DEAD: William Howard Taft

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

William Howard Taft (aged 72)
27th president of the United States

William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930) was the 27th president of the United States(1909–1913) and the tenth chief justice of the United States (1921–1930), the only person to have held both offices. Taft was elected president in 1908, the chosen successor of Theodore Roosevelt, but was defeated for re-election by Woodrow Wilson in 1912after Roosevelt split the Republican vote by running as a third-party candidate. In 1921, President Warren G. Harding appointed Taft to be chief justice, a position in which he served until a month before his death.

DEATH: Taft insisted on going to Cincinnati to attend the funeral of his brother Charles, who died on December 31, 1929; the strain did not improve his own health. When the court reconvened on January 6, 1930, Taft had not returned to Washington, and two opinions were delivered by Van Devanter that Taft had drafted but had been unable to complete because of his illness. Taft went to Asheville, North Carolina, for a rest, but by the end of January, he could barely speak and was suffering from hallucinations. Taft was afraid that Stone would be made chief justice; he did not resign until he had secured assurances from Hoover that Hughes would be the choice.Returning to Washington after his resignation on February 3, Taft had barely enough strength to sign a reply to a letter of tribute from the eight associate justices. He died at his home in Washington on March 8, 1930.

Taft lay in state at the United States Capitol rotunda. Three days following his death, on March 11, he became the first president and first member of the Supreme Court to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. James Earle Fraser sculpted his grave marker out of Stony Creek granite.

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