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Breckinridge family

The Breckinridge family is a family of public figures from the United States. The family has included six members of the United States House of Representatives, two United States Senators, a cabinet member, two Ambassadors, a Vice President of United States and an unsuccessful Presidential candidate. Breckinridges have served as college presidents, prominent ministers, soldiers, theologians and in important positions at state and local levels. The family was most notable in the State of Kentucky and most prominent during the 19th century, during nearly one-third of which a member of the family served in the Congress of the United States. Below is a list of members.

  • Alexander Breckenridge (1686–1743), First Breckenridge in New World, emigrated to Philadelphia PA c. 1728. Married to Jane Preston in 1695 in County Londonderry, Ireland. She was sister of Robert Preston, first Speaker of Kentucky State House of Representatives .
    • Robert Breckenridge, Sr. (1720–1773), here termed Colonel Robert Breckenridge, Captain in Virginia militia during the French and Indian War and officer in the Revolutionary Army.[dubious ] Son of Alexander Breckenridge I. Married first Sarah Poage. After his first wife's death Breckenridge married second, his first cousin Letitia Preston.[1]
      • Alexander Breckenridge, son of Robert Breckenridge and Sarah Poage, here termed Captain Alexander Breckenridge. Married wealthy widow Jane Buchanan Floyd whose son John Floyd was Governor of Virginia.[1]
      • Robert Breckenridge (1754–1833), son of Col. Robert Breckenridge and Sarah Poage, Revolutionary War General. Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution. Kentucky State Representative 1792–1795. Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives. Brother of Captain Alexander Breckenridge; half-brother of John Breckinridge and James Breckinridge. Robert Breckenridge never married. Nota Bene: During his lifetime Colonel Robert Breckenridge spelled his surname as shown here, as did his father Alexander Breckenridge I. His sons by Leticia Preston, (i.e. James and John) began spelling the family name 'Breckinridge'.[2]
      • James Breckinridge (1763–1833), Virginia House Delegate 1789–1802 1806–1808 1819–1821 1823–1824, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia 1809–1817. Brother of John Breckinridge, Son of Robert Breckinridge and Letitia Preston.[3]
      • John Breckinridge (1760–1806), Member of House of Burgesses, U.S. District Attorney of Kentucky 1793–1794, Attorney General of Kentucky 1793–1797, Kentucky State Representative 1788–1790 1799–1801, delegate to the Kentucky Constitutional Convention 1799, U.S. Senator from Kentucky 1801–1805, Attorney General of the United States under Jefferson 1805–1806. Married Mary Hopkins Cabell in 1785. Half-brother of Alexander and Robert Breckenridge, brother of James Breckinridge, Son of Colonel Robert Breckinridge and Letitia Preston.[4]
        • Letitia Breckinridge, Daughter of John Breckinridge. Married first to Alfred William Grayson in 1804. Graduate of Cambridge University, lawyer, son of Senator William Grayson of Virginia. Died in 1810. Married second to Peter B. Porter (1773–1844), New York Assemblyman 1802 and 1828, U.S. Representative from New York 1809–1813 and 1815–1816, New York Secretary of State 1815–1816, U.S. Secretary of War 1828–1829.[5]
          • General John Breckinridge Grayson (1806–1862) Born at Cabell's Dale, Fayette County, Kentucky. Son of Letitia Preston Breckinridge and Alfred William Grayson. Graduated West Point Military Academy, 1826. Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Army at outbreak of Civil War, resigned in 1861, enterest C.S.A. and commissioned Brigadier General. Died while in command of the coastal defenses of Georgia and Florida, in Tallahassee 1862.[6]
