|Middle-aged Hannibal Hamlin
Hamlin’s biggest claim to fame was serving as Vice President under Abraham Lincoln during his first term, from March 4, 1861 to March 4, 1965.
Hamlin narrowly missed becoming President. In the 1864 election, Andrew Johnson was elected Lincoln’s second Vice President and replaced Hamlin only 42 days before Lincoln died. Two of Hamlin’s children (Charles and Sarah) were present at Ford’s Theater the night Lincoln was shot.
He started out in the Democratic Party, but Hamlin was an active opponent of slavery and switched to the newly formed Republican Party in 1856.
If Hamlin had been on the ticket again in 1864, he would have become President seven weeks after the inauguration. Why wasn’t he on it?
|"The Republican Party Banner for 1860"
Hamlin, by most accounts, was not personally close to Lincoln. He served through most of the Civil War and also served a term in the Maine militia during the hostilities. He did not take a strong role in the executive administration, but concentrated more on his role as presiding officer of the U.S. Senate.
|Andrew Johnson in 1859
Confederate States of America, Johnson remained firmly with the Union. He was the only sitting senator from a Confederate state who did not resign his seat upon learning of his state's secession. Lincoln appointed him military governor of Tennessee in 1864, when most of its territory was re-taken by the Union. Many saw him as the best choice for a running mate for Lincoln in the upcoming election.
Lincoln was re-elected, but Hamlin left office. After this, Hamlin served as Collector of the Port in Boston for several years. In 1869, he returned to the U.S. Senate, where he had also served from 1848 to 1861, and was named U.S. Minister to Spain in 1881. He had also served earlier as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the twenty-sixth governor of Maine.
|Older Hannibal Hamlin
Hamlin was born in 1809 in Paris, Massachusetts, which is now Paris, Maine. Maine was at that time still a part of Massachusetts. He died in 1891, at age 81, in Bangor, Maine.
He married Sarah Jane Emery of Paris Hill, Maine in 1833. They had four children: George, Charles, Cyrus, and Sarah. Mrs. Hamlin died in 1855.
In 1856, Hamlin married Sarah’s half-sister, Ellen Vesta Emery. They had two children together: Hannibal E., and Frank. Ellen Hamblin died in 1925.
In the mystery I’m writing, it’s a fictional incident concerning one of the Hamlin children that enters into my plot. If you’d like to win a different one of my mystery novels, comment below, and be sure to leave your contact information so we can tell you if you won. Winner can choose Mainely Mysteries (three murder mysteries set in northern Maine with a strong faith thread and romance) or Trouble Brewing (cozy mystery where a letter written by General Henry Knox is stolen).
Historical photos in this blog are in the public domain and/or available through the Library of Congress.