Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 at 9:00am

Miss Nancy & Aunt Fancy

Posted by vicepresidents

How insulting to be a man occupying the second highest position in the land and be constantly referred to as “Miss Nancy” or “Aunt Fancy!” Yet, this was the reality of the situation for William R. King, the nation’s 13th VP, serving under Franklin Pierce from March 4th 1853 to April 18th 1853. The very nomination of King seemed very strange. After all, he was resting in Cuba after taking ill with tuberculosis. Yet, King had enjoyed tremendous popularity in the Senate — winning 11 consecutive elections, which made him second in seniority only to Henry Clay. For the only time in history, a Vice President took the oath of office on foreign soil, which was meant to merely commemorate his longstanding service to the United States. As expected, William King died just 45 days into office, and just 2 days after returning to his Chestnut Hill plantation.

Even though his vice presidency was short, fraught with illness, and uneventful, William King is remembered as a perceptive decision maker with the utmost integrity … and also, possibly, as the nation’s only gay Vice President! There is no direct evidence that William R. King was in any kind of relationship with President James Buchanan, who was also a bachelor. However, they were referred to as “Siamese twins” by many people in Congress (which was a slang for homosexuals in those days.) Also, King was the only unmarried vice president in history. King actually lived as Buchanan’s house companion for many, many years. Andrew Jackson invented the nicknames “Miss Nancy” and “Aunt Fancy” for King, while Aaron V. Brown referred to King as “Buchanan’s wife.” The only evidence that could have been salvaged were the numerous letters written back and forth between the two… which were destroyed by Buchanan and King’s nieces upon Buchanan’s election to office.


© 2010 The VEEP: Thoughts & Analysis on the Vice Presidents