Dolley Payne Todd Madison
Born: May 20, 1768 at Guilford County, North Carolina
Died: July 12, 1849 (aged 81) at Washington, D.C.
Spouse: John Todd (m. 1790 – 1793), James Madison (m. 1794 – 1836)
Children: John Payne Todd, William Madison
First Lady of the United States (1809 – 1817)
Facts about Dolley Payne Todd Madison
Dolley’s first husband and her youngest son died in August 1793 of yellow fever that broke out in Philadelphia. After her husband’s death, Dolley Madison moved back to Washington, D.C. She then sold some of her late husband’s papers to Congress and received $30,000 for them.
She served as the female co-host for the widower President Thomas Jefferson’s receptions, helping to mend any breaches in decorum that arose when dealing with foreign dignitaries.
As the British forces attacked Washington in 1814, she ordered some staff members of the White House to save a portrait of George Washington from the flames, before fleeing the city.
Even after her role as First Lady ended, Dolly was still invited to participate in very elite First Lady activities.
Upon the death of her husband, Dolley outlived him and moved back to Washington. In her return, she was actually given an honorary seat in the Congress, and what makes it more interesting is that this occurred during a time when women were not nearly treated as equal to men, unlike they are in this modern times.
Dolley Payne Todd Madison Childhood
Dolley Madison was born Dolley Payne on May 20, 1768, in the Quaker settlement of New Garden, North Carolina. Her parents had moved to New Garden in 1765 from their native Virginia. Her mother, Mary Coles, was already a Quaker when she married John Payne in 1761. Payne was admitted to the Quaker monthly meeting in Hanover County, Virginia, where he attended services with his wife and her parents until the couple relocated to New Jersey.
The Paynes soon returned to Virginia, to live near the Coleses and raise their young children. Dolley grew up at her parents’ plantation in eastern Virginia, with her four brothers and three sisters.
Although John Payne owned slaves, his Quaker faith preached against the practice. In 1783, following the American Revolution, Payne finally emancipated his slaves. Abandoning the plantation, Payne moved his family to Philadelphia, going into business as a starch merchant. He died in 1792.
Mary Payne initially supported herself by operating a boarding house. Shortly thereafter, she left Philadelphia to move in with her daughter Lucy, who had married a nephew of George Washington and was living in Virginia.
Where is Dolley Payne Todd Madison buried?
She was first buried in the Congressional Cemetery, Washington, D.C., but later was re-interred at Montpelier next to her husband.
How did Dolley Payne Todd Madison die?
She died at her home in Washington in 1849 at the age of 81.