Dolley Madison - Miscellaneous, Life Achievements and Facts

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Dolley Madison's Personal Details

Dolley Madison was the wife of James Madison, the President of the United States from 1809 to 1817.

InformationDetail
BirthdayMay 20, 1768
Died onJuly 12, 1849
NationalityAmerican
FamousHumanitarian, Democrats, Miscellaneous, First Ladies
IdeologiesDemocrats
Nick namesDolly
SpousesJames Madison 1794-1836, John Todd 1790-1793
SiblingsLucy Washington
Known asDolley Payne Todd Madison
Childrens John Payne Todd, William Temple Todd
Birth PlaceGuilford County
GenderFemale
FatherJohn Payne Jr.
MotherMary Coles Payne
Sun SignTaurus
Born inGuilford County
Died at Age81

// Famous Humanitarian

Dolley Madison's photo

Who is Dolley Madison?

Dolley Madison was one of the most important women of her time in the social circles of America. Born in a strict disciplinarian Quaker family as Dolley Payne, she was one of the eight children in the family. Ever since a young age, she was known for her stunning good looks, gracious mannerism and happy personality. Due to this, she gained a lot of attention in the society. The early tragedies in her life did not hamper as she eventually got married to James Madison who went on to first serve as the Secretary of State under Jefferson’s Presidency and later as the President of United States. During her time at the White House, she was noted for her social gifts, which boosted her husband’s popularity as President, thus making her the first “First Lady” to play a dominant and defining role. She established the idea that the First Lady should serve as the Mother of the Nation, a notion which she believed into and worked upon till date. She served as hostess of the White House by hosting social functions and establishing the chief role of the First Lady. However, in the aftermath of her husband Madison’s death, she lived a life of poverty which was partially relieved by the sale of her late husband’s papers.

// Famous Democrats

Childhood & Early Life

Dolley Madison was born as Dolley Payne to John Payne Jr and Mary Coles Payne in New Garden, North Carolina. While her mother was a Quaker, her father was a non-Quaker. However, young Payne was raised in the Quaker faith.

One of the eight children born to the couple, she spent most of her childhood in Virginia, near her mother’s family where the couple along with their children shifted when she was merely a year old. She spent her growing years at the comfort of her parents’ plantation in rural eastern Virginia.

Her father owned slaves, which was against the Quaker faith which he had eventually adopted. As such, following the American Revolutionary War in 1783, he unfettered all his slaves.

The family relocated to Philadelphia where her father started off a business, which eventually failed. Despite being raised in a strict disciplinarian society, she had a bustling and happy personality with a warm heart.

Later Life

She faced tragedy early in life, with the death of her first husband and second child in 1793. However, she did not let the emotional turmoil disrupt her usual happy personality and as such became famous in Philadelphia as a young, attractive and charming widow.

No sooner she caught the attention of Congressman, James Madison, who was bowled over her charming self and proposed marriage to her. The two eventually tied the knot in 1794. The marriage led her to give up on her Quaker faith as he was a non-Quaker and belonged to the Episcopalian background.

Post marriage, Madison retired from politics in 1797 after eight years of being in the House of Representatives. However, the hiatus taken from politics did not last long as in 1800, after the appointment of Thomas Jefferson as the third President of the United States, he was called upon to chair the position of Secretary of State under latter’s presidency.

The family relocated to Washington, where her husband served as the Secretary of State and she served as the de facto hostess at state dinners. Since Jefferson was a widower, she served as his First Lady in official functions during his Presidency.

Additionally, she contributed in the beautification and development of the white House, the official residence of the United States’ President. She worked closely with architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe in the process.

In the 1808 Presidential elections, Madison was chosen as the democratic candidate. He was eventually elected and held the position for two terms from 1809 to 1812 and 1812 to 1817. During this time, she officially became the First Lady.

In 1809, she hosted the first party which was to be called the inaugural ball and henceforth took charge of her husband’s social calendar. In the social circle, she was much popular for her grace and hospitality which contributed to Madison’s popularity in general.

It was due to her gracious and polite mannerism that helped smoothen the most difficult of situations. She was known to welcome everyone with a warm heart, whether they were hostile statesmen, difficult envoys or warrior chiefs.

The year 1814 was a significant one in her life. With the staff of white House preparing to flee due to the invading British, she ordered the White House staff to save the portrait of George Washington from flames. For the act of preserving the painting, she became a national hero.

She fled to Georgetown and later crossed the Potomac to move to Virginia. It was only after the danger receded with the British leaving Washington that she returned to the capital to reunite with Madison.

Post Madison’s retirement as the President of the United States, the couple returned to the Montpelier plantation in Orange County, Virginia in April 1817. They remained therein until Madison’s death in 1836.

Payne Todd, her son from first marriage, went to debtors’ jail in 1830. He had weakened their financial status as he not only mishandled his own affairs but also the Madison estate. The Madisons sold land in Kentucky and mortgaged half of the Montpelier plantation to pay his debts.

Following her husband’s death, she spent much of her time organizing and copying his papers. Congress authorized $55,000 as payment for editing and publishing seven volumes of the Madison papers, including his unique notes on the 1787 convention

She moved to Washington leaving the property of Montpelier and the plantation under Todd’s supervision. However, the latter’s addiction to alcohol and illness left him unfit for the task.

To overcome the financial distress, she tried again to sell the President’s papers but did not get any buyers. Thereafter, she sold Montpelier, its remaining slaves, and the furnishings to pay off outstanding debts.

Personal Life & Legacy

She first went into the wedlock with John Todd, a lawyer by profession belonging to the Quaker faith, in January 1790 in Philadelphia. The couple was blessed with two sons, John Payne and William Temple.

