Woman of the Century/Dorothy Payne Madison
MADISON, Mrs. Dorothy Payne, commonly called Dolly Madison, wife of James Madison, fourth President of the United States, born in North Carolina, 20th May, 1772, and died in Washington, D. C., 12th July, 1849. She was a granddaughter of John Payne, an Englishman, who removed from England to Virginia early in the eighteenth century. His wife was Anna Fleming, a granddaughter of Sir Thomas Fleming, one of the pioneers of Jamestown, Va. His son, the second John Payne, Dorothy's father, was married to Mary Coles, a first-cousin to Patrick Henry. Dorothy was reared as a Quaker. In 1791 she became the wife of John Todd, a lawyer of Pennsylvania, who was a member of the Society of Friends. Mr. Todd died in 1793, in Philadelphia, Pa., during the yellow-fever scourge. In September, 1794, Mrs. Todd became the wife of James Madison, and their union was a cause of joy to President Washington and his wife, both of whom were warm friends of Mr. and Mrs. Madison. Their long married life was one of unclouded happiness. Mrs. Madison's extraordinary personal beauty, her brilliant intellect and her great social powers made her the model mistress of the White House during the two terms of her husband as President She was a conspicuous figure in society, and her knowledge of politics and diplomacy was extensive, and her brilliant management of society contributed powerfully to the success of President Madison's administration, During all the stirring scenes of that period, including the sacking of Washington by the British, DOROTHY PAYNE MADISON. she bore herself always with dignity and courage. After the close of President Madison's second term of office they removed from Washington to his estate in Montpelier, Va., where they passed their lives in quiet retirement. Her life was embittered by the misconduct of her son, Payne Todd. Mrs. Madison left the manuscript of her book, Memoirs and Letters," a most interesting volume, which was published in Boston in 1887.