February 13th, 2017

book cover - tpbol

Cabinet: John Aaron Rawlins

On this date in 1831, John Aaron Rawlins was born in Galena, Illinois. He was admitted to the bar at the age of 23, and when the Civil War broke out, he joined up, serving in the Union Army as an aide to his friend, Ulysses Grant. He finished the war as a brigadier general. When Grant was elected President, he appointed Rawlins the 29th Secretary of War. But Rawlins' tenure was to be brief: he served just under six months, and died in office on September 6, 1869, at the age of 38 years 159 days. Of more than 630 Cabinet Secretaries in US history, Rawlins died the youngest.
book cover - rtfl

First Lady Bess Truman

On this date in 1885, Elizabeth "Bess" Virginia Wallace was born in Independence, Missouri. She met Harry Truman when they were both attending Sunday School. He proposed in 1918, and they married in June 1919. Their only child, Margaret, was born five years later. In 1944, Harry was elected Vice President, and barely three months into his term, Franklin Roosevelt died, moving the Trumans into the White House. They didn't, however, live their entire nearly-eight-year term in the White House, but moved out for almost four years of reconstruction. After retiring from the Presidency, Harry lived another fourteen years. Bess outlived him by quite a piece: she died on October 18, 1982, aged 97 years 247 days, the longest-lived of all First Ladies.