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James Schoolcraft Sherman (October 24, 1855 – October 30, 1912) was a United States Representative from New Yorkmarker and the 27th Vice President of the United States. He was a member of the Baldwin, Hoar, and Sherman families.

Early life

Sherman was born in Utica, New Yorkmarker. The son of Richard Updike Sherman and his distant cousin Mary Frances Sherman, he gained his early education through private schools. He attended Hamilton College, where he was a member of the Sigma Phi fraternity, and graduated in 1878. He then studied law for two years, and was admitted to the bar in 1880.

Law and business

Sherman practiced law at the Utica firm of Cookingham & Martin, and was nicknamed "Sunny Jim" for his positive disposition. He married Carrie Babcock in 1881. He also served as president of the Utica Trust & Deposit Co. and of the New Hartford Canning Co. during this period; in 1884, he became mayor of Utica.

U.S. Representative

In 1886, Sherman was elected U.S. Representative from New York's 23rd congressional district as a Republican, defeating incumbent John S. Spriggs in a close election. He was re-elected in another close election in 1888. But in 1890 (a Democrat landslide year) he was narrowly defeated by Henry W. Bentley. In 1892, Sherman defeated Bentley, again in a close race (now in the 25th District, New York's districts having been redrawn in 1891). In 1894, Sherman was easily re-elected, as he was in the next six elections, serving until elected Vice-President in 1908.He served in various positions in Congress, including Chairman of the House Committee on Indian Affairs.

In 1898, he briefly became a candidate for Speaker of the House. In 1899, he was offered the post of General Appraiser of the Port of New York by President William McKinley. Sherman declined the position after hearing vocal opposition from his Utica constituents.

Vice President

In 1908, Sherman was nominated as the Republican candidate for Vice President on the ticket with William Howard Taft, supported by over 4/5 of the delegates.

During the 1908 campaign, Sherman was attacked by Los Angelesmarker attorney Edmund Burke. Burke claimed that he was a former partner of Sherman in the New Mexico Lumber and Development Company, and that Sherman had used his position in Congress to arrange an improper land purchase. But this attack had no effect on the election: Taft and Sherman won easily.

In 1911, Sherman became the first sitting Vice President to fly in an airplane. His fight took place in New York and lasted under five minutes.

1912 election and illness

Sherman had also been diagnosed with gallstones during this period, and was told that kidney trouble was causing his problems. By following a strict diet, he was able to manage his lingering condition after taking office on March 4, 1909. However, his strong work ethic played a major role in the deterioration of his health over the course of the 1912 presidential campaign.

In June 1912, Sherman became the first incumbent Vice President to be renominated by a National Convention. (The 1840 Democratic convention did not actually renominate Vice President Richard M. Johnson; it refused to choose a replacement.) The ensuing campaign saw Taft in a stiff three-way battle with Democrat Woodrow Wilson and former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, the latter candidate having previously been in a nasty feud with Sherman over control of the New York Republican Party.


Sherman died in Utica a few days prior to the election. The Republican National Committee named Columbia University President Nicholas M. Butler to replace Sherman and receive any electoral votes for him. However, the Republicans only carried two states for a total of eight electoral votes, so this did not matter. James S. Sherman was interred in Forest Hill Cemeterymarker in Utica.

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