BlogHolidays February 21, 2022

The Mother State of Presidents: Virginia!

The Mother State of Presidents: Virginia!

Historically, Virginia has been the most common birthplace of U.S. presidents, with eight in total; although seven of these were born in the 1700s, and Woodrow Wilson is the most recent Virginian to have been elected president, in 1912.

Depending on how you calculate things, several different states can lay claim to producing the most commanders in chief. Going by birthplace, Virginia is the winner, with eight of its native sons holding the country’s highest office (including four of the first five presidents): George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson.

Virginia Is The Mother Of Presidents

As the first, largest and most prosperous of the British colonies in America, Virginia provided four of the first five presidents of the United States — eight in all, more than any other state.

Enjoy a trip to any historic home, church, tavern or other building frequented by a president and you’ll gain important insight into the character of these early American leaders:

George Washington

Our Nation’s First President (1789-1797)

Birthplace: Wakefield in Westmoreland County on February 22, 1732, now site of the George Washington Birthplace

National Monument

Childhood Home: Ferry Farm in Stafford County from age 6 to 22

Home: Mount Vernon

Died: December 14, 1799 at Mount Vernon

Burial: Mount Vernon

Married: Martha Dandridge Custis

Was a master surveyor, a journey he began at age 16.

President of the Constitutional Convention.

Owned and operated a commercial distillery, producing almost 11,000 gallons of whiskey in 1799.

Signed into law the first copyright law, the Copyright Act of 1790.

Was an honorary citizen of France, received in 1792

Thomas Jefferson

Our Nation’s Third President (1801-1809)

Birthplace: Albemarle County on April 13, 1743

Childhood Home: Lived at Tuckahoe Plantation in Richmond from age 2 to 9

Home: Monticello

Second Home: Poplar Forest

Died:  July 4, 1826 in Charlottesville

Burial:  Monticello

Married:  Martha Wayles

Wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Father of the University of Virginia and served as its first president at age 81.

Was an archaeologist, architect, wine aficionado and somewhat of a founding foodie.

Kept two vineyards at Monticello.

Doubled the size of America through the Louisiana Purchase.

James Madison

Our Nation’s Fourth President (1809-1817)

Birthplace: Belle Grove Plantation in King George on March 16, 1751

Home: Montpelier

Died: June 28, 1836 in Montpelier Station, VA

Burial: Montpelier

Married: Dolley Payne Todd

Father of the Constitution.

Wrote the Bill of Rights.

Last living signer of the Constitution.

First President to have an Inaugural Ball.

He was considered to be the shortest president at 5’4”.

Was Princeton University’s first graduate student.

James Monroe and Robert R. Livingston conducted the negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase in Paris.

His portrait adorned the $5,000 bill that was in circulation until 1946.

James Monroe

Our Nation’s Fifth President (1817-1825)

Birthplace: Westmoreland County on April 28, 1758

Home: Highland

Died:  July 4, 1831 in New York

Burial: Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond

Married: Elizabeth Jane Kortright

Oversaw the acquisition of the Florida territories.

His first presidential term was coined the “Era of Good Feelings.”

Was a law apprentice for Thomas Jefferson.

Was the first, and only, person in history to hold two cabinet positions at once: Secretary of State and Secretary of War under President James Madison.

The last of the Founding Fathers to serve as a president.

The only president, aside from Washington, to run unopposed.

William Henry Harrison

Our Nation’s Ninth President (1841)

Birthplace: Berkeley Plantation in Charles City County on February 9, 1773

Died: April 4, 1841 in Washington, D.C.

Married: Anna Elizabeth Symmes

His inauguration speech is the longest to date.

His tenure as president lasted 33 days but had great impact. He had the shortest presidency in U.S. history. He was also the first U.S president to die in office, and a brief constitutional crisis resulted as presidential succession was not then fully defined in the United States Constitution. Harrison was the last president born as a British subject in the Thirteen Colonies and was the paternal grandfather of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president of the United States.

His death: On Wednesday, March 24, 1841, Harrison took his daily morning walk to local markets, without a coat or hat. Despite being caught in a sudden rainstorm, he did not change his wet clothes upon return to the White House. On Friday, March 26, Harrison became ill with cold-like symptoms and sent for his doctor, Thomas Miller, though he told the doctor he felt better after having taken medication for “fatigue and mental anxiety. The next day, Saturday, the doctor was called again, and arrived to find Harrison in bed with a “severe chill,” after taking another early morning walk. Miller applied mustard plaster to his stomach and gave him a mild laxative, and he felt better that afternoon. At 4:00 a.m. Sunday, March 28, Harrison developed severe pain in the side and the doctor initiated bloodletting; the procedure was terminated when there was a drop in his pulse rate. Miller also applied heated cups to the president’s skin to enhance blood flow. The doctor then gave him castor oil and medicines to induce vomiting, and diagnosed him with pneumonia in the right lung. A team of doctors was called in Monday, March 29, and they confirmed right lower lobe pneumonia. Harrison was then administered laudanum, opium, and camphor, along with wine and brandy.

His father, Benjamin Harrison V, signed the Declaration of Independence and served three terms as governor of Virginia. His grandson, Benjamin Harrison, would become the 23rd President of the U.S.

John Tyler

Our Nation’s 10th President (1841-1845)

Birthplace: Greenway in Charles City County on March 29, 1790

Home: Sherwood Forest

Died: January 18, 1862 in Richmond, VA

Burial: Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond

Married: Letitia Christian, Julia Gardiner

Set the standard for presidential succession after the death of William Henry Harrison.

Was nicknamed “His Accidency.”

Largely responsible for the annexation of Texas.

Was the Chancellor of the College of William and Mary.

Was friend and college roommate of Thomas Jefferson

Zachary Taylor

Our Nation’s 12th President (1849-1850)

Birthplace: Montebello in Orange County, VA on November 24, 1784

Died: July 9, 1850 in Washington, D.C.

Married: Margaret Mackall Smith

Never attended college.

Was a career military officer for 40 years (1808-1848) before becoming president.

The Whig Party nominated him to be president without his knowledge, sending him notification without paying for postage. He refused to pay the postage and did not find out about the nomination for weeks.

Directly descended from pilgrims who arrived aboard the Mayflower in 1620.

Woodrow Wilson

Our Nation’s 28th President (1913-1921)

Birthplace: Staunton, VA on December 28, 1856, now site of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum

Died: February 23, 1924 in Washington, D.C.

Married: Ellen Axson, Edith Bolling

Was the first president to receive a PhD, which he got in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University.

Created the Fourteen Points, one of which called for the creation of a worldwide association of nations that would later become the League of Nations in the Treaty of Versailles.

Won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919.