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WHEELER, William Almon [1819-1887] -- American politician

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United States, vPOTUS 19

Member of Congress, Vice President under Rutherford B. Hayes.

WHEELER, William Almon, Vice-President of the United States, was born in Malone, N.Y., June 30, 1819; son of and Eliza (Woodward) Wheeler, both of Vermont. His father died in 1827, and left a widow, one son and two daughters without means of support. He was educated in the district school; taught school while a mere lad, and was enabled to spend two terms at the University of Vermont, from which institution he was an honorary graduate, as it appears from the catalogue, with the class of 1842, receiving his A.B. degree, 1876. He studied law at Malone, N.Y., 1841-45; was town clerk, school commissioner and school inspector; was admitted to the bar in 1845; served as district attorney of Franklin county, 1845-49; was a Whig member of the state assembly of 1850; and abandoned the practice of law in 1851 to engage in the banking and railroad business. He was a state senator, 1858-59, and was elected president pro tempore of the senate; served as a representative from the New York in the 37th congress, 1861-63; and was a member and president of the state constitutional convention of 1867. He was re-elected a representative to the 41st-44th congresses, 1869-77, and served as chairman of the committees on the Pacific railroad and commerce, and as a member of the committee on appropriations; and as chairman of the house committee on Southern affairs he proposed the compromise than adjusted the political troubles in Louisiana in 1875. He was a candidate for President of the United States before the Republican national convention of 1876, and on the nomination of Hayes for President was made the candidate for Vice-President. When the electoral commission decided in favor of the Republican candidates, he was declared elected by being awarded 185 electoral votes, 184 being given to Thomas A. Hendricks, the Democratic candidate for Vice-President. He retired from his duties as Vice-President March 4, 1881; returned to Malone, declined to allow his name to go before the legislative caucus of 1881 as a candidate for U.S. senator, and his health soon after failing rapidly, he retired from business and social life. He received the honorary degree of A.M. from Dartmouth in 1865; that of LL.D. from the University of Vermont in 1867, and from Union in 1877. He died in Malone, N.Y., June 4, 1887.
[Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans]  -30-
 

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