James Madison was born in Port Conway, Virginia.
He served as the fourth U.S.
president from 1809 to 1817.
Here are the years of Monroe's
presidency in context:
One of President Madison's major
concerns was the
War of 1812, which was fought
from 1812 to 1815.
Napoleon, who was at the height
of his game 1804-1815, made sure that Madison's foreign affairs
experts didn't fall asleep. Case in point, the
On September 15, 1794, James Madison
married the 26-years-old widow Dolley (or Dolly) Todd, nee Dolley
By her first husband, the lawyer
John Todd, Dolley had two sons,
John Payne Todd, who lived
1792-1852, and William Isaac Todd,
who was born in 1793 and died at three months old, the same day as
his father (yellow fever).
James and Dolley Madison didn't have
any children together.
From an original picture by Gilbert
in possession of Richard Cutts, Esq. M.D., Washington, D.C.
Library of Congress
Dolley not only turned out to be a real treasure in terms of
character, personality, and IQ. She also set the bar very high for
future American first ladies.
In fact, The National First Ladies'
Library tells us that,
legend, it was at Dolley Madison's funeral that incumbent
President Zachary Taylor eulogized her as "First Lady," perhaps
thus being the first known use of the title in connection with a
president's wife. No record of his eulogy is extant.
1st "First Lady" or not, in 1999 and to commemorate the 150th
anniversary of her death, Dolley became the first First Lady to be
featured on a silver dollar.
And the U.S. Mint explains why she
Dolley Madison defined the
role of our nation's First Ladies, setting the tone for
presidential spouses since.
Known for her grace and
wit, Dolley Madison served 16 years as hostess of the White
House, first during the presidency of the widowed Thomas
Jefferson, and later during the administration of her own
When the British advanced
upon Washington in 1814, Dolley Madison showed the courage for
which she would also be remembered. As the British set fire to
large parts of the nation's capital, Dolley Madison rescued
Gilbert Stuart's famous portrait of George Washington and a
number of important government papers.