|
R. Holland Duell
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 21st congressional district
Reuben E. Fenton
|U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New York
Served alongside: Roscoe Conkling
Thomas C. Platt