Saturday, August 13, 2011

Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce 14th President of the United States (1853-1857)

Pierce sites that I have visited: 

Pierce Birthplace at Lake Franklin Pierce Hillsborough, NH
Pierce Boyhood and Young Adult Home at Pierce Homestead Hillsborough, NH
Pierce Home, Pierce Manse Concord, NH
Pierce Death Site Concord, NH
Gravesite at Old North Cemetery Concord, NH

Franklin Pierce birthplace, Lake Franklin Pierce, Hillsborough, NH. Somewhere under this lake is the cabin in which Franklin Pierce was born. He was only a few weeks old when his family moved to the house that is now called the Pierce Homestead.

The Pierce Homestead, Hillsborough, NH. Pierce lived here from just a few weeks old into his young adulthood.

Me at the Pierce Homestead

With a small statue of Franklin Pierce inside the visitors center at the Pierce Homestead

This house that is just down the street from the Pierce Homestead was built by Franklin's father Benjamin Pierce and lived in by Franklin's sister and her husband.

The day that we visited the Pierce Homestead, we started the day in Albany, NY. We visited and toured the Grant Cottage in Saratoga Springs, NY once they opened at 10 am. Our next stop was the Pierce Homestead, roughly 3 hours away. I really wanted to make it there in time to tour. Around the Vermont / New Hampshire border, we hit a road block, probably an accident. Our GPS's wouldn't offer any help as they kept re reouting us towards the accident. I had to stop and look at a map and figure a way around it. This all took alot of time and we arrived at the Pierce Homestead around 3:45, 15 minutes before they closed. So we obviously missed the last schedueled tour of the day. We went in and bought a couple of souveniers. Before leaving I asked, "Is there any way that we can go and look around inside the house, just for a little bit?" Reluctant the lady at the counter said that she would allow us to follow her around while she shut things up, for a donation. So I dropped a few bucks in the donation and she sent us in. The other lady running the tour was finishing up a couple of rooms with the last tour group and we got to hear that part of the tour. After everyone else left the lady tour guide was nice enough to stay over some and give us an abbreviated version of the tour for each room. Which I really appreciated!

The house itself was being built by Benjamin Pierce, Franklins father around the time of Franklin's birth. Benjamin Pierce was a Revolutionary War hero and would become Governor of New Hampshire.
The Pierce Homestead would be Franklin Pierce's primary residence until around the time he got married.  Benjamin Pierce and other members of the Pierce family are buried just down the road at a local cemetery.

Pierce family gravesite just down the street from Pierce Homestead. Franklin isn't here but his parents some siblings are

The Pierce Manse in Concord, NH. The Pierce's lived here for several years in the 1840's.

The Pierce Manse was originally somewhere in downtown Concord. It was moved out of downtown to a location just a couple blocks away from the cemetery in which Franklin and his family is buried. On my first trip to New Hampshire in September 2009, we stopped by the Pierce Manse and found them to be closed. Also on that trip we visited Pierce's gravesite. On our return trip in September 2013 we added the Pierce sites in Hillsborough (Birthplace under the lake, Pierce Homestead, and parents gravesite), as well as some sites in Concord (death site and statue at the State Capital Building).
Pierce's home 'Pierce Manse' in Concord, NH

My wife, Khloe and I at the Pierce Manse in September 2009

I doubt it's a coincedence that Pierce was the 14th President and there is a 14 on the door

Me with the Franklin Pierce statue on the State Capital lawn in Concord, NH

This is an old photo of the Pierce Mansion in Concord, NH, not to be confused with the Pierce Manse. The Pierce Mansion was the house where Franklin Pierce spent his final years. He moved here after leaving the White House, and died here in 1869. The house was open for tours until it burnt down in 1983.

Here is the site of the Pierce Mansion today. Compared with the picture above this one, you can tell where the house sat.

This historical marker let me know I found the right spot.

The marker and I

Pierce gravesite

My little Khloe and I at the Pierce gravesite in September 2009

My return trip to Pierce's gravesite in September 2013


All 3 kids and I in August 2017

Pierce has what is probably the sadest legacy of any President as far as his personal life goes. He and Buchanan are usually towards the bottom of good to bad Presidents because of the weak positions that they took leading up to the Civil War.

He and his wife Jane had 4 sons. By the time he was elected President only one son, Benny, was still alive. On the train to Washington for the Inauguration there was a horrible accident, and Benny was decapitated right in front of his parents. He entered office unknown and generally liked. He would leave office hated by all. He lost his wife in 1863, and he lived out his final years a drunk. He died in 1869.

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