Levi Parsons Morton

Burial Location Visited Vice President Grave #
Rhinebeck, New York May 22, 2010 26th Visited


Levi P. Morton, who served under President                               The grave of Levi P. Morton, "a servant of
Benjamin Harrison, is interred in Rhinebeck,                               the nation."
New York, which is located near the Hudson


The slab in the foreground indicates                                                           Morton died on May 16, 1920,
the precise location of the vice                                                                   which, coincidently, was his
president's body. Had he accepted                                                             96th birthday.
James Garfield's offer to be his
his running mate in 1880, he
would have become president.

                                       *** Interesting Facts ***

* Born in the town of Shoreham, Vermont, Levi Parsons Morton had humble beginnings. The son of a preacher, his father was too poor to send his aspiring offspring to college, so Levi found work at a general store. Eventually, he was able to get into the field of education, teaching school in New Hampshire. After getting a job as a clerk in another general store, he stepped into the importing business and then finally banking in 1863. In the 1870's, Morton, Bliss & Co. was one of the premier banking houses in the country.

* Morton's wife, Lucy, passed away in 1871, leaving him a widower. He remarried to Anna Livingston Reade Street a couple of years later. Anna was a member of New York's Knickerbocker Society and had some connections, which was very beneficial for her new husband. In 1876, Levi Morton became the financial chairman of the Republican National Committee. For a brief two year period, Morton was a member of Congress, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. He had run for office in 1876, but had failed to get elected. He won the next time at the polls, however, and served from 1879 to 1881.

* Levi Morton, who had made friends with politicians such as Ulysses S. Grant and political boss Roscoe Conkling, was offered the position of vice presidential candidate on the Republican ticket in 1880. Conkling advised against the idea, and the position instead went to fellow New Yorker Chester Arthur. Morton did end up playing a role in the next administration, however, being appointed by Garfield as minister to France. He continued to serve in that capacity after the president's assassination and had the opportunity to place the first bolt in the Statue of Liberty while he was in France in October of 1881. Morton ran for the Senate several times in the years that followed, but lost out.

* In 1888, Morton once again received an offer to be the GOP candidate for VP. That time, he did not pass it up. He and his running mate, Benjamin Harrison of Indiana, were elected, and Morton became the 22nd vice president. Morton served under Harrison from 1889 to 1893, but the relationship between the president and the veep was not a perfect one. At one point, Harrison tried to push for the passing of the Federal Elections Bill, also known as the "Force Bill". It was to reaffirm the fact that African Americans had the right to vote, which was guaranteed by the 15th amendment to the Constitution. Vice President Morton did not do much to see that the law was passed, and a Democratic filibuster in the U.S. Senate prevented any further progression. This angered many, including Harrison, and Ambassador Whitelaw Read replaced Morton on the Republican ticket in 1892. Ben Harrison ended up falling to challenger Grover Cleveland, who became the only person to serve two non-consecutive terms as president.

* The political life of Levi Morton continued after his tenure as vice president. He was elected the governor of New York in 1894 and served for two years. His name was tossed around for potential presidential nominees in 1896, but the GOP ended up going with the younger William McKinley of Ohio, who went on to win. The New Yorker subsequently retired from politics and devoted his time to his banking career. He founded a trust company and later received an offer from J.P. Morgan to merge the Morgan Guaranty Trust Company with Morton's banking business. The former VP accepted the deal, and his name was erased from the banking world. He lived on until 1920, when he died on May 16th, his 96th birthday. Only one vice president, John Nance Garner, lived longer. He died in 1967 at the age of 98.

Second Lady: Anna Livingston Reade Street Morton
       - Spouse: Lucy Kimball Morton (1836-1871)
                       Anna Livingston Reade Street Morton (1846-1918)

Political Party:
 Republican Party

Served Under:
 Benjamin Harrison

Last Words:
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