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Francis Kernan

Francis Kernan was an American lawyer and politician from New York. He was a U.S. Senator (D-NY) from 1875 to 1881.


  • Kernan was the son of Gen. William Kernan, who came to America from County Cavan, Ireland.

  • Career

    • 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.

    Major achievements

    • 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 United States Congressman, he was a "War Democrat".



    Party affiliation: Democratic Party


    Roman Catholic

    Denomination: Roman Catholic


    • 38th United States Congress , USA
      1863 - 1865

    • United States Senator from New York , USA
      1875 - 1881


    Francis Kernan
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    Born January 14, 1816
    Died September 7, 1892
    (aged 76)
    • November 30, 1836
      Georgetown (Kentucky) College
    • 1854 - 1857
      school commissioner, Utica
    • June 30, 1854 - November 30, 1857
      Reporter, New York Court of Appeals
    • 1861
      manager, New York State Hospital
    • November 30, 1860 - November 30, 1862
      member, New York State Assembly

    Official Titles


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