Albert Arnold Gore, better known as Al Gore, was born on the 31st March 1948. He was the son of Al Gore Senior and his second wife Pauline LaFon. Al Gore Senior was a Democratic congressman and senator from Tennessee and the third child of Alan Arnold Gore and Margaret Denny. The Gore line came from Scottish-Irish immigrants who first settled in Virginia, and later moved to Tennessee in the mid 1700’s after the American Revolutionary War.
Al Gore junior graduated from Harvard University in 1969 and enlisted in the army, serving in the Vietnam War as a military reporter from 1969 through 1971. He then became a reporter for The Tennessean, a newspaper based in Nashville, Tennessee. While working (1971–76) for that paper, Gore also studied philosophy and law at Vanderbilt University. Following his father into politics Gore was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and in 1991 he was one of only 10 Democratic senators who voted to authorize the use of American military force against Iraq in the Persian Gulf War. In 1992 he was chosen by Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, to be his running mate, and Gore became vice president when Clinton defeated Republican incumbent George Bush in the 1992 presidential election.
Let’s look at his second wife Pauline LaFon who was also a native of Tennessee. The name is a French variant of Lafont and this might lead one to consider a French Huguenot connection. The LaFon family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most LaFon families were found in the USA in 1880 when there were 55 LaFon families living in Virginia. This was about 30% of all the recorded LaFon’s in the USA.
Pauline’s father Walter Lewis LaFon (1887-1950) born in Tennessee was a state highway employee. He married a girl called Julia Ann Müller, probably from a German Lutheran background. Pauline’s grandfather Simpson Washington LaFon (1855-1910) also born in Tennessee was a carpenter by trade and then a farmer; her great grandfather Emmanuel LaFon although born in North Carolina, by the age of 53 was farming in Tennessee where he died in 1891. His father William LaFon (1791-1871) was born in North Carolina, but died in Texas. His father Isaac LaFon (1754-1850), however, was born in Hessen, Germany and came to Pennsylvania in 1773 as an indentured servant to a Mr Byers. Within two years he had run away from his Master possibly joining the army, but probably just moving around although he did serve in the American Revolution in the Lincoln County Regiment, North Carolina. In the 1790 census he was listed as Isaac Levaun, head of a family of 4 females and 3 males under 16. Nine years later on 5 February 1789, he married Mary (Molly) Rosemond, his neighbour’s daughter. This is assumed to have been his second marriage. William, Isaac’s son, would probably have been by his first marriage. Sadly, by the 1850 census he is listed in a town called Catawba, North Carolina, aged 96, a Pauper, living in the household of an Elijah Cline, Keeper of the Poor and apparently froze to death in January 1850. He was buried in the St. John’s Lutheran Church Cemetery in Conover, North Carolina. The founders of the church were largely Pennsylvania Germans.
Why did Isaac leave Germany? In the 17th C, the lands of Germany were constantly being divided into sub territories although still under the power of the Catholic