Nelson Rockefeller

official photo of Nelson Rockefeller, c. 1975

Birth Name: Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller

Date of Birth: July 8, 1908

Place of Birth: Bar Harbor, Maine, U.S.

Date of Death: January 26, 1979

Place of Death: New York City, New York, U.S.

Ethnicity: English, with small amounts of Dutch, German, and Welsh

Nelson Rockefeller was an American politician, businessperson, philanthropist, and public servant. A member of the Republican Party, he served as Vice President of the United States, from December 19, 1974 to January 20, 1977. He was previously Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs, from December 20, 1944 to August 17, 1945, Under Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, from June 11, 1953 to December 22, 1954, and Governor of New York, from January 1, 1959 to December 18, 1973. He was chosen for the Vice Presidency by President Gerald Ford, after Ford himself ascended from the Vice Presidency to the Presidency.

He was a candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States in 1960, 1964, and 1968.

Vice President Rockefeller was the son of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (born Abby Greene Aldrich), a socialite and philanthropist, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (John Davison Rockefeller, Jr.), a philanthropist and businessperson. His parents were both from wealthy, prominent families. He was a sibling of Abby Rockefeller Mauzé, John D. Rockefeller III, Laurance Rockefeller, Winthrop Rockefeller, and David Rockefeller, who were also all businesspeople and philanthropists. Winthrop Rockefeller was also a prominent politician, whose name was placed in nomination for the 1968 Republican nomination for President of the United States; he was Governor of Arkansas, from January 10, 1967 to January 12, 1971.

Vice President Rockefeller was married to philanthropist Happy Rockefeller (born Margaretta Large Fitler), until his death. He had five children, including businessperson and philanthropist Rodman Rockefeller, Middlebury College dean Steven Clark Rockefeller, and the vanished Michael Rockefeller, with his former wife Mary Rockefeller (born Mary Todhunter Clark); and two children, including Mark Rockefeller, with Happy. Mary was the daughter of cricketer Percy Clark, and a granddaughter of Edward White Clark, the head of prominent Philadelphia financial firm E. W. Clark & Company; and of George Brooke Roberts, who was president of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

On his father’s side, Vice President Rockefeller was a nephew of Elizabeth Rockefeller Strong; philanthropist and socialite Alta Rockefeller Prentice; and socialite Edith Rockefeller McCormick. On his mother’s side, Vice President Rockefeller was a nephew of philanthropist and art collector Lucy Aldrich; Richard S. Aldrich, a lawyer and Republican Party politician, who was a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Rhode Island, from March 4, 1923 to March 3, 1933; and banker and financier Winthrop W. Aldrich, who was Ambassador to the U.K., from February 2, 1953 to February 1, 1957.

His ancestry was English, with small amounts of Dutch, German, and Welsh.

Vice President Rockefeller’s patrilineal line can be traced to Johann Peter Rockefeller, who was born, c. 1681, in Segendorf, Rhineland, Germany, the son of Johann Rockefeller and Elizabeth Margaretha Remagen.

Vice President Rockefeller’s paternal grandfather was John D. Rockefeller (John Davison Rockefeller, the son of William Avery Rockefeller and Eliza Davison). John was born in Richford, Tioga, New York, and co-founded the Standard Oil Company. William was the son of Godfrey Lewis Rockefeller and Lucy Avery. Eliza was the daughter of John Davison and Sytje/Sycha “Cynthia” Selover.

Vice President Rockefeller’s paternal grandmother was Laura Spelman Rockefeller (born Laura Celestia Spelman, the daughter of Harvey Buel Spelman and Lucy Henry). Laura was born in Wadsworth, Medina, Ohio, and was an abolitionist, philanthropist, and schoolteacher. Harvey was the son of Samuel Buel Spelman and Laura Seymour. Lucy was the daughter of William Henry and Rachel Frary.

Vice President Rockefeller’s maternal grandfather was Nelson W. Aldrich (Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich, the son of Anan Evans Aldrich and Abby Ann Burgess). Vice President Rockefeller’s grandfather Nelson Aldrich was born in Foster, Providence, Rhode Island, and was a prominent Republican Party politician, who was a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Rhode Island, from March 4, 1879 to October 4, 1881, and a U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, from October 5, 1881 to March 3, 1911. Vice President Rockefeller’s great-grandfather Anan was the son of Job Aldrich and Jane Jones. Vice President Rockefeller’s great-grandmother Abby was the daughter of Gideon Burgess and Phebe/Phoebe Williams.

Vice President Rockefeller’s maternal grandmother was Abby Pearce/Pierce Truman Chapman (the daughter of Francis Morgan Chapman and Lucy Anne Truman). Abigail was born in Connecticut. Francis was the son of Amos Chapman and Amy/Amey Morgan. Lucy was the daughter of Jonathan Truman and Mary Willett/Willet.

Vice President Rockefeller was a first cousin, twice removed, of actor Matthew Maher. Vice President Rockefeller’s maternal grandparents, Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich and Abby Pearce/Pierce Truman Chapman, were also Matthew’s maternal great-great-grandparents.

Among Vice President Rockefeller’s many prominent ancestors also is William Brewster (c. 1566-1644), a Mayflower passenger and noted Pilgrim. Among many of William’s other descendants are actors Jordana Brewster, Paget Brewster, Austin Butler, Chevy Chase, Taylor Lautner, Seth MacFarlane, and Elisabeth Shue, actors and models Noah Mills and Brandon Routh, singer Buffy Sainte-Marie, soccer player Clint Dempsey, and Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld.

Sources: Genealogies of Vice President Rockefeller –

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