Francis Granger (December 1, 1792 – August 31, 1868) was a Representative from New York and United States Postmaster General. He was a Whig Party vice presidential nominee in 1836 and is the only person to ever lose a contingent election in the U.S. Senate for Vice President.
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from New York's 26th district
November 27, 1841 – March 3, 1843
|Preceded by||John Greig|
|Succeeded by||Amasa Dana|
March 4, 1839 – March 5, 1841
|Preceded by||Mark H. Sibley|
|Succeeded by||John Greig|
March 4, 1835 – March 3, 1837
|Preceded by||John Dickson|
|Succeeded by||Mark H. Sibley|
|10th United States Postmaster General|
March 6, 1841 – September 18, 1841
|President||William Henry Harrison|
|Preceded by||John Milton Niles|
|Succeeded by||Charles A. Wickliffe|
|Born||December 1, 1792|
Suffield, Connecticut, U.S.
|Died||August 31, 1868 (aged 75)|
Canandaigua, New York, U.S.
|Political party||Democratic-Republican (Before 1828)|
National Republican (1828–1834)
|Spouse(s)||Cornelia Rutsen Van Rensselaer|
|Relatives||Gideon Granger (Father)|
Amos Granger (Cousin)
Robert Charles Winthrop (son-in-law)
|Residence||Francis Granger House|
|Education||Yale University (BA)|
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.
Granger pursued classical studies at and graduated from Yale College in 1811. 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.
Granger started his own political career as a member of the New York State Assembly from 1826 to 1828 and from 1830 to 1832. 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.
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. 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. He was re-elected to Congress as a Whig to the 26th and 27th Congresses serving from March 4, 1839 to March 5, 1841.
In 1841, Granger was appointed Postmaster General in the Cabinet of President William Henry Harrison and served from March 6 to September 18, 1841, 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.
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.
He married Cornelia Rutsen Van Rensselaer (1798–1823), the daughter of Jeremiah Van Rensselaer and Sybella Adeline (née Kane) Van Rensselaer. She was also the granddaughter of Brigadier General Robert Van Rensselaer, 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.[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. Together, they had a daughter, son, and an unnamed second daughter who died with her mother in childbirth in 1823.
- Adele Granger (1819–1892), who married John Eliot Thayer (1803–1857), the son of Nathaniel Thayer. After his death, she remarried in 1865 to Robert Charles Winthrop (1809–1894), a U.S. Senator and Representative who served as Speaker of the House.
- Gideon Granger II (1821–1868), who married Isaphine Pierson (1826–1905), the daughter of U.S. Representative Isaac Pierson.
- 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.
- 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.
- "GRANGER, Francis - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
- 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.
- Spooner, pp. 197
- Americana: (American Historical Magazine). American Historical Company, Incorporated. 1920. p. 294. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
- 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.
- National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Archives, Episcopal Church General Convention Commission on; Hobart, J. H. (1804). Archives of the General Convention. Privately printed. p. 243. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
- "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.
- "THE ONLY FOUR HUNDRED; WARD M'ALLISTER GIVES OUT THE OFFICIAL LIST. HERE ARE THE NAMES, DON'T YOU KNOW, ON THE AUTHORITY OF THEIR GREAT LEADER, YOU UNDER- STAND, AND THEREFORE GENUINE, YOU SEE". The New York Times. 16 February 1892. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
- United States Congress. "Francis Granger (id: G000376)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Francis Granger at Find a Grave