Theodore Frelinghuysen, U.S. Senator

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Theodore Frelinghuysen

Birthdate: (75)
Birthplace: Franklin Township, Somerset, NJ, USA
Death: April 12, 1862 (75)
New Brunswick, Middlesex, NJ, USA
Place of Burial: First Reformed Church Cemetery New Brunswick Middlesex County New Jersey
Immediate Family:

Son of Frederick Frelinghuysen, U.S. Senator and Gertrude Frelinghuysen
Husband of Harriet Amelia Frelinghuysen and Charlotte Frelinghuysen
Brother of Brig. General John Frederick Frelinghuysen; Maria Cornell and Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen, II
Half brother of Sarah Frelinghuysen; Ann Frelinghuysen and Elizabeth Yard Elmendorf (Frelinghuysen)

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About Theodore Frelinghuysen, U.S. Senator

Theodore Frelinghuysen (March 28, 1787 – April 12, 1862) was an American politician, serving as New Jersey Attorney General, United States Senator, and Mayor of Newark, New Jersey before running as a candidate for Vice President with Henry Clay on the Whig ticket in the election of 1844. Upon its incorporation in 1848, Frelinghuysen Township, New Jersey was named after him.


He was born in 1787 in Millstone, New Jersey, to Frederick Frelinghuysen. His siblings include: Catharine Frelinghuysen; John Frelinghuysen (1776–1833) the General who married Louisa Mercer and after her death married Elizabeth Mercereau Van Vechten; Maria Frelinghuysen (1778-?); and Frederick Frelinghuysen (1788-1820) the lawyer who married Jane Dumont. His great-grandfather, Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen, was a minister and theologian of the Dutch Reformed Church, influential in the founding of Queen's College, now Rutgers University, and one of four key leaders of the First Great Awakening in Colonial America. Theodore was the uncle of Frederick T. Frelinghuysen and great-great-grandfather of Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.. Rodney Frelinghuysen, who represents New Jersey's 11th congressional district, is a descendant.

Frelinghuysen married Charlotte Mercer (c. 1790-1854) in 1809. They had no children together, but when Theodore's brother, Frederick Frelinghuysen (1788-1820) died, Theodore adopted his son, Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen (1817–1885), who would later become Secretary of State. Theodore Frelinghuysen remarried in 1857 to Harriet Pumpelly.

He graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1804 and studied law under his brother John Frelinghuysen, and later, Richard Stockton. He was admitted to the bar as an attorney in 1808 and as a counselor in 1811, and set up a law practice in Newark during this time period.

Political Office

He became Attorney General of New Jersey in 1817, turned down an appointment to the New Jersey Supreme Court and became a United States Senator in 1829, serving in that capacity until 1835. He was Mayor of Newark, New Jersey from 1837 until 1838. He was a Whig vice-presidential candidate in 1844. He was the second President of New York University between 1839 and 1850 and seventh President of Rutgers College between 1850 and 1862.

As a Senator, he led the opposition to the Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act of 1830. His six-hour speech against the Removal Act was delivered over the course of three days, and warned of the dire consequences of the policy:

Let us beware how, by oppressive encroachments upon the sacred privileges of our Indian neighbors, we minister to the agonies of future remorse.

Frelinghuysen was chided for mixing his evangelical Christianity with politics, and the Removal Act was passed.

He was President of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (1841-c1857), President of the American Bible Society (1846–1862), President of the American Tract Society (1842–1846), Vice President of the American Sunday School Union (1826–1861), and Vice President of the American Colonization Society. He believed in temperance and actively opposed slavery. His moniker was the "Christian Statesman."

He died in New Brunswick, New Jersey on April 12, 1862 and he was buried there at the First Reformed Church Cemetery.

Frelinghuysen, Theodore (1787-1862) — also known as "Christian Statesman" — of Newark, Essex County, N.J. Born in Franklin Township, Somerset County, N.J., March 28, 1787. Whig. Lawyer; New Jersey state attorney general, 1817-29; U.S. Senator from New Jersey, 1829-35; mayor of Newark, N.J., 1837-38; candidate for Vice President of the United States, 1844. Died in New Brunswick, Middlesex County, N.J., April 12, 1862 (age 75 years, 15 days). Interment at First Reformed Church Cemetery, New Brunswick, N.J.

 		Relatives: Son of Frederick Frelinghuysen; married 1809 to Charlotte Mercer (c.1790-1854); married 1857 to Harriet Pumpelly; uncle of Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen; granduncle of Joseph Sherman Frelinghuysen; second great-granduncle of Peter Hood Ballantine Frelinghuysen, Jr. and Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (1946-).
 		Political family: Frelinghuysen-Davis-Lodge-Bancroft family of Massachusetts (subset of the Thousand Related Politicians).

US Senator. The son of General Frederick Frelinghuysen, he graduated from the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton University) in 1804, and was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1808. In 1817 he was appointed as Attorney General of New Jersey, serving in that office from 1817 to 1829. He was then elected as an Anti-Jacksonian Senator from New Jersey to the United States Senate, serving from 1829 to 1835.

He set up a law practice in Newark, New Jersey, and served as the city's Mayor from 1837 to 1838. In 1844 he was selected by Kentucky Senator Henry Clay to his Vice Presidential running mate in Clay's bid for the Presidency of the United States; a run that saw them defeated by the James Knox Polk-George M. Dallas ticket. His later years saw him serve as President of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey from 1850 until his death in 1862. A strong defender of Native American Rights, as a Senator he made a six hour speech over the course of three days passionately opposing President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act of 1830.

His nephew, Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen, later served as a Senator from New Jersey and as United States Secretary of State in President Chester A. Arthur's Administration.

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Theodore Frelinghuysen, U.S. Senator's Timeline

March 28, 1787
Franklin Township, Somerset, NJ, USA
April 12, 1862
Age 75
New Brunswick, Middlesex, NJ, USA
First Reformed Church Cemetery New Brunswick Middlesex County New Jersey