Biography of Thomas A Hendricks

protrait of Thomas A. Hendricks

Our town of Hendricks Minnesota was named for Thomas A. Hendricks, a long-time Democratic Party politician from the 19th century. Though having held multiple offices, the height of Hendricks' political career was being the 21st Vice President of the United States in the Grover Cleveland administration.

Hendricks was born September 7th, 1819 near Zanesville, Ohio. He was the son of John Hendricks, a farmer and a deputy surveyor of lands, and Jane Thomson. The Hendricks family would soon move from Zanesville to Indianapolis Indiana. Thomas would live most of his life in the Indianapolis area.

Hendricks pursued classical studies and graduated from Hanover (Ind.) College in 1841. He would later study law in Chambersburg, Pa. Thomas was admitted to the bar in 1843 and began his public career as a representative (1848) in the Indiana legislature. He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives (1851–55), as commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office (1855–59), as U.S. senator (1863–69), and as governor of Indiana (1873–77).

Hendricks was twice a candidate for the Vice President of the United States. He was a running mate of Samuel J. Tilden in the disputed election of 1876, losing by the decision of a special Electoral Commission (view the Tilden-Hendricks campaign banner). The Tilden-Hendricks ticket won the popular vote by 3%, but lost the electoral vote to Rutherford B. Hayes. This oddity did not happen again until the 2000 election with George W. Bush beating Al Gore. Hendricks was nominated as vice president again in 1884 and finally elected with Grover Cleveland. During the 8th month of his Vice Presidency, Hendricks visited Indianapolis and died unexpectedly on November 25, 1885.

The Thomas Hendricks gravesite

Thomas A. Hendricks tombstone

Thomas A. Hendricks is interred in the Crown Hill Cemetery. Hendricks is buried with his wife Eliza Morgan Hendricks and their son Morgan. Morgan died as at the early age of 3. Crown Hill Cemetery has the distinction of being home to more U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents than any other cemetery (4). The Hendricks gravesite is directly opposite Vice President Charles Warren Fairbanks, the VP for Theodore Roosevelt (view the Charles Warren Fairbanks gravesite).

Crown Hill is the 4th largest cemetery in the U.S. Crown Hill's VIP list includes President Benjamin Harrison, V.P. Charles Fairbanks, V.P. Thomas Marshall, pharmacist Eli Lilly, Governor Oliver Morton, inventor Richard Gatling, poet James Whitcomb Riley, automobile manufacturer Frederick Duesenberg, author Booth Tarkington, 11 Indiana Governors, and 13 Civil War Generals.

The Hendricks MN and Canby MN coincidence

location of the Hendricks, Canby and Morton gravesites

The town of Hendricks Minnesota is neighbors with Canby Minnesota. Coincidentally, Thomas A. Hendricks is buried about 40 yards from Edward Canby for which Canby Minnesota is named (view the location of the Hendricks and Canby gravesites). Edward Richard Sprigg Canby was a successful civil war general (view the Edward Canby gravesite). Buried directly in front of Canby is Oliver Perry Morton who is likely to be the namesake of Morton Minnesota (view the Oliver Morton gravesite). We are still trying to confirm this. Morton Minnesota lies 60 miles to the east of Hendricks.

Facts and Info about Thomas Hendricks

Thomas Hendricks is the only Vice President to be featured on U.S. currency - the 1886 $10 bill. This bill became infamous and was soon discontinued since the border around the portrait looked similar to a tombstone. It is since become known as the 1886 tombstone $10 bill. (view the 1886 Tombstone $10 bill)

Thomas received votes for becoming the Democratic Presidential nominee at 4 different nominating conventions (1868, 1876, 1880, and 1884).

Authentic copies of his signatures are worth around USD $200 (view a Thomas Hendricks' signature).

His ancestors first came to the US on February 5, 1662 as indentured servants.

The 'Hendricks' last name was originaly 'Hendrickson'. Thomas' great great great grandfather was named Jacobus Hendrickson but changed his name to James Hendricks around 1700.

His uncle William Hendricks was the third governor of Indiana.

Upon being elected Vice-President of the United States, Thomas was asked to provide an autobiography for the Congressional Record. Hendricks stated his father's name and that he was of unknown origins.

He was the subject of Ralph D. Gray's book “Thomas A. Hendricks: Spokesman for the Democracy."

The Cleveland-Hendricks ticket received 4,911,017 (48.5%) votes in the 1884 U.S Presidential election.

The Tilden-Hendricks ticket received 4,285,992 (51.0%) votes in the 1876 U.S. Presidential election.