Tags: Presidential History | martha jefferson | impact | first lady | thomas jefferson

Martha Jefferson: The Impact of Thomas Jefferson's Wife Who Never Got to Be First Lady

By    |   Thursday, 18 Jun 2015 07:21 PM

Martha Jefferson never had the chance to serve as first lady. She met, married Thomas Jefferson, and died some 18 years before he became president of the United States.

Martha was a young widow when she married the future President Thomas Jefferson. She already had one young son and later had five daughters and a son by Jefferson, the National First Ladies Library said. The couple lost a toddler child while Jefferson was governor. Though he resigned his post and pledged to leave politics, the next pregnancy was very hard on Martha’s health. She died just four months after giving birth to her seventh child in 15 years. Only two of those children survived to adulthood.

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Martha Jefferson was a capable woman, whose skills at running a plantation were particularly important, especially after she inherited the 11,000-acre spread that would become the couple’s famous Monticello plantation, according to the Monticello website. Martha was also known to have excelled in music.

Since Thomas Jefferson was a widower when he took office as the third President of the United States in 1801, he often called upon the wife of his Secretary of State, James Madison, to perform the role of White House hostess. Dolley Madison was to become one of the most well-known first ladies of the 1800s, making the role a powerful tool to help propel her own husband to the presidency, the White House website said. She was recognized for her ability to put people at ease, even in difficult political circumstances, and helped Jefferson in various capacities including presiding over the inaugural ball.

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The White House noted that Martha and Thomas Jefferson’s oldest child, Patsy, lived at the White House for a short period of time and appeared as the lady of the house. She gave birth to the first child born in the White House.

Martha Jefferson’s death brought a great deal of grief to the future president. Jefferson was widowed for nearly two decades before he became president.

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Martha Jefferson never had the chance to serve as first lady. She met, married Thomas Jefferson, and died some 18 years before he became president of the United States.
martha jefferson, impact, first lady, thomas jefferson
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2015-21-18
Thursday, 18 Jun 2015 07:21 PM
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