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EllenArthur

Continuing with the First Ladies theme- Here is Ellen Arthur (1837-1880) wife of the 21st President, Chester A. Arthur I.

Ellen was born into a very prominent Southern family- her father a renowned Naval Officer, William Lewis Herndon, went down with his ship in 1857. It was the largest loss of life in a commercial shipping disaster. Herndon managed to safely evacuate over 150 women and children- but went down with 400 passengers and crew.

Ellen (or as they called her- Nell) married Chester on October 25th, 1859 in New York City. For the most part, their marriage was a good one- they had two sons and a daughter- but the marriage was somewhat strained by political turmoil and her sympathies towards the Confederacy.

She died from Pneumonia on January 12, 1880- a year before her husband was sworn into office. Arthur’s sister Mary McElroy served as the unofficial First Lady and helped raise the children.

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