March 24, 1853
William Rufus King of Selma was born April 7, 1786. He served as a U.S. representative from North Carolina, a senator from Alabama and as minister to France during the reign of King Louis Philippe I before becoming the only U.S. vice president from Alabama. King was elected vice president on the Democratic ticket with Franklin Pierce in fall 1852. Due to illness, he was inaugurated near Havana, Cuba in March 1853 – the only United States executive official to take the oath of office on foreign soil. King served six weeks as the 13th vice president. He died in April 1853 and was buried in Selma. King held the highest political office of any Alabamian in American history.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
This portrait of Selma native and future vice president William Rufus King was painted in 1839 by George Cooke. A noted portraitist, Cooke was a favorite of Alabama industrialist Daniel Pratt, who built a special gallery attached to his home just to house Cooke’s paintings. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of the Philanthropic Society, Phi Hall, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
This mid-19th-century print depicts Chestnut Hill, the estate of politician William Rufus King. He built it about 1820 on the east bank of the Alabama River opposite the state capital at Cahaba in Dallas County. The structure burned in 1920. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of the Alabama Department of Archives and History)
Presidential campaign banner featuring bust portraits of candidates Franklin Pierce, president, and William R. King, vice president, c. 1852. (Currier & Ives, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
The tomb of William Rufus King, 13th vice president of the United States and a founder of Selma, in Live Oak Cemetery in Selma, Dallas County. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photograph by Ginger Ann Brook)
For more on Alabama’s bicentennial, go to Alabama 200.