Facts and Events
William Rufus DeVane King (April 7, 1786 – April 18, 1853) was an American politician and diplomat. He was the 13th Vice President of the United States for six weeks in 1853 before his death. Earlier he had been elected as a U.S. Representative from North Carolina and a Senator from Alabama. He also served as Minister to France during the reign of King Louis Phillippe.
A Democrat, he was a Unionist and his contemporaries considered him to be a moderate on the issues of sectionalism, slavery, and westward expansion that contributed to the American Civil War. He helped draft the Compromise of 1850. He is the only United States executive official to take the oath of office on foreign soil; inaugurated in Havana, Cuba due to poor health. King died of tuberculosis after 45 days in office. With the exceptions of John Tyler and Andrew Johnson—both of whom succeeded to the Presidency—he is the shortest-serving Vice President.
King was the only Vice President from the State of Alabama and held the highest political office of any Alabamian in American history. He was the third vice-president to die in office.
King never married and does not seem to have any known children.