About Charles W. Fairbanks
Warren Fairbanks (May 11, 1852 – June 4, 1918) was a Senator from Indiana (1897–1905) and the 26th Vice President of the United States (1905–1909).
Born in a log cabin near Delaware, Ohio, Fairbanks's ancestry traced back to Puritan followers of Oliver Cromwell, with Jonathan Fayerbankes the first family member to reach America in 1632. The son of a wagon-maker, Fairbanks in his youth saw his family's home used as a hiding place for runaway slaves. After attending country schools and working on a farm, Fairbanks attended Ohio Wesleyan University, where he graduated in 1872. While there, Fairbanks was co-editor of the school newspaper with Cornelia Cole, whom he married after both graduated from the school.
Fairbanks, Alaska is named after Charles W. Fairbanks.
Fairbanks' first position was as an agent of the Associated Press in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, reporting on political rallies for Horace Greeley during the 1872 presidential election. Fairbanks then moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he briefly attended law school before his admittance to the Ohio bar in 1874. He then moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, the same year. Although not generally known his uncle was Ohio Governor and United States President Rutherford B. Hayes who treated his nephew as a political advisor.
During his early years in Indiana, Fairbanks was paid $5,000 a year as manager for the bankrupt Indianapolis, Bloomington and Western Railroad. With the assistance of his uncle, Charles W. Smith, whose connections had helped him obtain the position, Fairbanks was able to become a railroad financier, and served as counsel for millionaire Jay Gould.
Prior to the 1888 Republican National Convention, federal judge Walter Q. Gresham sought Fairbanks's help in seeking the nomination for U.S. President. While the bid was ultimately unsuccessful, Fairbanks began to take an even greater interest in politics, falling short in a campaign for the United States Senate in 1893.
He was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1896, after having delivered the keynote address during the convention that nominated William McKinley for President.
During his eight years in the U.S. Senate, Fairbanks served as a key adviser to McKinley during the Spanish-American War and was also the Chairman of the Committee on Immigration and the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds. In 1898, Fairbanks was appointed a member of the United States and British Joint High Commission which met in Quebec City for the adjustment of Canadian questions, including the boundary dispute about Alaska.
Fairbanks was elected Vice President of the United States in 1904 on the Republican ticket with Theodore Roosevelt and served all four years. Fairbanks sought the Republican nomination for President but Roosevelt (who chose to not seek reelection) supported William Howard Taft as his potential successor in 1908, sending Fairbanks back to the practice of law. In 1912, Fairbanks supported Taft's re-election against Roosevelt's Bull Moose candidacy.
In 1916, Fairbanks was in charge of establishing the platform for the Republican party. In 1916, he sought the Republican presidential nomination, and although he failed in that bid, he did win the nomination for vice president under Charles Evans Hughes on June 10. Five months later, Hughes and Fairbanks lost a close election to the Democratic incumbents Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Marshall.
Fairbanks once again resumed the practice of law in Indianapolis, but his health started to fail. He died of nephritis in his home on June 4, 1918. He was interred in Crown Hill Cemetery.
The city of Fairbanks, Alaska, the Fairbanks North Star Borough it lies within, and the Fairbanks School District in Union County, Ohio, Fairbanks, Minnesota, Fairbanks, Oregon, and Fairbanks Township, Michigan are named after him.
On Friday, May 15, 2009, an Ohio historical marker was dedicated in Unionville Center, commemorating Fairbanks' birthplace.
Charles W. Fairbanks, 26th Vice President of the USA's Timeline
May 11, 1852
Unionville Center, Union County, Ohio
January 5, 1897
- March 3, 1905
United States Senator, Indiana, Washington, District of Columbia
March 4, 1905
- March 4, 1909
Vice President, United States of American, Washington, District of Columbia
June 4, 1918