Daniel D. Tompkins

Daniel D. TompkinsDaniel D. Tompkins was an American politician. He was the fourth Governor of New York from 1807 to 1817 and the sixth Vice President of the United States in 1817 to 1825.

On June 21st, 1774, in Scarsdale, Westchester County New York, Daniel Tompkins was born. He was a son of Christian parents that brought him up in Protestant faith. He was baptized as Daniel Tompkins. The added middle initial "D" did not happen until he was a student attending Columbia College, to help distinguish himself from another student there who shared his name.

During the last year in college, Tompkins had served in a law office of Peter Jay Monroe. In 1795, he graduated from Columbia College in New York City at the head of his class. Tompkins studied law and in 1797, he was admitted to the bar as an attorney of the Supreme Court and subsequently a counselor.

In 1798, Tompkins was a 23-year old lawyer. He married to 16-year old Hannah Minthorne on February 20th, 1798. The couple had eight children. Minthorne Street, in Tompkinsville, Staten Island, is named after Hannah.

In 1801, Tompkins was elected a representative of the city, delegated to the New York State Constitutional Convention in 1803. In 1804, he became a member of the New York State Assembly, being elected to the 9th United States Congress. However, he resigned before the beginning of the term at the age of 30. His purpose was to revise the constitution of the state and the following year he had became a member of the state legislature.

On April 30th, 1807, Tompkins defeated Governor Morgan Lewis and remained in office as Governor of New York until 1817. During the War of 1812, Tompkins proved to be one of the most effective war governors. He played an important role during the war by reorganizing the state militia and promoting the formation of the standing state military force. He even declined to become the United States Secretary of State by President James Madison in 1814. Instead, he accepted commander of the federal military district.

In 1814, Tompkins established land along the eastern shore of Staten Island. He was so awestruck by the beauty of Staten Island, he purchased the Abraham Crocheron farm. This farm extended south from Richmond Terrace, known in the present day as Tompkinsville, Staten Island. He built a dock along the waterfront in the neighborhood in 1817 and began offering daily steam ferry services between Staten Island and lower Manhattan.

Also in 1817, Tompkins, being governor at the time, suggested that on July 4th, 1827, be the date that all slaves in New York State should be freed. This also included the slaves who were not eligible for freedom due to they were born before the Gradual Manumission Act of July 4th, 1799.

In late 1817, Daniel D Tompkins became the Vice President of the United States under James Monroe. After being a vice president, he retired to private life back on Staten Island. In his free time, he had improved his farm and obtained a spacious and hospitable mansion, which had become one of the homes of literature, philanthropy, and art.   

On June 11th, 1825, Tompkins passed away at the age of 51 in Tompkinsville, just 99 days after leaving office. He was buried on June 21st, 1843, in the Minthorne Vault with his wife in the west yard of St. Mark's-in-the-Bouwerie Church, in lower Manhattan.

Besides a neighborhood being named after him in his honor, Tompkin's legacy lives on in various locations around New York City. In New Springville, Staten Island, Public School 69 - Daniel D. Tompkins was named to honor all his appreciation of Staten Island and what he achieved for New York City.

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