LEVI P. MORTON Biography - Polititians


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Name: Levi Parsons Morton                                                               
Born: 16 May 1824 Shoreham, Vermont                                                     
Died: 16 May 1920 Rhinebeck, New York                                                   
Levi Parsons Morton (May 16, 1824 – May 16, 1920) was a Representative from New       
York and the twenty-second Vice President of the United States.                         
Morton was born in Shoreham, Addison County, Vermont. His parents were the Rev.         
Daniel O. Morton (1788-1852), a Congregationalist minister of old New England           
stock, and Lucretia Parsons (1789-1862). He left school early and worked as a           
clerk in a general store in Enfield, Massachusetts, taught school in Boscawen,         
New Hampshire, engaged in mercantile pursuits in Hanover, New Hampshire, moved         
to Boston, entered the dry-goods business in New York City and engaged in               
banking there. He was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1876 to the 45th       
Congress. He was appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes as honorary                 
commissioner to the Paris Exhibition of 1878.                                           
Morton was elected as a Republican to the 46th and 47th Congresses, serving from       
March 4, 1879, until his resignation, effective March 21, 1881. Presidential           
candidate James Garfield asked him to be his vice presidential candidate in 1880,       
but Morton turned down the offer. If he had accepted and history held true, this       
would have meant Morton would have become the twenty-first President after             
Garfield's assassination and not Chester A. Arthur. He asked to be Minister to         
Britain or France instead. He was United States Minister to France from 1881 to         
1885 (a deluded Charles Guiteau reportedly decided to murder Garfield after he         
was "passed over" as minister to France).                                               
Morton was very popular in France, helping commercial relations run smoothly           
between the two countries during his term and he hammered the first rivet in the       
construction of the Statue of Liberty in Paris on October 24, 1881 (it was             
driven into the big toe of Lady Liberty’s left foot). Morton was elected Vice         
President of the United States on the Republican ticket with Benjamin Harrison,         
serving from March 4, 1889 to March 4, 1893.                                           
Levi Morton was Governor of New York from 1895 to 1896. He was considered for           
the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1896 which went to William             
McKinley. Following his public career, he became a real estate investor. He died       
in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York, on his 96th birthday, the only U.S.           
President or Vice President to have died on their birthday. He is interred in           
the Rhinebeck Cemetery.                                                                 
The Village of Morton Grove, Illinois is named after Morton. He provided the           
funding necessary to allow Miller's Mill (now Lincoln Avenue) to pass through           
the upstart neighborhood, and provide goods to trade and sell. Morton Grove was         
incorporated in December of 1895.                                                       
Morton owned property in Newport, Rhode Island and lived on tony Bellevue Avenue       
in "Fairlawn," currently owned by Salve Regina University and housing the Pell         
Center of International Relations and Public Policy. He left a parcel of nearby         
property to the city of Newport for use as a park. At the corners of Coggeshall         
and Morton Avenues (formerly Brenton Road) this land today bears his name, "Morton     
Park." Morton sold or donated property he owned in Hanover, N.H. to Dartmouth           
College, and the college built Webster Hall on the land. Morton was considered         
an honorary alumnus at alumni gatherings in New York.                                   
Morton was the second-longest lived Vice President, living to be exactly 96             
years old, beaten only by John Nance Garner. Morton also survived five of his           
successors in the vice presidency, Adlai E. Stevenson, Garret A. Hobart,               
Theodore Roosevelt, Charles W. Fairbanks, and James S. Sherman.