James Schoolcraft Sherman
The nation's twenty-seventh vice president during William Howard Taft's presidency was James Schoolcraft Sherman. Being a member of the House of Representatives for almost two decades, he stood firmly for the Republican Party as an influential role during the Progressive Era. He was nicknamed "Sunny Jim" for his genial demeanor and civility, and was the first Republican vice president to be renominated. However, he didn't live long enough to see the election day.
James was born in Utica, New York on October 24, 1855. His parents were Richard Updike Sherman and Mary Frances Schoolcraft Sherman. They educated James in the Utica public schools, and his advanced education took him towards Hamilton College in Utica. Sherman was not a brilliant student but he was greatly distinguished as a debater by his professors and his peers. He gained admission to the bar in 1880, then entered the Utica law firm of Cookinham, Gibson and Sherman. He remained here as a business adviser until 1907. He was moving on to politics.
His father sparked James interest in politics, and chose to be a Republican against his father's advice. Sherman's first political victory was his election as mayor of Utica in 1884 at the age of 29, making him the youngest mayor in the city's history. He declined renomination, as he was preparing to move into national politics. Even without any outstanding achievements as mayor, he managed to work his way into position for the Republican nomination for Congress in 1886. He defeated his opponent Thomas J Spriggs, who held the office for two terms. This congressional victory started him on a long successful career in national politics. With only one election defeat in 1890, Sherman served in the House until selected as Taft's running mate in the 1908 election.
Meanwhile, Sherman's personal life was steadily progressing. He married Carrie Babcock from East Orange, New Jersey on January 26, 1881. Carrie and James attended school together in Utica and had known each other since childhood. During her husband's vice presidency, she founded the Congressional Club for senators and representatives wives. When in Utica, they attended the Dutch Reformed Church, where he was the president of trustees and church treasurer. When his father died in 1895, he took control of the New Hartford Canning Company, which was one of the most important financial ins...