Elizabeth Arnold Poe

Stage Actress and Mother of Edgar Allan Poe

Elizabeth Arnold Poe (1787–1811) was an English-born American actress and the mother of the American author Edgar Allan Poe. She was noted for her beauty, her singing voice and her theatrical talent. Though he had no independent memory of his mother – she died a month before his third birthday – her untimely death greatly influenced Edgar Allan Poe’s writing.

Elizabeth Arnold was born to Henry and Elizabeth Arnold in London in the spring of 1787. Her mother was a stage actress in London from 1791 to 1795. Henry died in 1789, and in November 1795 mother and daughter sailed from England to the United States, arriving in Boston, Massachusetts on January 3, 1796. Young Elizabeth shared her mother’s talent and interest in the stage.

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Nancy Hanks Lincoln

Mother of Abraham Lincoln

Judging from this painting of Nancy Hanks Lincoln by Lloyd Ostendorf, Lincoln did resemble his mother, who was described as being slender and about 5 foot 7 inches tall.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln (1784-1818) was the mother of Abraham Lincoln (the 16th President of the United States) through her marriage to Thomas Lincoln. After more than ten years of marriage, the family moved from Kentucky to Spencer County, Indiana. When Abraham was nine years old, Nancy Lincoln died of milk sickness at the Little Pigeon Creek settlement. Actor, producer, writer and director Tom Hanks is her third cousin four times removed.

Childhood and Early Years
Nancy Hanks was born on February 5, 1784 in Campbell County, Virginia, but details of her early life are scarce. By the time she was nine years old, she was an orphan, though it is not clear what happened to her parents. Following their deaths, she lived with the Richard Berry family in what would become Kentucky. Berry was apparently an uncle and a person of standing in the community, who took her in and raised as one of his own.

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Anna Harrison

Ninth First Lady of the United States

Anna Harrison, wife of the President William Henry Harrison, was First Lady of the United States during her husband’s one-month term in 1841, though she never entered the White House. She also holds the distinction of being the only First Lady to be wife of one president and grandmother of another: twenty-third president, Benjamin Harrison.

She was born Anna Tuthill Symmes on July 25, 1775 at the family estate Solitude near Morristown, New Jersey to John Cleves Symmes and Anna Tuthill Symmes, who died the following year. Anna’s father was a Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and later became a prominent landowner in southwestern Ohio.

Because the Revolutionary War was beginning and the British were a threat to their New Jersey home, Judge Symmes disguised himself as a British soldier to carry Anna on horseback through the British lines to her maternal grandparents Henry and Phoebe Tuthill in Southhold, Long Island, where Anna grew up. She received an unusually broad education for a woman of the times, attending Clinton Academy at Easthampton, Long Island, and the Isabella Graham boarding school in New York City.

John Symmes bought 311,682 acres from the Congress in 1788. President George Washington signed the patent on October 30, 1794 conveying to Symmes 248,250 acres plus a surveying township of 23,040 acres for an academy. This land was known as the Symmes Purchase, and was the cause of considerable controversy. The purchase price was $225,000, which he paid in notes issued by the Congress to raise money during the war. Symmes had lent most of his own money to the Revolution.

In late 1794 Symmes remarried and decided to make a new home on land he had purchased after the Revolution in the Northwest Territory, which is now the state of Ohio. Anna and her new stepmother accompanied him, and they settled on his extensive land holdings at North Bend, Ohio, on the Ohio River west of Cincinnati.

While the Symmes home was being built at North Bend, Anna and her stepmother lived with Anna’s married sister in Lexington, Kentucky. In the spring of 1795, Anna met William Henry Harrison, then a young soldier stationed at nearby Fort Washington.

Though the young man came from a prestigious Virginia family, Judge Symmes disapproved because he wanted to spare his daughter the hardships of army life at frontier outposts. However, the courtship continued without his knowledge.

Home and Family
On November 25, 1795, a clandestine marriage united Anna Symmes and Lt. William Henry Harrison at the home of Dr. Stephen Wood at North Bend, while her father was away on business. The couple honeymooned at Fort Washington, where Harrison was still on duty.

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Nelly Conway Madison

Mother of Fourth U.S. President James Madison

Image: Nelly and James Madison, Sr.
By Charles Peale Polke, 1799

Nelly Conway was born on January 9, 1731, at Belle Grove plantation in Port Conway, Virginia, the daughter of prominent planter and tobacco merchant Francis Conway, for whom Port Conway was named.

James Madison, Sr. was born on March 27, 1723, the son of Ambrose Madison and his wife Frances Taylor at Mount Pleasant, a large tobacco plantation in Orange County, Virginia. Like many others who first came to the Piedmont, the Madison family hailed from the Tidewater on the coast of Virginia. In 1723 Ambrose Madison and brother-in-law Thomas Chew patented 4675 acres in the newly opened Piedmont of Virginia.

