Tags: Presidential History | first lady | Martin Van Buren

Hannah Van Buren: The Causes That Defined President Martin Van Buren's First Lady

By    |   Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015 04:01 PM

Hannah Hoes Van Buren was the lifelong companion of the Martin Van Buren, the 8th U.S. President. Childhood sweethearts in Kinderhook, New York, and cousins once removed, they married in 1807, after the 24-year-old Van Buren established his law practice, according to History.

The New York couple had five sons, though one died in infancy, and eventually relocated to the state capital in Albany. Unfortunately, Hannah Van Buren suffered from tuberculosis, and died Feb. 5, 1819, a few months shy of her 36th birthday.

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Van Buren never remarried, leaving him a widower through his terms as New York's Governor, a U.S. Senator, Secretary of State and the 8th President of the United States, which he became in 1837, according to the National First Ladies' Library.

Angelica Singleton, a relative-by-marriage to Washington society matriarch Dolley Madison, visited the executive mansion in 1837 and caught the attention of Van Buren's eldest son, Abraham. The two married in November 1838.

She and her family moved to the White House on Jan. 1, 1839, and Angelica assumed the duties of the first lady during the second half of her father-in-law's presidency, according to The White House Historical Association. At 21, she was the youngest woman to hold the title of first lady.

Angelica Van Buren enjoyed her role and was successful at it, according to The Miller Center.

"Her teas and balls were popular with the ladies of Washington and her personality and appearance charmed even the famously prickly French minister Adolphe Fourier de Bacourt, who lavished praise on her. Most historians believe that President Van Buren truly appreciated both Angelica's company and her assistance with social duties of the presidency," The Miller Center said.

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Though empowered in high society, Angelica was careful not to spend lavishly during a time when the country was struggling economically. When she sought to re-landscape the White House lawns, Whig Party opponent Pennsylvania Charles Olge attacked with a speech called the "Gold Spoon Oration." The speech blasted the President for his luxurious lifestyle while characterizing presidential hopeful William Henry Harrison as a man of the people, according to The White House Historical Association.

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Hannah Hoes Van Buren was the lifelong companion of the Martin Van Buren, the 8th U.S. President. Childhood sweethearts in Kinderhook, New York, and cousins once removed, they married in 1807, after the 24-year-old Van Buren established his law practice.
first lady, Martin Van Buren
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2015-01-24
Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015 04:01 PM
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