Dolley Madison Facts

Dolley Madison Facts
Dolley Madison was the wife of United States president James Madison, who served from 1809 to 1817. She was also the first official First Lady of the United States. She was born Dorothea Dandridge Payne on May 20, 1768 in Guilford County, North Carolina, to Mary Coles Payne and John Payne Jr. Her mother was a Quaker and her father was not but he followed the faith and they reared their children in the faith. Dorothea was given the nickname Dolley as a young child. Dolley grew up on her parent's plantation in eastern Virginia. Her father emancipated his slaves at the end of the American Revolutionary War, in 1769. In 1791 Dolley's family moved to Philadelphia but when her father's business failed he was expelled from Quaker meetings as he was seen as weak.
Interesting Dolley Madison Facts:
Dolley Madison married John Todd in 1790. He was a Quaker lawyer. They had two sons before a yellow fever epidemic killed John and their son, as well as John's mother and father.
Dolley had to sue her brother-in-law for the money left to her by her husband.
Dolley met James Madison in 1794, who was 17 years older than her and serving as Virginia's representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. James soon proposed to Dolley and she accepted.
Dolley married James Madison on September 15, 1794. They lived in Philadelphia for three years and James Madison then retired from politics.
Dolley and James moved to Orange County, Virginia, to his family plantation.
In 1800 Thomas Jefferson became the 3rd president of the United States. He asked James Madison to serve as Secretary of State. He accepted.
James Madison and Dolley, as well as her son Payne, moved to Washington, along with their domestic slaves.
Dolley Madison helped to furnish the White House while Thomas Jefferson was president.
When Jefferson's term was almost up in 1808 James Madison was nominated by the Democratic-Republican caucus.
James Madison was elected as United States president from 1809 to 1817. Dolley Madison was the first official First Lady of the United States.
Dolley was given an honorary seat on the Congress floor.
Dolley Madison was the first American and first First Lady to respond to a telegraph message.
James Madison died in 1836 and Dolley stayed at the family's plantation for a year.
Dolley's son Payne eventually went to debtor's prison for his debts as he was an alcoholic and no career. Dolley mortgaged half the plantation and sold many of her husband's notes to raise money to help pay the debts.
Dolley eventually had to sell the plantation to cover further debts by her son.
Dolley Madison and President John Tyler were aboard the USS Princeton when a canon exploded and killed several people. Dollie and the president escaped unharmed.
Dolley Madison died at the age of 81 in 1849.
The Liberty ship SS Dolley Madison was built during World War II in Dolley's honor.
A commemorative Dolley Madison silver dollar was released in 1999 in her honor.


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