|Nicknames:||"Dolly Madison", "Dolley Payne /Todd/", "/Dolley/", "Dolley Todd /Madison/", "Dolley Madison"|
|Birthplace:||New Garden, Guilford, NC, United States|
|Death:||Died in Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States|
|Occupation:||First Lady of the United States, First Lady; coined the term|
|Managed by:||Maria Edmonds-Zediker, Volunteer Curator|
About Dorothea "Dolley" Todd / Madison (Payne)
First Lady of the United States from 1809 to 1817. She also occasionally acted as what is now described as First Lady of the United States during the administration of Thomas Jefferson, fulfilling the ceremonial functions more usually associated with the President's wife, since Jefferson was a widower. It is disputed as to whether her true name is Dorothea, Dorothy, or Dolley and her name has been widely misspelled as "Dolly"; her most recent biographers use the name Dolley as that is how she identified herself during her lifetime and because that is how her name was registered at her birth.
On January 7, 1790, in Philadelphia, she married John Todd, Jr. (1764-1793), a lawyer who was instrumental in keeping her father out of bankruptcy and who found Mary Payne a position as the manager of a boarding house. The couple had two sons, John Payne (February 29, 1792-1852) and William Temple (born/died in 1793). In 1793, a yellow fever epidemic broke out in Philadelphia. Her husband moved Dolley and their older son, out of the city to safety, while he returned to attend to the sick including his parents. John Todd and his parents soon died, however.  Their youngest son, William Temple Todd, also died in 1793 from yellow fever. Dolley and her other son, John Payne, were both also afflicted with yellow fever, but recovered.
Marriage to James Madison:
In 1794, after returning to Philadelphia, her friend Aaron Burr, who was a frequent guest at the boarding house managed by Mary Payne, introduced her to James Madison. On September 14, 1794, Dolley Todd married James Madison, who was seventeen years older. The location of the wedding was Harewood, Virginia (now in West Virginia), a plantation owned by the bride's brother-in-law George Steptoe Washington, a nephew of the first president of the United States. The Madisons had no children but raised Dolley's son from her first marriage, John Payne Todd, whom they called Payne.
The First Spouse Program under the Presidential $1 Coin Act authorizes the United States Mint to issue 1/2 ounce $10 gold coins and bronze medal duplicates to honor the spouses of Presidents of the United States. Dolley Madison's coin (below, right) was released on November 18, 2007. Earlier, the Mint had issued a commemorative coin (below, left) in 1999 bearing her likeness.
BURIAL DATE IS NOT WRONG -- READ BIO BELOW. Dolley was buried three different times.
Birth: May 20, 1768
Death: Jul. 12, 1849
Presidential First Lady. She was the wife of 4th United States President James Madison. Born in New Garden, North Carolina, she married John Todd, Jr., a lawyer, in 1790. He succumbed to yellow fever in 1793, leaving her with a small son, Payne. Her second marriage was to James Madison, who was then serving as a Congressman from Virginia, and was seventeen years her senior. He was very patient with his stepson Payne who first mismanaged his own affairs and eventually his mothers which left her destitute. She was a great asset to Madison's career. When her husband was appointed Secretary of State by the widowed President Thomas Jefferson in 1801, Dolley assisted him as White House hostess and presided at the first inaugural ball when her husband became Chief Executive in 1809. During the burning of the White House in 1814, she saved many state papers and a portrait of George Washington from the advancing British. Upon her husbands death in 1836 in Virginia, she returned to Washington, D.C. residing on Lafayette Square where she retained a place in Washington society and was granted a lifelong seat on the floor of the House of Representatives. Upon her death she was interred in a brick receiving vault at the Congressional Cemetery, Washington D.C. It was removed in 1852 and placed in the private vault of her niece. The remains were on the move again in 1858 when it was exhumed and transported to the Madison family graveyard at Montpelier and interred behind her husband's monument. (bio by: Paul S.)
John Payne (1740 - 1792)
Mary Coles Payne (1743 - 1808)
John Payne Todd (1792 - 1852)*
William Temple Todd (1793 - 1793)*
James Madison (1751 - 1836)
John Todd (1763 - 1793)*
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Montpelier Estate National Historic Site
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Record added: Jan 01, 2001
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Wife of James Madison, the fourth President of the United States.
Dolley Payne Todd Madison (May 20, 1768 – July 12, 1849) was the spouse of the fourth President of the United States, James Madison, and was First Lady of the United States from 1809 to 1817. She also occasionally acted as First Lady during the administration of Thomas Jefferson, fulfilling the ceremonial functions more usually associated with the President's wife, since Jefferson was a widower.
