Wife of John Hay: President Abraham Lincoln's Secretary

On the shores of Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire, John and Clara Stone Hay sought refuge from public life, and in 1888 they began acquiring abandoned farms that would eventually total nearly 1000 acres. In 1889 John and Clara hired architect George F. Hammond who designed a summerhouse in the style of the time with gambrel roof and a long open porch. They named it The Fells, a British term for a rocky …Read More...

Wife of Secretary of State William Seward

Frances Adeline Miller was born in 1805, the daughter of Judge Elijah Miller and Hannah Foote Miller, and lived most of her life in Auburn, New York. Raised as a Quaker, her father taught her slavery was wrong. This belief became stronger as she grew up.

Frances studied at the Troy Female Seminary, which was founded by Emma Willard in 1814 in Vermont in an attempt to further the education of women. She …Read More...

Wife of Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin

Judah Benjamin took a job teaching English to Natalie St. Martin, daughter of a prominent Creole family, so that he could learn French from her. And a love affair developed between the two. They were married in 1833 and lived on a sugar plantation and an elegant townhouse on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

Judah Philip Benjamin was born a British subject on St. Thomas, British West Indies, Aug. 11, 1811. …Read More...

Wife of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton

Edwin McMasters Stanton was born December 19, 1814, in Steubenville, Ohio, the eldest of the four children of David and Lucy Norman Stanton. He had six brothers and sisters. Beginning in childhood, Edwin suffered from asthma throughout his life. His father was a Quaker physician, and after he died in 1827, Edwin worked in a book store for five years thereafter to help support his family.

Image: Union Secretary of War Edwin M. …Read More...

Wife of Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas

Adele Cutts was a famous Washington beauty who became the loyal and valuable second wife of senator Stephen A. Douglas. She was at his side during the debates with Abraham Lincoln in Illinois and through the presidential campaign that followed in 1860.

Rose Adele Cutts was born in Washington, DC, in December 1835. Her father, James Madison Cutts, was a nephew of First Lady Dolley Madison. Her mother, Eleanora Elizabeth O'Neale, came from …Read More...

First Lady of the Confederate States of America

Varina Davis was the wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis during the Civil War, and she lived at the Confederate White House in Richmond, Virginia during his term. After the war she became a writer, completing her husband's memoir, and writing articles and eventually a regular column for Joseph Pulitzer's newspaper, the New York World.

Image: Varina Davis in 1849
By John Wood Dodge

Varina Howell was born on May 7, …Read More...