Family Firsts

Parent and Child

Only Mother-Son Pair to Have Served Simultaneously in Congress Representative

Frances Bolton of Ohio and her son, Representative Oliver Bolton of Ohio, served from January 3, 1953, to January 3, 1957, and January 3, 1963, to January 3, 1965.

First Father-Son Pair to Chair the Same House Committee

Former President and Massachusetts Representative John Quincy Adams chaired the Committee on Manufactures from 1831 to 1841 and again from 1843 to 1847. His son, Charles Francis Adams of Massachusetts, chaired the same committee during the 36th Congress (1859–1861). Two other father-son pairs have since chaired the same committee. 


First Set of Brothers to Serve in the House of Representatives

House Speaker Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania and John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania served simultaneously in the 1st and 3rd Congresses (1789–1791; 1793–1795).

First (and Only) Set of Three Brothers to Have Served in the House of Representatives Simultaneously

From the 34th to the 36th Congresses (1855–1861), each representing a different state: Israel Washburn Jr. of Maine, Elihu Brown Washburne of Illinois, and Cadwallader Colden Washburn of Wisconsin. The Washburns had another brother, William Drew Washburn of Minnesota, who served from the 46th to the 48th Congresses (1879-1885). The spelling of Elihu Washburne’s last name is correct—he preferred to spell it with an “e.”

First (and Only) Set of Sisters to Serve in Congress

From California, Loretta Sanchez and Linda Sánchez served simultaneously in the 108th–115th Congresses (2003–2017).


First Woman to Succeed Her Husband in the House

Mae Ella Nolan of California succeeded her late husband, John Nolan of California, in a special election for the 67th Congress on January 23, 1923.

Longest Consecutive Service by a Single Family

The Dingell Family of Michigan, with a combined service of more than 88 consecutive years between John Dingell (1933–1955) and John Dingell, Jr. (1955–2015), and Debbie Dingell (2015–Present) have the record for the longest tenure of consecutive service in House history.