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Jane Means Appleton Pierce 1806 ~ 1863


Jane Means Appleton Pierce

Jane Means Appleton, daughter of Reverend Jesse Appleton, D.D., President of Bowdoin College, was born at Hampton, New Hampshire, March 12, 1806. She was brought up under the most refined. Christian, educational influences. Unfortunately she was delicate from her childhood and as she grew older her nervous organization became more and more sensitive, but her unselfish disposition prompted her to forget herself in her desire to contribute to the happiness and pleasure of others.

Soon after her marriage she was thrown into political society, which was peculiarly attractive to her. She made a deep impression by her intellectual conversation and her comprehension of political questions. Franklin Pierce was a member of Congress when they were married, in 1834, and though she shrank at first from Washington society she soon became very popular.

In 1838 Mr. Pierce removed from Hillsboro to Concord, accepting the appointment of Attorney-General in the cabinet of James K. Polk. This seemed to be the beginning of his national reputation, which eventually made him President of the United States. President and Mrs. Pierce had three children. The eldest, a son, was traveling with his parents from Boston to Concord, on January 5, 1852, before Mr. Pierce's inauguration, when by an accident on the Boston and Maine Railroad, the car in which they were sitting was over-turned, and although the President-elect and Mrs. Pierce escaped serious injury, their son was killed.

Such a bereavement on the threshold of their occupancy of the White House threw a pall over the festivities attending the inaugural and Mrs. Pierce never rallied completely from this fearful blow. One can imagine the effort that it cost her to go through the official functions of the White House with such a tragedy ever before her.

After Mr. Pierce's retirement, in an effort to establish Mrs. Pierce's health, they sailed for Europe to spend the winter in the Island of Madeira, continuing their journey through Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and England. She never regained full health and died on December 2, 1863, at Andover, Massachusetts.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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