Tragedy struck her life when yellow fever epidemic broke out in Philadelphia in 1793 - that took more than 5000 lives - killed her husband and younger son.

Distraught by the incident which had left her a helpless widow at the age of twenty-five with a son to support, she took to residing at a rooming house where Aaron Burr, a friend and fellow student of James Madison resided.

Aaron Burr introduced the two. They got off well since the first meeting despite the huge age difference, with Madison being 17 years senior to Payne. The friendship eventually led to a period of courtship which was followed by marriage in September 1794. The couple did not have any children.

She breathed her last in 1849 at her home in Washington at the age of 81. She was buried in the Congressional Cemetery, Washington, D.C., but later was re-interred at Montpelier next to her husband

Trivia

She was the first ‘First Lady’ to establish the idea that a First Lady should serve as the mother of the nation.

// Famous Miscellaneous

Dolley Madison biography timelines

  • // 20th May 1768
    Dolley Madison was born as Dolley Payne to John Payne Jr and Mary Coles Payne in New Garden, North Carolina. While her mother was a Quaker, her father was a non-Quaker. However, young Payne was raised in the Quaker faith.
  • // 1783
    Her father owned slaves, which was against the Quaker faith which he had eventually adopted. As such, following the American Revolutionary War in 1783, he unfettered all his slaves.
  • // 1787
    Following her husband’s death, she spent much of her time organizing and copying his papers. Congress authorized $55,000 as payment for editing and publishing seven volumes of the Madison papers, including his unique notes on the 1787 convention
  • // Jan 1790
    She first went into the wedlock with John Todd, a lawyer by profession belonging to the Quaker faith, in January 1790 in Philadelphia. The couple was blessed with two sons, John Payne and William Temple.
  • // 1793
    She faced tragedy early in life, with the death of her first husband and second child in 1793. However, she did not let the emotional turmoil disrupt her usual happy personality and as such became famous in Philadelphia as a young, attractive and charming widow.
  • // 1793
    Tragedy struck her life when yellow fever epidemic broke out in Philadelphia in 1793 - that took more than 5000 lives - killed her husband and younger son.
  • // 1794
    No sooner she caught the attention of Congressman, James Madison, who was bowled over her charming self and proposed marriage to her. The two eventually tied the knot in 1794. The marriage led her to give up on her Quaker faith as he was a non-Quaker and belonged to the Episcopalian background.
  • // Sep 1794
    Aaron Burr introduced the two. They got off well since the first meeting despite the huge age difference, with Madison being 17 years senior to Payne. The friendship eventually led to a period of courtship which was followed by marriage in September 1794. The couple did not have any children.
  • // 1797 To 1800
    Post marriage, Madison retired from politics in 1797 after eight years of being in the House of Representatives. However, the hiatus taken from politics did not last long as in 1800, after the appointment of Thomas Jefferson as the third President of the United States, he was called upon to chair the position of Secretary of State under latter’s presidency.
  • // 1808 To 1817
    In the 1808 Presidential elections, Madison was chosen as the democratic candidate. He was eventually elected and held the position for two terms from 1809 to 1812 and 1812 to 1817. During this time, she officially became the First Lady.
  • // 1809
    In 1809, she hosted the first party which was to be called the inaugural ball and henceforth took charge of her husband’s social calendar. In the social circle, she was much popular for her grace and hospitality which contributed to Madison’s popularity in general.
  • // 1814
    The year 1814 was a significant one in her life. With the staff of white House preparing to flee due to the invading British, she ordered the White House staff to save the portrait of George Washington from flames. For the act of preserving the painting, she became a national hero.
  • // Apr 1817 To 1836
    Post Madison’s retirement as the President of the United States, the couple returned to the Montpelier plantation in Orange County, Virginia in April 1817. They remained therein until Madison’s death in 1836.
  • // 1830
    Payne Todd, her son from first marriage, went to debtors’ jail in 1830. He had weakened their financial status as he not only mishandled his own affairs but also the Madison estate. The Madisons sold land in Kentucky and mortgaged half of the Montpelier plantation to pay his debts.
  • // 12th Jul 1849
    She breathed her last in 1849 at her home in Washington at the age of 81. She was buried in the Congressional Cemetery, Washington, D.C., but later was re-interred at Montpelier next to her husband

// Famous First Ladies

Dolley Madison's FAQ

  • What is Dolley Madison birthday?

    Dolley Madison was born at 1768-05-20

  • When was Dolley Madison died?

    Dolley Madison was died at 1849-07-12

  • Where was Dolley Madison died?

    Dolley Madison was died in Washington D.C.

  • Which age was Dolley Madison died?

    Dolley Madison was died at age 81

  • Where is Dolley Madison's birth place?

    Dolley Madison was born in Guilford County

  • What is Dolley Madison nationalities?

    Dolley Madison's nationalities is American

  • What is Dolley Madison ideologies?

    Dolley Madison's ideologies is Democrats

  • What is Dolley Madison nick names?

    Dolley Madison's nickNames is Dolly

  • Who is Dolley Madison spouses?

    Dolley Madison's spouses is James Madison 1794-1836, John Todd 1790-1793

  • Who is Dolley Madison siblings?

    Dolley Madison's siblings is Lucy Washington

  • Who is Dolley Madison childrens?

    Dolley Madison's childrens is John Payne Todd, William Temple Todd

  • Who is Dolley Madison's father?

    Dolley Madison's father is John Payne Jr.

  • Who is Dolley Madison's mother?

    Dolley Madison's mother is Mary Coles Payne

  • What is Dolley Madison's sun sign?

    Dolley Madison is Taurus