Francis Kernan, U.S. Senator

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Francis P Kernan, Senator

Birthdate: (76)
Birthplace: Wayne, Wayne, NY, United States
Death: September 7, 1892 (76)
Utica, NY, United States
Place of Burial: Utica, Oneida, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of General William Kernan and Rosanna Maria Kernan
Husband of Hannah Avery Kernan
Father of Francis J Kernan, Jr.; Elizabeth Butler Kernan; Nicklas Edward Kernan; Joseph Francis Kernan; Thomas Philip Neri Kernan and 5 others
Brother of Margaret Mary Kernan; Edward Kernan; Jane Kernan; Alice Kernan; Rosanna Maria Kernan and 3 others

Managed by: Private User
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About Francis Kernan, U.S. Senator

Francis Kernan (January 14, 1816 – September 7, 1892) was an American lawyer and politician from New York. He was a U.S. Senator (D-NY) from 1875 to 1881.

Kernan's son, Michael Kernan, became a stockbroker and New York State Senator. His grandson, Michael Kernan, Jr. (1927–2005) was a journalist with the Washington Post.


Kernan was the son of Gen. William Kernan, who came to America from County Cavan, Ireland, in 1800, and Rose Anna (Stubbs) Kernan. He graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in 1836, then studied law, and removed to Utica, New York in 1839. He was admitted to the bar in July 1840, and then practiced law with Joshua A. Spencer. In 1843, he married Hannah A. Devereux, daughter of Nicholas Devereux, of Utica, with whom he had ten children.

Kernan was school commissioner of Utica, manager of the New York State Hospital, Reporter of the New York Court of Appeals from 1854 to 1857, a member of the New York State Assembly from 1860 to 1862, and a regent of the University of the State of New York from 1870 until his death.

He was elected as a Democrat to the 38th United States Congress, defeating the Republican boss Roscoe Conkling, and served from March 4, 1863, to March 4, 1865. In 1864, he was defeated for re-election by Conkling.

In 1872, he was the Democratic/Liberal-Republican candidate for Governor of New York, but was defeated by Republican John Adams Dix. During these times, Kernan, Roscoe Conkling and Horatio Seymour were the heads of New York state politics, known as the "Utica trio".

In January 1875, Kernan was elected a U.S. Senator from New York, the first Catholic senator from the state, and its first Democratic senator in 24 years. He served from March 4, 1875, to March 4, 1881, alongside the Republican boss Conkling. At the 1876 Democratic National Convention in St. Louis, U.S. Senator Kernan nominated Samuel J. Tilden for U.S. President. In January 1881, Kernan was defeated for re-election by Republican Thomas C. Platt. After Platt's resignation in May 1881, Kernan ran again for the Senate in the following special election, but was defeated by Republican Warner Miller, the Democrats being the minority party in that year.

He numbered among his friends Abraham Lincoln, Horatio Seymour, Samuel J. Tilden, Thomas F. Bayard, and Grover Cleveland. Both as a member of the New York Assembly and as a U.S. Congressman, he was a "War Democrat".

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Francis Kernan, U.S. Senator's Timeline

January 14, 1816
Wayne, Wayne, NY, United States
February 25, 1844
Age 28
Utica, Oneida County, New York, United States
Age 29
New York, United States
Age 29
New York, United States
March 23, 1851
Age 35
New York, United States
Age 34
New York, United States
May 28, 1853
Age 37
Utica, Oneida County, New York, United States
September 3, 1856
Age 40
Age 42
New York, United States
April 29, 1861
Age 45
New York, United States