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Indiana: 'The mother of vice presidents, a look back at Hoosier history in the capitol

Posted at 6:40 PM, Jan 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-20 22:55:49-05

WASHINGTON -- Mike Pence joined an elite group of Hoosiers on Friday when he became the 48th Vice President of the United States.

Pence became the sixth Indiana resident to wear the title of second-in-command to the commander in chief.

From 1868 to 1916, Indiana became known as “The Mother of Vice Presidents.” In 10 of those 13 elections, either the Republicans or the Democrats put a Hoosier on the ticket.

Pence follows in the footsteps of Vice Presidents Schuyler Colfax, 1869-73, Thomas Hendricks, 1885, Charles Fairbanks, 1905-1909 and Thomas Marshall, 1913-21, and Dan Quayle, 1988-92.

Schulyer Colfax was born in 1823 in New York City.

His family moved to New Carlisle, Indiana in 1836. Colfax grew up to become a well known journalist, businessman and politician in the state of Indiana. He served as a Whig Party delegate in 1848 and as a congressman from 1855 to 1869.

Colfax served from 1868 to 1872 during civil war hero Ulysses S. Grant’s presidency.

He died in 1885. 

Thomas Hendricks was born in Ohio in 1819 but his family moved to Madison, Indiana in 1820.  

Hendricks was an active political figure in Indiana serving as a congressman, a senator and a candidate for governor before being elected as President Glover Cleveland’s vice president.

He was only in office for one year. Hendricks died from pneumonia in 1885.

Charles Warren Fairbanks was also born in Ohio in 1852. He moved to Indianapolis after graduating law school.  

Fairbanks served as a Senator for the state of Indiana from 1893 until he resigned to take over as vice president in 1905.

He was second in command to President Teddy Roosevelt from 1905 to 1909.

Fairbanks died in 1918.

Thomas Marshall was born in North Manchester, Indiana in 1854. He worked as a lawyer before being elected as Governor in 1908.

Marshall served as vice president to Woodrow Wilson from 1913 to 1921.

He was known for his humor, and famously said, "What this country needs is a good 5-cent cigar."

President Wilson was debilitated by a stroke during his term, but Marshall refused to ascend to the presidency. 

The 25th Amendment, which defines the order of succession, did not exist at the time.

Marshall died in 1925.

After Wilson, Indiana went through a nearly 70-year drought before Dan Quayle became the fifth Hoosier vice president in 1988.

Quayle was born in Indianapolis in 1947 and graduated from Huntington High School in 1965.

Quayle was only 41 when he joined George H.W. Bush’s ticket in 1988. Bush won the election that year, but the pair lost to President Bill Clinton in the 1992 election.  

Mike Pence was born in Columbus, Indiana in 1959. He graduated from Hanover College and earned his law degree from Indiana University. 

He unsuccessfully ran for congress in 1988 and 1990 before putting his political career on hold. 

Pence ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000 and won. He became Indiana's 50th governor in 2012.

Pence joined the 2016 presidential ticket alongside President Donald Trump. The two defeated Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. 


Indiana has only had two major-party vice presidential nominees who did not win their election: 

  •  William English ran alongside Winfield Hancock in the 1880 election. They lost to James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur.
  • John Kern was the vice presidential candidate with William Bryan in the 1908 election. They lost to William Howard Taft and James S. Sherman.

Hendricks, Fairbanks and Marshall are all buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. 

Only New York has been home to more Vice Presidents than Indiana, with 11.