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Susanna Boylston Adams

Mother of Second U.S. President John Adams

Image: John Adams Birthplace

Susanna Boylston born March 5, 1708, in Brookline, Massachusetts, to Peter and Ann White Boylston, was an early-American socialite, who came from a prominent family of scientists and medical doctors. She is among the least well known of the famous Adams family, for her name appears infrequently in the large body of Adams writings. However, her son’s diary reveals that she had a fiery temper.

In 1720, Adams, Sr. purchased a farm in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts, and lived there until his death. The future President lived here with his parents until 1764, when he married Abigail Smith. This saltbox house, characterized by the sloping roof, is where the Adams sons were born, and is now part of Adams National Historical Park, which is operated by the National Park Service and is open to the public. It is a few feet from the John Quincy Adams Birthplace.

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Anne Carter Lee

Wife of General Henry ‘Light Horse Harry’ Lee III

Anne Hill Carter was born in 1773, the daughter of Charles and Anne (Butler Moore) Carter of Shirley Plantation on the James River. Shirley was Virginia’s first plantation, which the Hills and Carters had inhabited since 1613. Anne would become not only the wife of Revolutionary War hero ‘Light Horse Harry’ Lee, but the mother of arguably the greatest general to ever walk the earth, Robert E. Lee.

Anne was the great-granddaughter of Robert Carter, one of America’s earliest men of wealth. His wealth came from service as land agent for the English Proprieter, Lord Fairfax, for whome he collected rents on the millions of acres owned by Fairfax in Virginia. His position gained for him an estate of some 300,000 acres and made him so powerful that he became known as King Carter.

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Abigail Adams

First Lady and Wife of Founding Father John Adams

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) was the wife of President John Adams, the mother of President John Quincy Adams, and the second First Lady of the United States. As the Second Continental Congress drafted and debated the Declaration of Independence, Abigail began to urge John in her letters that the creation of a new form of government was an opportunity to make the legal status of women equal to that of men. The text of those letters became some of the earliest known writings advocating women’s rights.

Young Abigail Adams

Abigail Smith was born on November 11, 1744, at Weymouth, Massachusetts to the Reverend William and Elizabeth Smith. On her mother’s side, she was descended from the Quincys, a well-known political family in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and a cousin of Dorothy Hancock. The Smith home was busy and active – visitors came often and relatives lived nearby.

Abigail was a sickly child; throughout her youth, she suffered from one minor illness after another. Her parents feared that some disease or infection would cut her life short. She was fortunate to have a father who loved learning and gave her full access to his extensive library, and became one of the best-read women of her time. Abigail read widely in poetry, drama, history, theology and political theory. In this atmosphere she developed the values and moral fiber that would serve her as an adult

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Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson

Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson Marker

Mother of President Andrew Jackson

Elizabeth Hutchinson was born circa 1740 in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Ireland. She was the daughter of Francis Cyrus Hobart Hutchinson and Margret Lisle of Royston. Andrew Jackson, Sr. was born about 1730 in northern Ireland. Elizabeth and Andrew were married in Carrickfergus circa 1761, and the couple emigrated to America in 1765 with their two young sons, Hugh and Robert.

They were Presbyterians escaping religious persecution and tariffs from the ruling Anglican faction. Four of Elizabeth Jackson’s sisters and three Crawford brothers – James, Robert and Joseph – also moved with their families to America at that time. James Crawford was married to Jane Hutchinson, Elizabeth’s sister.

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Jane Randolph Jefferson

Mother of Thomas Jefferson

Image: Shadwell Plantation
Home of Jane and Peter Jefferson and birthplace of Thomas Jefferson. On February 1, 1770, a fire destroyed the plantation house, and Thomas Jefferson built a substantial, but smaller dwelling for his mother Jane and his siblings at Shadwell, which then became part of the Monticello Plantation. The mill at Shadwell (pictured left) began to operate after the canal that enslaved men had worked on for so many years was finally completed. Moses, a slave hired from Caroline County, was the miller.

According to the Jefferson family bible, Jane Randolph was born February 20, 1720, in Shadwell Parish, London. The parish register of St. Paul’s notes her baptism on February 25, 1721, as the daughter of Isham Randolph, mariner of Shakespeare’s Walk, and Jane Rogers Jefferson. The Randolphs left London shortly thereafter, and were in Virginia by October 1725, when Jane’s sister, Mary, was born in Williamsburg.

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Mary Ball Washington

Mother of George Washington

Mary Ball Washington, the mother of George Washington, was an intrepid 18th century woman who raised five children alone. The oldest became the first President of the United States. George Washington paid his last visit to his mother at the house in Fredericksburg in April 1789, en route to New York for his inauguration.

Early Life
Mary Ball was born in 1708 in Lancaster County, Virginia. She was the only child of Joseph Ball and his second wife, Mary Johnson. Joseph died a few years after his daughter was born, and soon after, Mary Johnson Ball married Richard Hewes.

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