First Ladies: 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 Milliard 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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Aimee Semple McPherson – II

Lead: In the early 1920s, Aimee Semple McPherson captured the hearts and imagination of millions with her unique blend of evangelism and hype.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: Aimee McPherson was an evangelist. Emerging from the corps of the Salvation Army, she embraced an ecumenical form of Pentecostalism which she called the Four Square Gospel. From 1918 her ministry was based in Los Angeles. Preaching tours took her from coast to coast, but the largest municipal auditoriums were usually incapable of holding the crowds that flocked to hear her preach and pray for the sick.

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Aimee Semple McPherson – I

Lead: In the rarefied world of media evangelists the first major megastar was a little girl from Salford, Ontario. By the 1920s few in North America could claim they had not heard of Aimee Semple McPherson.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: Aimee’s mother, Mildred Kennedy was devoted to the Salvation Army. The Army had emerged from British working-class districts and by the 1880s had combined its strict moral discipline with aggressive evangelism and its signature efforts at social action. Feeding the poor and preaching the Gospel the Salvation Army had expanded its operations to Canada and the United States.  As a child Aimee’s life was filled with endless preaching services, but as a teenager, to her parents’ alarm, she was attracted to Pentecostalism with its belief in miracles, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues and the value of presenting the message with excitement and drama. She fell in love with a boilermaker and Pentecostal preacher, Robert Semple, married and followed him as a missionary to Hong Kong. There they both contracted malaria and he died a month before the birth of their daughter. The widow returned home and donned the Salvation Army uniform.

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First Ladies: Margaret Smith Taylor

Lead: The wife of Zachary Taylor, hero of the Mexican War and 12th President of the United States, passed most of her marriage moving from one frontier army post to another. Her fifteen months in the White House were spent largely in seclusion.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born in Calvert County, Maryland, the daughter of a well-to planter and veteran of the Revolutionary War, Margaret Smith met her future husband while visiting relatives in Kentucky. They were married the following year and began the nomadic life that enveloped his nearly four decades of military service. Insisting on going with Zachary to the many wilderness stations to which he was posted, she raised her four surviving children in crude wintertime log cabins and warm weather army tents. Against their wishes, daughter Sarah eloped with young Lt. Jefferson Davis, the future President of the Confederacy. She died of malaria after only three months of marriage. Margaret’s favorite post was Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and from there she received the news of her husband’s exploits in the Mexican War.

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Belle Huntington II

Lead: Born of humble circumstances in Richmond, Arabella Yarrington Huntington in 1900 was considered by many to be the richest woman in the world.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After helping to build the first transcontinental railroad, Collis Potter Huntington went south to explore investment opportunities. During his stays at a Richmond, Virginia boardinghouse, he fell in love with the daughter of the owner who also served as barmaid, Arabella. She was thirty years his junior but a vivacious and beautiful woman. She moved to New York, became his mistress, and bore him a son in 1870.

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Belle Huntington I

Lead: One of America's foremost collectors of art as an adult expended great energy concealing her roots. Belle Huntington spent her youth as a barmaid in Shockoe Bottom.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Collis Potter Huntington was one of the founders of the Central Pacific, the West Coast link of the first Transcontinental Railroad. With the completion of that line in 1869, Huntington began to seek other outlets for his restless energy. One logical place to search was the South. Defeated and demoralized, Southerners were anxious to attract capital investment to help rebuild the region in the years following the Civil War. In 1868 Huntington came to Richmond, Virginia seeking to merge three ailing Virginia railroads into an effective southeastern network that could feed into his transcontinental lines. He secured an endorsement for the merger from Robert E. Lee and in 1870 he reorganized the Chesapeake and Ohio with himself as President..

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First Ladies: Mary Todd Lincoln II

Lead: Already the subject of much public abuse, Mary Lincoln began to come unglued with the death of the couple’s young son, William.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Not until Eleanor Roosevelt did a First Lady have to endure the carping of critics as did Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the 16th President of the United States. She was vilified as being generous, stingy, energetic, retiring, patriotic and treasonous, all at the same time. But it was the death of her middle son, Willie, which set Mary Lincoln on the path to emotional disintegration. Willie contracted typhoid fever, and died in February 1862. Both of the Lincolns were shattered, but Mary seemed close to mental collapse. She had convulsions, stayed in bed for days, and began attending séances in hopes of making contact with him.

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First Ladies: Mary Todd Lincoln I

Lead: Mary Lincoln was the first Presidential wife to be center of ill-deserved, widespread, and sometimes bitter controversy.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: When Mary came with her husband to Washington, the city was gloomy with the prospect of civil war. Lincoln’s election in November had provoked the deep South to secession. She was hopeful that she and her husband might help reduce tension, but she was disappointed. Not until Eleanor Roosevelt was a First Lady subjected to the abuse Mary Lincoln was forced to endure.

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