Wednesday, August 10, 2011

James Madison

James Madison 4th President of the United States (1809-1817)

Madison sites that I have visited:

Madison birthplace marker Port Royal, VA

Todd House Philadelphia, PA

Madison home 'Montpelier' and gravesite Orange, VA
Octagon Museum (temporary White House) Washington DC

Its always unfortunate when all that's left of a president's birthplace is a historical marker

   Dolly Payne Todd lived in this house with her first husband John from 1791 to 1793. Yellow fever swept Philadelphia in 1793 and killed Dolly's husband John and young son. The following year the young widow married congressman James Madison. The rest as they say is history

The Octagon in Washington DC is where Madison lived after the British burnt the White House during the war of 1812. So for a while it served as the executive mansion

Madison's Montpelier plantation house

I have visited Montpelier on 3 Family vacations. First in 1998, second in 2010, and third in 2016. In between the first 2 visits there was a considerable amount of work done. Years after the Madisons died, the Dupont family bought the property. They added 20,000 square feet to the house and painted the house with a pinkish stucko. After the last Dupont who owened it died in the 1980's, the house was given to a historical society. The 20,000 square feet that the Duponts added were removed, as was the stucko, which preserved the red brick underneath.

At the time of our 2010 visit they had completed the restoration of the house, and were starting to find original Madison furniture and period pieces to fill the fouse with. So for the most part the house is empty.

Khloe and I observe James and Dolley reading a book

Backporch of Montpelier
This structure stands on top of the Madisons ice box at Montpelier

Me at Madison's gravesite at Montpelier in June 2010

Back at Madison's grave with my kids in July 2016

During the War of 1812, Washington DC was invaded by the British. The U. S. Capital and White House were both set on fire. At the time Washington was little more than a small town / swamp. After the fire, many in Washington wanted to move the Capital city back to Philadelphia, where the city and buildings were well established. Dolley Madison fought hard to keep the Capital in Washington and she obviously won. Until the White House could be repaired, the Madisons lived here at the Octagon. Madison ratified the Treaty of Ghent here on Febuary 17, 1815, which ended the War of 1812.

Madison is often called the Father of the U. S. Constitution. Along with his 3 predecessors, he was very important in the founding of our nation.

Madison died at his Montpelier home in 1836.

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