First Ladies: Ida Saxon McKinley

Lead: Despite convulsion associated with epilepsy, Ida Saxon McKinley regularly performed the duties of First Lady.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: Ida Saxon met young attorney William McKinley at a church picnic and they were married in Canton, Ohio in 1871. The first two years of their marriage were idyllic, punctuated by the birth of their first child Katie, but thereafter the couple began long years of sadness. Complications from the birth of their second child, who died after only five months, led to a deterioration of Mrs. McKinley's health. Phlebitis left her partly crippled and brain damage led to a lifelong battle with a variety of epileptic seizures. When Katie died in 1876, Ida lapsed into periodic bouts of depression from which she emerged only after McKinley began his political career. His intense devotion to her impressed their friends, but his advisers sometime resented the time he spent nursing her.

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First Ladies: Anna Harrison

Lead: The wife of one President and grandmother of another, Anna Harrison never entered the White House as First Lady.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When she was informed that her husband, William Henry Harrison had been elected President Anna Harrison was not particularly happy. "I wish that my husband's friends had left him where he is, happy and contented in retirement." Sick at the time of the inauguration, she declined the trip preferring to wait for the milder weather of the Washington springtime. Just after the President was sworn in he caught a respiratory infection and died of pneumonia. Until Ronald Reagan, Harrison at 68 was the oldest man to become President and his wife was the oldest First Lady. In many ways her life was similar to Rachel Jackson. Both of them shared their husbands with the nomadic life of the military, both aspired to national political office and both found comfort in their long stretches of loneliness in religious faith as devout Presbyterians.

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Abigail Fillmore

Lead:  Well-read and cultured, Abigail Fillmore maintained a well-tuned political sense in an otherwise lackluster administration.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: When Abigail Power’s preacher father died in 1799, her mother migrated to Cayuga County, then on the New York frontier. Mrs. Powers took responsibility for the education of the children and so well did she did do her job that by the time she was nineteen Abigail was teaching in a country school near Sempronius, New York. In the winter of 1818, she looked up from her desk into the bright, inquiring eyes of a big farm boy who had appeared in her classroom with little notice. The eighteen-year-old was ambitious to become a lawyer and Abigail responded to his enthusiasm. His name was Millard Fillmore and after an eight-year courtship, much of the time spent apart as he was reading for the bar, they began a twenty-seven year marriage.

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First Ladies: Louisa Catherine Adams

Lead:  Mrs. John Quincy Adams hated the idea of living in the White House. She thought it would be a prison. It turned out to be a disaster.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: For most of their married life John Quincy and Louisa Adams did not get along. She was sensitive and impulsive, he was stern, dogmatic and demanding. It was an era in which New England wives were expected to be loyal, devoted homemakers living in the shadow of their husbands. He may have been from New England, she was not. Born in London in 1775 the daughter of a prosperous American overseas merchant, Louisa Johnson grew into an elegant and sophisticated young lady able to move in the highest circles of continental society. There she met the young American envoy to the Netherlands, John Quincy Adams, son of the second President of the United States.

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First Ladies: Elizabeth Monroe

Lead:  Mrs. James Monroe stepped out of her carriage into the streets of Revolutionary Paris. She approached the entrance of the prison and asked to see Madame Lafayette. Her visit probably saved the prisoner's life.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Elizabeth Kortright Monroe was the daughter of a prosperous New York merchant of Tory sympathies. She early acquired the poise and self-confidence of one who grows up with assured social prominence. When she met and married the ambitious young Virginia lawyer in 1786, some of her socialite friends gave her grief. They thought she could have done better. Actually, she did right well as the wife of a U.S. Senator, Governor of Virginia, Ambassador to France and England, and Secretary of State. By the time they moved into the White House in 1717, Mrs. Monroe had passed through the highest political and social circles on both continents.

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First Ladies: Dolley Madison II

Lead:  With the British Army at the gates of Washington, the President's wife refused to flee.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: From the time she married James Madison, Dolley Payne Todd was a major player in the social life of the nation and an important political asset to her husband. During the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson, she served as unofficial hostess to the widowed Chief Executive providing an elegant simplicity to White House functions consistent with Jefferson's ideas of republican equality.

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First Ladies: Dolley Madison I

Lead:  For nearly five decades Mrs. James Madison, Dolley, was the center of social life in the nation's capital.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born in North Carolina to Quaker parents Dorothea Payne was raised in the simple manner common to that faith, taught to dress plainly, behave in a retiring manner, and shun a life of luxury and display. It is said her younger brother William began calling her Dolley and the name stuck.

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First Ladies – Martha Jefferson

Lead:  The wife of Thomas Jefferson never served as first lady.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Martha Wayles Skelton was a wealthy young widow in 1770 when the tall gangly red-haired Thomas Jefferson began the courtship that would lead to their marriage. She played the harpsichord, he the violin and this mutual love of music brought them closer as the months passed. After their wedding on New Year's Day in 1772 they left her home near Williamsburg, Virginia traveling by carriage the 100 miles to Monticello. On the way a powerful snowstorm forced them to switch to horseback having o negotiate drifts sometimes 18 inches deep. They came to the all-but-deserted house after the servants had gone to bed. Later both would remember the "horrible dreariness of such" a homecoming and the welcome relief of a half-filled bottle of wine. Martha Jefferson was home

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