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Patriotic Exits? 35 Members of Congress Who Died on July 4th

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Four members of the U.S. House died on Independence Day while in office; North Carolina and Pennsylvania delegations have had the most pass on the 4th of July

jessehelms10.jpgA year ago, Smart Politics published a report 40 Yankee Doodle Dandies - highlighting those eventual U.S. Senators and Representatives who were born on July 4th over the last 280+ years.

That list included two current members of the U.S. House - 11-term Democrat Sam Farr of California's 20th Congressional District (born in 1941) and two-term Democrat Dan Maffei of New York's 24th CD (born in 1968).

For this year's entry, Smart Politics shines a light on the 35 Senators and Representatives across 22 states who passed away on Independence Day.

The most famous to do so was, of course, James Monroe in 1831 - exactly five years after fellow ex-Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day.

A few decades before becoming president, Monroe was one of Virginia's first U.S. Senators - elected twice to the position and serving from 1790 until 1794.

But the first congressman to die on Independence Day was Pro-Administration / Federalist Massachusetts U.S. Representative Fisher Ames.

Ames served during each of the first four Congresses and was later selected to become president of Harvard University in 1804 according to the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

Ames declined that position due to ill health and died four years later on July 4, 1808.

Next on the list is Thomas Gholson - a five-term representative from Virginia.

Gholson served in the chamber from 1808 until 1816 and is one of four members of the U.S. House to die in office on July 4th. The other three are:

· Six-term Oklahoma Republican Dick Morgan who served from 1909 to 1920
· Ten-term Pennsylvania Republican George Graham (1913-1931)
· One-term Wisconsin Republican Harry Griswold (1939-1939)

The longest-serving member of the U.S. House to die on July 4th was Michigan Republican Earl Michener.

Michener served 30 years across 15 interrupted terms (1919-1933; 1935-1951) and died six years after exiting the chamber in 1957.

The longest-serving member of the U.S. Senate to die on Independence Day was also the most recent member of either chamber to die on the 4th of July - North Carolina Republican Jesse Helms (pictured at top).

Helms was elected to five terms in the U.S. Senate and served 30 years from 1973 to 2003 before retiring from office.

Helms died five years later in 2008 at the age of 86.

Prior to Helms, the last member to serve in Congress who died on the 4th of July was former seven-term Democrat Peter Mack of Illinois (1949-1963) who died in 1986.

Two former members of the U.S. House died exactly one year prior to Mack on July 4, 1985: former three-term Democrat Henry Ellenbogen of Pennsylvania (1933-1938) and two-term Democrat Joseph Monaghan of Montana (1933-1937).

Other notables from Capitol Hill to die on July 4th include:

· Maine Democrat-turned-Republican U.S. Representative (1843-1847), Governor (1857-1857), U.S. Senator (1848-1857; 1857-1861; 1869-1881), and Vice-President (1861-1865) Hannibal Hamlin, who died in 1891 at the age of 81

· New York Jacksonian U.S. Senator (1831-1833) and governor (1833-1839) William Marcy, who died in 1857

· Maine Republican U.S. Representative (1861-1863) and governor (1855-1856) Anson Morrill who passed in 1887

Overall, four members of Congress died on July 4th from North Carolina and Pennsylvania, with three each from Illinois and Maine.

U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives Who Died on July 4th

State
Member
Party
Service
Chamber
Died
MA
Fisher Ames
Pro-Admin, Federalist
1789-1797
House
1808
VA
Thomas Gholson
Jeff. Republican
1808-1816
House
1816
VA
James Monroe
Anti-Admin
1790-1794
Senate
1831
GA
William Terrell
Jeff. Republican
1817-1821
House
1855
NY
William Marcy
Jacksonian
1831-1833
Senate
1857
IN
Leonidas Sexton
Republican
1877-1879
House
1880
ME
Stephen Coburn
Republican
1861-1861
House
1882
LA
Joseph Elam
Democrat
1877-1881
House
1885
ME
Anson Morrill
Republican
1861-1863
House
1887
ME
Hannibal Hamlin
Democrat, Republican
1843-1847; 1848-1857; 1857-1861; 1869-1881
House, Senate
1891
MI
Edwin Winans
Democrat
1883-1887
House
1894
KY
John Caldwell
Democrat
1877-1883
House
1903
NC
John Deweese
Republican
1868-1870
House
1906
NY
Edwin Reynolds
Republican
1860-1861
House
1908
NC
John Atwater
Populist
1899-1901
House
1910
PA
William Koontz
Republican
1866-1869
House
1911
OK
Dick Morgan
Republican
1909-1920
House
1920
TN
John Gaines
Democrat
1897-1909
House
1926
NC
John Fowler
Populist
1897-1899
House
1930
PA
George Graham
Republican
1913-1931
House
1931
WV
Stuart Reed
Republican
1917-1925
House
1935
WI
Harry Griswold
Republican
1939-1939
House
1939
IL
Martin Brennan
Democrat
1933-1937
House
1941
OH
Joseph Dixon
Democrat
1937-1939
House
1942
KS
Guy Helvering
Democrat
1913-1919
House
1946
MI
Earl Michener
Republican
1919-1933; 1935-1951
House
1957
IL
Alexander Resa
Democrat
1945-1947
House
1964
CA
Hubert Scudder
Republican
1949-1959
House
1968
PA
William Milliken
Republican
1959-1965
House
1969
CT
Thomas Hart
Republican
1945-1946
Senate
1971
SD
Joseph Bottum
Republican
1962-1963
Senate
1984
MT
Joseph Monaghan
Democrat
1933-1937
House
1985
PA
Henry Ellenbogen
Democrat
1933-1938
House
1985
IL
Peter Mack
Democrat
1949-1963
House
1986
NC
Jesse Helms
Republican
1973-2003
Senate
2008
Table compiled by Smart Politics with information culled from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

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