This 1881 painting is currently in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
The 21st President of the United States, 1881 – 1885
AKA: Chet, Gentleman Boss, Prince Arthur, The Dude President, Walrus
From: Vermont, New York
College: Union College
Married to: Ellen Herndon
Children: William, Chester, Ellen
Party: Whig, Republican
Previous Jobs: teacher, principal, lawyer,
In His Words: “I trust the time is nigh when, with the universal assent of civilized people, all international differences shall be determined without resort to arms by the benignant processes of civilization.”
“The office of the Vice-President is a greater honor than I ever dreamed of attaining.”
“Men may die, but the fabric of our free institutions remains unshaken.” – said upon the death of President Garfield.
“I love the autumn. The crispness in the air, the changing of the leaves, and the changing of my wardrobe to winter-weight wools.”
“Madam, I may be President of the United States, but my private life is nobody’s damn business.”
Not true: Arthur’s father was born in Ireland, and he moved frequently with his young family. That led to Chester Arthur’s political opponents starting a rumor that he was foreign born and not eligible to be Vice President in 1880. The rumors first swirled that he was born in Ireland, and then in Canada … but neither rumor took hold. Isn’t this all of the proof we need to see that history does repeat itself?
True: Arthur owned at least 80 pairs of pants, which may not be a lot by today’s presidential standards, it was quite the extravagance back then.
His nomination as Vice President was a compromise. Republicans were fighting between the Stalwarts and the Half-Breeds, with Garfield’s nomination only happening after 36 ballots. Arthur was the 2nd choice for Vice President.
He refused the duties of the office of President while President Garfield was incapacitated and unable to perform those duties. The nation was rudderless during the two months of Garfield’s decline.
His nomination was secured due to the sentiment that he would not upset the patronage system that prevailed in the Washington of his day. In the end, however, he did institute reforms, and his administration was not marred by the scandals that tarred so many of this era.
The Official Portrait: Daniel Huntington painted the official portrait of President Arthur in 1885. It would prove to be his last significant painting.
Today’s Top Two posts:
1. Today’s post, about the family photo scrapbook I’m doing for my in-laws.
2. An older post, titled “Tequila.”
Serendipity? Or is it simply that y’all really do know my family?
I’m nearing the end. I started working on the Hepler family photo scrapbook in March 2011, and it will be finished in the next few weeks. The book has grown to just over 200 pages of photos, history and genealogy information. This book is focused on the family of Harry Baptiste Hepler: his 6 children, his 25 grandchildren, and their descendants.
I enjoy putting together the covers of the book. For this family history (and it’s the 4th that I’ve compiled), I assembled 2 covers. The first one is focused on the first couple of generations, and the 2nd cover is focused on the younger generations.
In the case of this branch of the family, no one member will know everyone pictured. Reacting to that fact became one of my goals: to illustrate the breadth of the family immediately. An essential third page is a key to the photographs, so that the family can begin to associate names with faces!
Creating a Family Photo Scrapbook
Digitizing Family Photos
Treasuring Family Photos
Your Family Tree
Franklin Pierce (1804 – 1869)
The 14th President of the United States, 1853 – 1857
AKA: Young Hickory of the Granite Hills, Handsome Frank (proof that most never saw him!)
From: New Hampshire
College: Bowdoin College, Northampton Law School
Married to: Jane Appleton
Children: Franklin, Frank Robert, Benjamin
Previous Jobs: Lawyer, state representative, US Representative, US Senator
In His Words: “You have summoned me in my weakness. You must sustain me by your strength.”
“Do we not all know that the cause of our casualties is the vicious intermeddling of too many of the citizens of the Northern States with the constitutional rights of the Southern States, cooperating with the discontents of the people of those states? Do we not know that the disregard of the Constitution, and of the security that it affords to the rights of States and of individuals, has been the cause of the calamity which our country is called to undergo? And now, war! war, in its direst shape — war, such as it makes the blood run cold to read of in the history of other nations and of other times — war, on a scale of a million of men in arms — war, horrid as that of barbaric ages, rages in several of the States of the Union, as its more immediate field, and casts the lurid shadow of its death and lamentation athwart the whole expanse, and into every nook and corner of our vast domain.”
“Frequently the more trifling the subject, the more animated and protracted the discussion.”
Not true: Pierce was branded a coward by some after he passed out and was carried from the battlefield at the Battle of Churubusco, part of the Mexican American War. Here’s what happened:
In 1847, Pierce was serving in the US Army, and was promoted to Brigadier General. He took command of the army marching on Mexico City. During the Battle of Contreras, he was injured when his horse stepped into a crevice, breaking its leg and pinning Pierce underneath. Contemporary accounts say he was seriously injured, including a sprained knee.
He returned to the battlefield the next day, but had to be tied into the saddle. His pain proved to be so great, however, that he passed out and had to be carried from the field. His political opponents branded him a coward. However, in his memoirs, Ulysses S Grant (who was not a political ally of Pierce’s) said that the negative description was “unfair and unjust.” He further stated that Pierce was “a gentleman and a man of courage.”
Pierce returned to command and led his brigade in its capture of Mexico City.
True: Pierce saw much tragedy in his life. For example, all 3 of his sons died before he was inaugurated as President.
Franklin Pierce was the first President to have a Christmas tree in the White House. He was also the first to install a bathtub in the White House, which was somewhat controversial, as many people of the time thought taking baths was not healthy and would make you sick.
Pierce gave his 3,319-word inaugural address from memory, without the aid of notes.
During his administration, bloodshed over the issue of slavery followed the passage of Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and re-opened the question of slavery in the West. Pierce worked with Senator Stephen A Douglas, who was advocating building a railroad to the west from Chicago, while simultaneously asserting that it was each state’s right to decide the question of slavery in their territory. Part of that effort resulted in the purchase of what is now the southern part of Arizona and New Mexico for $10,000,000 from Mexico.
Pierce was the only elected President who sought but did not win his party’s nomination for a second term.
The Official Portrait: George Healy painted the official White House portrait of Franklin Pierce in 1858 after an earlier sitting in 1853. Healy painted most of the presidents in the mid-19th century.
The Kilauea Lighthouse is set on a prominent point on the north shore of Kauai. The view of the bay beside the lighthouse is the reason to go.
You’ll see the lighthouse, take the picture. Maybe there will be some nene on the grounds to take a picture of. Good.
Now, look at the coastline. Look at the albatross gliding on the wind currents above the ocean currents of that wonderful sea green bay.
Bonus: make sure you visit the Kilauea Fish Market for an ahi wrap on your way to or from the Lighthouse. It is the BEST wrap on the island. It’s the best restaurant for the money on the island, and it’s our favorite restaurant on the island.