January 8th, 2017

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Vice Presidential anniversary: the Calhouns

On this date in 1811, 19-year-old Floride Bonneau married 29-year-old lawyer John C. Calhoun (they were first cousins once removed). Two months earlier, he had been elected to the House of Representatives (representing South Carolina) for the first time, and he took his seat in March, leaving her in South Carolina to manage his plantation. The Calhouns had ten children over the next 18 years (three of whom died in infancy). John served in the House until 1817, when he became the 10th Secretary of War (at which point, Floride joined him in Washington). He left the Cabinet in 1825, when he became the 7th Vice President, serving until 1832 (during his Vice Presidency, the Calhouns' last two children were born). After leaving the Vice Presidency, he served in the Senate until 1843, as the 16th Secretary of State until 1845, and then back to the Senate until his death in 1850. Florida died in 1866.
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Second Lady Letitia Stevenson

On this date in 1843, Letitia Green was born in Kentucky. Her father died in 1861, and she moved with her mother to Illinois, where she met Adlai Ewing Stevenson (who was eight years older than she). They married in 1866, and had four children. When Adlai was appointed assistant Postmaster General in 1884, they moved to Washington, DC, and she became a significant figure in the women's rights movement.

In 1892, Adlai was elected the 23rd Vice President, and in 1893, Letitia was elected the second President General of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Her son, Lewis G. Stevenson (1868-1929), was Illinois's secretary of state (1914-17) and the father of Adlai Stevenson II, who was the Democratic nominee for President in 1952 and 1956. She died two weeks before her 71st birthday.
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Second Lady Jennie Hobart

On this date in 1941, Esther Jane "Jennie" Tuttle Hobart died at the age of 91. She had been the wife of Vice President Garret Hobart, who died in office in 1899.

As Second Lady, she often stepped in to serve as White House hostess because First Lady Ida McKinley suffered from epilepsy.

After Garret's death, Jennie returned to their home in New Jersey, and became involved in community affairs. She died of pneumonia while living on her son's farm, and was buried with Garret in a mausoleum that had been erected in 1902.