          • Colonel Peter A. Porter (1827–1864), New York Assemblyman 1861–62, Colonel of the 129th New York State Volunteers, killed in action, 1864, Only son of Peter Buell Porter. Married cousin Mary Cabell Breckinridge in 1852.
            • Peter A. Porter (1853–1925), member of the New York Legislature, U.S. Representative from New York 1907–1909. Son of Peter Augustus Porter and Mary Cabell Breckinridge, Grandson of Peter Buell Porter.[7]
        • Joseph "Cabell" Breckinridge I (1788–1823), Major in War of 1812. Kentucky State Representative 1817–1818, Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives. Kentucky Secretary of State 1820–1823. Married Mary Clay Smith, daughter of Samuel Stanhope Smith, President of Princeton University. Son of John Breckinridge.[8]
          • John Cabell Breckinridge (1821–1875) Member Kentucky House of Representatives 1849–51. U.S. Representative from Kentucky 1851–55. Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1856. Vice President of the United States 1857–61. Candidate for President of the United States 1860. United States Senator from Kentucky 1861. Confederate States Secretary of War 1865. Son of Joseph Cabell Breckinridge I.[9]
            • Joseph Cabell Breckinridge, II (1844–1906) Major in the C.S.A. Married Sallie Frances Johnson, daughter of Robert Ward Johnson in 1869. Son of Hon. John Cabell Breckinridge.[10]
              • John Cabell Breckinridge, II (1870–1941) Prominent New York attorney. Married to Isabella Goodrich (1874–1961), daughter of B.F. Goodrich. Son of Joseph Cabell Breckinridge. Grandson of John Cabell Breckinridge.[11]
                • Mary Marvin Breckinridge (1905–2002), Photojournalist, cinematographer, and philanthropist. Daughter of John Cabell Breckinridge, II and Isabella Goodrich. Great-granddaughter or John Cabell Breckinridge and granddaughter of B.F. Goodrich.
            • Clifton Rhodes Breckinridge (1846–1932), U.S. Representative from Arkansas 1883–1889 1890–1895, U.S. Minister to Russia 1894–1897, delegate to the Arkansas Constitutional Convention 1917. Married Katherine Breckinridge Carson in 1876. Son of Hon. John Cabell Breckinridge.[12]
            • John Witherspoon Owen Breckinridge (1850–1892) Member of California State Assembly 1884–85. Son of Hon. John Cabell Breckinridge. Married to Louise Tevis, daughter of Lloyd Tevis, First President of Wells Fargo Bank.[14]
              • John Cabell Breckinridge, Sr. (1879–1914) Prominent San Francisco businessman. Son of John Witherspoon Owen Breckinridge. Married Adelaide Murphy, daughter of Samuel Green Murphy, President of the First National Bank of San Francisco, California.[15]
        • Rev. John Breckinridge, D. D. (1797–1841) Born at Cabell's Dale, son of John Breckinridge. Presbyterian Minister. Graduated Princeton College 1818, Princeton Theological Seminary 1821. Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives. Married in 1823 Margaret, daughter of Rev. Samuel Miller D. D.[6]
          • Mary Cabell Breckinridge (1826–1854) Married cousin Colonel Peter A. Porter in 1852. Daughter of Rev. John Breckinridge.
          • Samuel Miller Breckinridge (1828–1891) Member of Missouri legislature 1854–1855. Became Circuit Court judge in 1859. Elder in the Presbyterian Church and a leading member of its General Assembly. Married Virginia Harrison Castleman. Son of Rev. John Breckinridge.[16]
            • Margaret Miller Breckinridge (1851–1919) Married St. Louis, Missouri businessman William Strudwick Long. Daughter of Samuel Miller Breckinridge.[17]
              • Samuel Miller Breckinridge Long (1881–1958) lawyer and diplomat. Graduated Princeton in 1904. Advisor to Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. U.S. Ambassador to Italy 1933–36. U.S. delegate to Dumbarton Oaks Conference. Son of Margaret Miller Breckinridge and William Strudwick Long.[18]
