January 12th, 2017

book cover - rtfl

First Lady Ellen Arthur

On this date in 1880, Ellen "Nell" Herndon Arthur died of pneumonia. Born in August 1837, she had married Chester Arthur in 1859. In November of 1880, Chester was elected Vice President on James Garfield's ticket, and he succeeded to the Presidency in September 1881. Nell followed Martha Jefferson, Hannah Van Buren, and Rachel Jackson as women who died before their husbands became President. Chester Arthur was the last widower President to serve his entire term without a wife.
book cover - rtvp

Vice Presidential wedding anniversary: the Gerrys

On this date in 1786, 23-year-old Ann Thompson married 42-year-old Elbridge Gerry, who had recently been serving in the Confederation Congress representing Massachusetts. By 1801, the Gerrys had ten children (nine of whom survived to adulthood). In 1810, Elbrdige became the 9th Governor of Massachusetts, and in 1812, he was elected the fifth Vice President. Ann, however, was only the second woman to serve as Second Lady (Gerry's predecessors Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, and George Clinton had all been widowers). The Gerrys remained together until Elbridge's death in office in November 1814; Ann survived until 1849.