Biography of Francis Granger

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Francis. second son of Gideon and Mindwell (Pease) Granger, was born in Suffield, Connecticut, December 1. 1792, and in 1811, at the age of nineteen years. was graduated with honor from Yale College. He followed the example of his distinguished father by studying for the bar, and soon after the removal of the family to Canandaigua took up the practice of his profession in that village. He promptly entered public life and for many years the suffrages of his constituents placed him in positions of honor and responsibility, where his natural and acquired qualifications enabled him to occupy the foremost rank. A man of striking and commanding personality, polished manners, and courteous and dignified bearing, he soon drew to himself a host of warm friends and admirers, who lost no opportunity of demonstrating their confidence and esteem by conferring upon him such public honors as were at their disposal. In 1826 he was elected to the state legislature, where he served by reelections in 1828-30-32. In that legislative body his winning personality, persuasive eloquence, sound judgment and practical ability gave him a commanding influence and won for him friends throughout the state. Twice (in 1830 and 1832) he was nominated for governor of the state, and was defeated by an insignificant Democratic majority. Under the then existing conditions of the great political parties, these defeats were in every sense a reason for congratulation to him and his political friends. In 1836 he received the nomination for the vice-presidency of the nation, in the campaign of General Harrison for the presidency, but the success of his party was destined to further postponement, as recorded in the political history of the country. In 1835 he was nominated and elected to congress, where he served with distinguished ability and influence until 1841, when he resigned to accept the high station so long and honorably filled by his father, the postmaster-generalship, General Harrison having been elected to the presidency. The duties of this office he discharged until the memorable disruption of the cabinet under President Tyler. Declining a foreign mission which had been tendered him, he was again pressed to accept the nomination for congress, but his determination to retire from public life had become fixed and in the succeeding years he resisted all persuasion to again accept political preferment. He, however, occasionally presided at meetings of his political friends when interests of more than common importance were at issue. It was during his political career that the branch of the Whig party which became known as the “Silver Grays” received its peculiar title in a convention of which he was the chairman, from his flowing locks of gray hair. During the troubled era of 1861-65, when the very foundations of the Union were threatened, Mr. Granger was a staunch supporter of the government. He was induced through the solicitation of many friends to go to Washington as one of the so-called peace convention in 1861, in which he bore a conspicuous part in the proceedings held to avert the threatened war.

It has been written of him that he was a man of great native intelligence, of quick wit, of warm heart, of popular manners, of imposing appearance, and of impressive speech, both in public and in private. Pew persons have had more friends in all parts of the country. Webster and Clay, Preston and Crittenden, Edward Everett. Abbott Lawrence, and many more of all parties and sections, were on terms of intimacy with him, to which they admitted few others. His nature was peculiarly attractive to young and old, and he seemed incapable of making an enemy of any one. Singularly happy in his own temperament, he made everybody happy around him. His sunny disposition was never quenched or clouded, either by disappointment or old age, and when he was at last called to die under circumstances full of sadness, he uttered no word of impatience or repining, but threw himself with quiet resignation and perfect trust upon the mercies of his God. He died in Canandaigua, August 28, 1868, in the seventy-sixth year of his age.

He married Cornelia Van Rensselaer, of Utica, New York, who lived but a few years. He was survived by his two children: 1. Cornelia Adeline, who married (first), John E. Thayer, of Boston, and (second), Robert C. Winthrop; she died in 1894. 2. Gideon, see forward.

MLA Source Citation:

Milliken, Charles F. The History of Ontario County, New York, and Its People Lewis Historical Publishing Co., New York. 1911. Web. 18 December 2014. - Last updated on May 19th, 2011


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