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President for a day?

Mark Brooky • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:09 PM


Yes, it is true — sort of.

In any case, it was a very short administration.

Thomas White Ferry was president of the U.S. for one day, according to a Ripley's Believe It or Not item.

Ferry was a U.S. senator, born on Mackinac Island in 1826 but moved to Grand Haven with his family when he was 8 years old. He was elected to Congress in 1860 and served in the Senate from 1871-83.

On March 4, 1877, Ferry could be considered president because President-elect Rutherford Hayes — who was to succeed Ulysses Grant, whose term expired March 4 — refused to take the oath of office on a Sunday. Since the vice president had died and Ferry was president pro tem of the Senate, the Grand Haven man was at that time the next in line.

In his local history book, "Grand Haven in the Path of Destiny," Dr. Dave Seibold says congressional historians invalidate the idea because Ferry didn't take the oath and was never sworn into office.

Hayes took the oath and became president on March 5.

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