Saturday, May 17, 2008

lost sons of New York

Daniel D. Tompkins was the governor of New York state from 1807 to 1817. Thereafter he was US Vice President to James Monroe until 1825. Given all this prominence, I feel this Tompkins character has been overlooked -- at least in my life. Although I spent plenty of time in Tompkins Square Park in New York City, I hadn't a clue who it was named after, and no one, not one person from any walk of life pulled me aside and filled me in on these most basic facts.

It also turns out that Tompkins County, home of Ithaca and thereby Cornell University, is also named for him.

A little less obscure is Millard Fillmore, US President from 1850 to 1853. Millard hailed from Cayuga County but was never actually elected; he was VP to Zachary Taylor when the latter died from gastroenteritis. Millard was the last Whig to serve as US President, and spent most of his career representing other strange, forgotten parties such as the Anti-Masonic and Know Nothing (which could alternately have been called the Anti-Catholic party). It would be funny to collect some of these 19th century conservatives, and then some of our present day Neo-Cons, lock them in an elevator for seven hours and see if they got along.


Post a Comment

<< Home