        • Robert Jefferson Breckinridge (1800–1871), Kentucky State Representative 1825–1828, Kentucky Superintendent of Public Instruction 1849–1853, candidate for delegate to the Kentucky Constitutional Convention 1849. Son of John Breckinridge. Married Ann Sophonisba Preston in 1823.[19]
        • Rev. William Lewis Breckinridge, D. D. (1803–1876) Born at Cabell's Dale, Fayette County, Kentucky. Presbyterian minister for 45 years. Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Council. Son of John Breckinridge. Married Frances Prevost in 1823, Granddaughter of President Samuel Stanhope Smith of Princeton University.[30]
      • Francis Preston (1765–1736), Virginia House Delegate 1788–1789 1812–1814, U.S. Representative from Virginia 1793–1797, Virginia State Senator 1816–1820. Cousin of John Brown, John Breckinridge, and James Breckinridge, Grandson of Robert Preston.[31]
        • William Campbell Preston (1794–1860), South Carolina State Representative 1828–1834, U.S. Senator from South Carolina 1833–1842. Son of Francis Preston.[32]
        • William Ballard Preston (1805–1862), Virginia House Delegate 1830–1832 1844–1845, Virginia State Senator 1840–1844, U.S. Representative from Virginia 1847–1849, U.S. Secretary of War 1849–1850, Delegate to the Confederate States Congress from Virginia 1861–1862, Confederate States Senator from Virginia 1862. Nephew of Francis Preston.[33]
        • William Preston (1816–1887), delegate to the Kentucky Constitutional Convention 1849, Kentucky State Representative 1850 1868–1869, Kentucky State Senator 1851–1853, U.S. Representative from Kentucky 1852–1855, delegate to the Democratic National Convention 1856, U.S. Minister to Spain 1859–1861. Nephew of Francis Preston.[34]
      • John Brown (1757–1837), Virginia State Senator 1784–1788, Delegate to the Continental Congress from Virginia 1787–1788, U.S. Representative from Virginia 1789–1792, U.S. Senator from Kentucky 1792–1805. Brother of James Brown, Cousin of John Breckinridge, James Breckinridge, and Francis Preston.[35]
          • B. Gratz Brown (1826–1885), Missouri State Representative 1852–1858, delegate to the Republican National Convention 1860, U.S. Senator from Missouri 1863–1867, Governor of Missouri 1871–1873, candidate for Vice President of the United States 1872. Grandson of John Brown.[36]
      • James Brown (1766–1835), U.S. District Attorney in Kentucky 1791, Kentucky Secretary of State 1792–1798, Secretary of the Territory of Orleans 1804, U.S. District Attorney in Louisiana 1805–1808, U.S. Senator from Louisiana 1813–1817 1819–1823, U.S. Minister to France 1823–1829. Brother of John Brown, Cousin of John Breckinridge, James Breckinridge, and Francis Preston.[37]
        • Thomas H. Clay (1803–1871), U.S. Minister to Nicaragua 1863, U.S. Minister to Honduras 1863. Father-in-law of William Campbell Preston Breckinridge.[38]
      • Henry Donnel Foster (1808–1880), U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 1843–1847 1871–1873, Pennsylvania State Representative 1857, candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania 1860. Cousin of John C. Breckinridge.[39]

NOTE: Peter B. Porter was also uncle of U.S. Senator Augustus S. Porter.[40] Thomas H. Clay was also son of Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Henry Clay,[41] brother of U.S. Representative James Brown Clay,[42] third cousin of U.S. diplomat Brutus Clay,[43] fourth cousin of U.S. Senator Clement Claiborne Clay, Jr.,[44] first cousin twice removed of U.S. Representative Matthew Clay[45] and Kentucky State Senator Green Clay,[46] third cousin once removed of U.S. Senator Clement Comer Clay,[47] and second cousin once removed of Alabama State Senator Matthew Clay,[48] U.S. Representative Brutus J. Clay,[49] and U.S. diplomat Cassius M. Clay.[50]

See also


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