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Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Wife of Our 9th Vice President Was One of His Enslaved Women -- Who He Never Freed

There is a facinating story published in the Washington Post today recounting the story of Julia Chinn, who bore two children to our 9th Vice President, Richard Mentor Johnson of Kentucky, but died of cholera four years before Johnson took office.  He put her in charge of the plantation when he was away, yet he never granted her freedom.  He couldn't marry her legally, but they were married in a family ceremony in a black church.  His two daughters married white men and their descendants denied their heritage for over a century. It's a fascinating story.  Here's a link to the Washington Post story

He's also the only Vice President who didn't received the necessary electoral votes, unlike President Martin Van Buren, and was voted into office by the Senate.  Although Southern newspapers decried Johnson as "the great Amalgamationist," he succeeded politically in large part as a hero of the War of 1812, in which he was shot five times in a Canadian battle where he killed Chief Tecumseh.

Here's a link to a short video about Julia Chinn from KET. org.

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