|Interment Location||Visited||Sequence in Graves I Have Visited|
|Rhinebeck, NY||May 22, 2010||26th Vice President visited|
Only Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first vice president — John Nance Garner — has surpassed Levi P. Morton in terms of longevity among VPs. The man who served under Benjamin Harrison died in 1920 on his 96th birthday, a then-record for vice presidents. Morton was laid to rest in the town of his residence, Rhinebeck, on the eastern side of the Hudson River.
Morton, whose grave is shown here marked with an American flag, is surrounded in his burial plot by his family. That includes his first wife, Lucy Kimball, and Second Lady Anna Street, whom he married after Lucy’s death in 1871. Five of the VP’s seven children are interred there as well, as is a five-year-old nephew.
Morton’s epitaph reads, “The Path Of The Just Is As The Shining Light That Shineth More And More Unto The Perfect Day.” Although the flag holder at the head of his slab indicates he was a veteran, I am unable to ascertain any information about Morton serving in the U.S. military.
Though Benjamin Harrison was defeated for re-election in 1892, Morton was not. He did not desire to serve a second term as vice president and was not on that year’s Republican Party ticket. Morton was replaced by former Minister to France Whitelaw Reid. Harrison and Reid lost to Grover Cleveland and Adlai Stevenson I. Morton’s political career was not finished, however. Two years hence, he was elected governor of New York.
Born: May 16, 1824 in Shoreham, Vermont
Spouses: Lucy Young Kimball Morton (m. 1856-1871); Anna Livingston Reade Street Morton (m. 1873-1918)
Political Affiliation: Republican Party
Vice Presidential Term: 1889-1893 under Benjamin Harrison
Gubernatorial Term: 1895-1896
Died: May 16, 1920 in Rhinebeck, New York
Cause of Death: Bronchial Pneumonia
Interment: Rhinebeck Cemetery, Rhinebeck, New York
"Our present national disregard of the interests of those who seek a home in our land is a discredit to humanity and to the honor of the nation."
- Levi P. Morton
April 22, 1880 in a speech regarding immigration policy, delivered on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives
On a Sunday morning in October 2022, I visited the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City. As I walked along a corridor toward the columbarium, I saw a tablet, pictured here, mounted to the wall on my left. It is dedicated to the memory of Levi Parsons Morton and Anna Livingston Morton, “whose gifts made possible the building and the furnishing of the choir of this cathedral.” The Mortons had gifted $600,000 toward the completion of the house of worship in 1904. The equivalent of that sum in October 2022 was $20,009,528.09.
Sources Consulted and Further Reading
Morton, Levi P. Immigration: Its National Character, and Importance to the Industries and Prosperities of the Country. Washington: Government Publication Office, 1880. https://www.loc.gov/item/mfd.39003/.
New York Times. “LEVI P. MORTON GAVE $600,000 TO CATHEDRAL.” January 11, 1905. 1. https://www.nytimes.com/1905/01/11/archives/levi-p-morton-gave-600000-to-cathedral-wife-shared-in-anonymous.html.
Sun and New York Herald. “Levi P. Morton is Dead on His 96th Birthday.” May 17, 1920. https://www.newspapers.com/image/64385651/.