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The Widower Era

January 3, 2019

Andrew Jackson had enjoyed 37 years of marriage when he was first elected President in 1828.  By the time he took office on March 4, 1829 he had become a widower.  Jackson never remarried but not for lack of opportunity.  While touring New England in 1833 he even received a proposal of marriage from a complete stranger.

During Jackson’s second term his new Vice President was also a widower.  Mr. Van Buren had lost his wife back in 1819.  In the early 1820’s Senator Van Buren courted one of Jefferson’s granddaughters.  Some say he proposed and was turned down.  We really do not know for sure, but she married someone else in 1825.  By the way, Jefferson was also a widower during his two terms as President.

When Jackson left office, Van Buren became the new President.  Jackson’s two terms and Van Buren’s single term gave us a twelve year period when the White House was occupied by a widower.  During Van Buren’s post-Presidency he proposed to the daughter of his former law professor.  Although she was flattered by the offer, she informed Van Buren that, despite never having married, she intended to remain single.

William Henry Harrison served for one month.  When Harrison died, Vice President Tyler became President on April 4, 1841.  He would become a widower on September 10, 1842.  He remarried before the end of his term on June 26, 1844.

In the future other Presidents would be widowers, but the Jackson, Van Buren, and Tyler years stand out as a unique era.

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