84 years of Fish. A Record?

Hamilton Fish was a Senator and an all-around big shot in New York and national politics in the 19th century.

His son, grandson, and great-grandson - all named Hamilton Fish - were elected to Congress, as was his grandnephew Hamilton Fish Kean.

I read a factoid that his descendants held that seat in Congress from 1910 to 1994, 84 years.

First, is this true? Was it really continuous?

And if it is true, is it a record? There have been plenty of political dynasties across the country. Is there anything to approach this?

The Adams had a pretty good run, though at various levels of government. Depending on when you consider John’s start (say, as V.P. in 1789), you have him, John Quincy, and Charles Francis in Presidential & Congressional seats for a long time. Although I think there may be a gap or two in there.

Abe Vigoda, on the other hand, is 86 years old.

I think you meant 1810 to 1894, not 1910 to 1994, right?


It wasn’t continous; Hamilton I served from 1843 to 1845; Hamilton II from 1909 to 1911; Hamilton III from 1920 to 1945; and Hamilton IV from 1968 to 1995. Hamilton V has run twice but not been elected.

And let’s not forget Nicholas Fish (1758–1833) the father of Hamilton the first and a major political figure in his day.

And it wasn’t really the same seat, although all of them were elected from NY districts. H1 represented the 6th District; H2 represented the 21st District; H3 represented the 26th District; and H4 represented the 28th District (1969-73), 25th District (1973-83), 21st District (1983-93), and 19th District (1993-95).

There was an eight year and a 25 year gap.

The patriarch was, as noted a Senator. He did serve one term in the House.

His son served one term, 1909-10.

His son served from 1919-44.

His son served from 1969-94.

Hamilton Fish Kean served from 1929-34.

Pretty impressive.

I used this biographical search tool.

shakes fist at Little Nemo

Many notable political dynasties attract no national attention.

The Tafts of Ohio are still quite active, the present bigwig is an Undersecretary of the Navy. The Byrons of Maryland had a seat in congress for generations. (It was a Byron who offered Lee command of the US Army on Lincoln’s behalf.)

I think the Lees of Virginia have died out I think, although the Lee and Custis names turn up as middle names in local politics more often than one would think. (Governor Blair Lee of Maryland comes to mind.)

Did the Goldwaters establish a dynasty in Arizona?

I think Strom Thurmond held the same seat for more than 84 years, all by himself. Didn’t need no steenkin’ decendants to help. :slight_smile:

It’s a less prominent family than the Fish family, but there are the Udalls. Davd Udall was a member of the Arizona territorial legislature. He had four sons who went into politics, the most famous of whom were probably Levi and Jesse Udall, both of whom were, at different times, Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court.

Levi had two sons, Stuart Udall, who was a congressman from Arizona from 1955-1961, and then Kennedy and Johnson’s secretary of the Interior, and Mo Udall, who was a congressman from Arizona from 1961-1991.

Mo Udall’s son, Mark, is a congressman from Colorado. Stewart Udall’s son, Tom, is a congressman from New Mexico.

Now, Jesse Udall, who I mentioned before…his grandson is Gordon Smith, who’s a senator from Oregon. And, if you’re curious, Rex Lee, who was President Reagan’s solicitor general, and at one point Samuel Alito’s boss, is also a first cousin to Stewart and Mo Udall.

The Byrds and Floods (in the sense that they are same family) represented Va as Governor, Senator or Representative from 1901 until 1983 except for 1930-32.

From wiki

Henry D. Flood (1865–1921), U.S. Representative from Virginia, 1901–1921; maternal uncle of Harry Byrd Sr

Joel W. Flood (1894–1964), U.S. Representative from Virginia, 1932–1933; brother of Henry D. Flood and maternal uncle of Harry Byrd Sr.

Harry F. Byrd Sr. (1887–1966), Governor of Virginia, 1926–1930; Vice Chair of the Democratic Party, 1929; candidate for Democratic nomination for President, 1932; U.S. Senator from Virginia, 1933–1965; nephew of Henry D. Flood and Joel West Flood, father of Harry Byrd, Jr.

Harry F. Byrd Jr. (b.1914), U.S. Senator from Virginia, 1965–1983; son of Harry F. Byrd Sr.

(The Virginia Byrds are not related to Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia)

CA-Rep. Nancy Pelosi is the Daughter and Grandaughter of two mayors of Baltimore

Thanks. I knew the Teeming Millions would come through. Twice. Hey, This Year’s Model: you get a shout out too. :slight_smile:

The local political dynasty is a huge factor in our politics that never gets the attention it deserves. We read a lot about political bosses in the history books, but families have had equal power without the same level of corruption that makes the boss system so seductive to write about.

Well, as examples of family political dynasties, we had not only the Fish but the Byrds. Perhaps the Udalls qualify as “beasts” for the full quote?

The Fishs are not alone either; through intermarriage they are now related to the Keans and the Livingstons, two other major families in NY politics.

What? He died at 100 and wasn’t Senator at 16. He was a Senator from 1954-2003.

Or did I just get whooshed?

I was only trying to be funny…I know, I know. A MOD being funny… :slight_smile:

That would be news to this guy.

THAT Taft* is NO relation to the family. Move along. Nothing to see here. Really. He’s no realtion. Probably adopted. Yeah, that’s it.

*voted the worst Gov. in the US.

I pushed the wrong button. Continuing…

In the event that (as is expected by most followers of New Jersey politics) St. Sen. Thomas Kean Jr. is the Republican nominee for US Senate next year, he will be the fifth member of his family in the last 100 years to have either run for or been elected to statewide office, in the footsteps of his father, Thomas Sr. (Governor of NJ from 1982-1990), his grandfather Robert (the Rep candidate for US Senate in 1958, and a ten-term Essex County Congressman), his (already mentioned) great-grandfather Hamilton, and his great-granduncle John (a US Senator from 1899-1911).