Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Vice President King


He Took the Oath of Office Abroad, but Did Not Live to Serve.

William Rufus King, born April 6, 1786, died April 18, 1853, was a vice president of the United States who never served in that capacity and one who took the oath of office on foreign soil, something which can be said of no other executive officer who has over been elected by the people of this country. King was an invalid, but his friends urged him to take second place on the ticket with Pierce in 1852.

Both were elected, but Mr. King's health failed so rapidly that he was forced to go to Cuba some two months before inauguration day. Not having returned to the United States by March 4, Congress passed a special act authorizing the United States consul at Matanzas, Cuba, to swear him in as vice president at about the hour when Pierce was taking the oath of office at Washington.

This arrangement was carried out to a dot, and on the day appointed, at a plantation on one of the highest hills in the vicinity of Matanzas, Mr. King was made vice president of the United States amid the solemn "Vaya vol con Dios" (God will be with you) of the creoles who had assembled to witness the unique spectacle. Vice President King returned to his home at Cahawba, Ala., arriving at that place April 17, 1853, and died the following day. His remains wore laid to rest on his plantation, known as Pine Hills. — Chicago Times.

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