Woman of the Century/Jane Means Appleton Pierce

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PIERCE, Mrs. Jane Means Appleton, wife of Franklin Pierce, the fourteenth President of the United States, born in Hampton, N. H , 12th March, 1806, and died in Andover, Mass., 2nd December, 1863. Her father, Rev. Jesse Appleton, D. D., became the president of Bowdcin College one year after her birth. Miss Appleton received a liberal education and was reared in an atmosphere of refined christian influences. She was a bright child, but her health was never strong, and she grew more and more delicate and nervous as she advanced to womanhood. In 1834 she became the wife of Hon. Franklin Pierce, then of Hillsborough and a member of the House of Representatives in Washington. Three sons were born to them, two of whom died in early youth. The youngest, Benjamin, was killed 6th January, 1853, in a railroad accident near Lawrence, Mass. His death, which happened in the presence of his parents, shocked Mrs. Pierce so that she never fully recovered her health. In 1838 they removed to Concord, N. H., where both are buried. Mrs. Pierce's illness kept Mr. Pierce from accepting various honors that were tendered to him by President Polk. When she went to the White House as mistress, she was in an exhausted condition, but she bore up well under the onerous duties of her position. In 1857 she went with her husband to the island of Madeira, where they remained for six months. In 1857 and 1858 they traveled in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy. Switzerland, England and Germany. Of her reign in the White House it may be said that her administration was characterized by refinement and exaltation. Politics she never liked. All her instincts were in the line of the good and the lovely in life. She was respected and admired by her cotemporaries.