Spelling of name
In the past, biographers and others stated that her real name was Dorothea after her Aunt, or Dorothy and Dolley was a nickname. However, the registry of her birth with the New Garden Friends Meeting lists her name as Dolley and her will of 1841 states "I, Dolley p. Madison". Based on manuscript evidence and the scholarship of her recent biographers, Dolley, spelled with an E, appears to have been her given name.
Early life and first marriage
Dolley Payne was born on May 20, 1768, in the Quaker settlement of New Garden, North Carolina, in Guilford County.  Her parents, both Virginians, had moved there in 1765. Her mother, Mary Cole, a Quaker, married John Payne, a non-Quaker, in 1761. Three years later, he applied and was admitted to the Quaker Monthly Meeting in Hanover County, Virginia, and Dolley Payne was raised in the Quaker faith.
Dolley was one of 8 children, four boys (Walter, William Temple, Isaac, and John) and four girls (Dolley, Lucy, Anna, and Mary). In 1769, the family returned to Virginia. As a young girl, she grew up in comfort in rural eastern Virginia, deeply attached to her mother's family.
In 1783, John Payne emancipated his slaves and moved his family to Philadelphia, where he went into business as a starch merchant. By 1789, however, his business had failed. He died in 1792. Dolley's mother initially made ends meet by opening a boarding house. A year later she moved to western Virginia to live with her daughter Lucy, who had married George Steptoe Washington, a nephew of George Washington. Mary Coles Payne took her two youngest children, Mary and John, with her. By then, Dolley Payne had married Quaker lawyer John Todd in January 1790. Their son, John Payne Todd, was born in 1792 and William Temple Todd in 1793. Her sister Anna lived with the Todds as well.
In the fall of 1793, yellow fever struck Philadelphia. Her husband and younger son, William Temple, both died in the epidemic, and Dolley Todd was left a widow at the age of twenty-five.
In May, 1794, James Madison asked his friend Aaron Burr to introduce him to Dolley Todd. Madison was seventeen years her senior and, at the age of forty-three, a long-standing bachelor.
The encounter apparently went smoothly for a brisk courtship followed, and by August she had accepted his proposal of marriage. For marrying Madison, a non-Quaker, she was expelled from the Society of Friends. They were married on September 15, 1794 and lived in Philadelphia for the next three years.
In 1797, after eight years in the House of Representatives, James Madison retired from politics. He took his family to Montpelier, the Madison family estate in Orange County, Virginia. There they expanded the house and settled in. They expected to remain as planters living quietly in the country but when Thomas Jefferson became the third president of the United States, in 1801, he asked James Madison to serve as his Secretary of State. James Madison accepted, and the Madison family, consisting now of James, Dolley, her son Payne, and her sister Anna, moved to Washington, D.C.. They moved to an extremely large house for the amount of their savings.
In Washington 1801-1817
Madison worked with the architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe to furnish the White House.
In the approach to the 1808 presidential election, with Thomas Jefferson ready to retire, the Democratic-Republican caucus nominated James Madison to succeed him. James Madison was elected President, serving two terms from 1809 to 1817, with Dolley becoming official First Lady.
As the invading British army approached Washington during the War of 1812, Madison's slaves collected valuables like silver, Gilbert Stuart's famous portrait of George Washington, an original draft of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
However, in her own letter to her sister the day before Washington was burned (after hearing about the Battle of Bladensburg) ,Dolly says she ordered that the painting be removed: "Our kind friend Mr. Carroll has come to hasten my departure, and in a very bad humor with me, because I insist on waiting until the large picture of General Washington is secured, and it requires to be unscrewed from the wall. The process was found too tedious for these perilous moments; I have ordered the frame to be broken and the canvas taken out"..... "It is done, and the precious portrait placed in the hands of two gentlemen from New York for safe keeping. On handing the canvas to the gentlemen in question, Messrs. Barker and Depeyster, Mr. Sioussat cautioned them against rolling it up, saying that it would destroy the portrait. He was moved to this because Mr. Barker started to roll it up for greater convenience for carrying." 
The late White House historians JH McCormick (1904) and Gilson Willets (1908)identify the man in charge of removing the painting, as Jean Pierre Sioussat , the first Master of Ceremonies of the White House , quoted as follows: " a negro servant, named Paul Jennings, issued in 1865, A Colored Man's Reminiscences of James Madison, in which he, as a White House employe, insists; 'She (Mrs. Madison) had no time for doing it It would have required a ladder to get it down. All she carried off was the silver in her reticule, as the British were thought to be but a few squares off, and were expected every moment. John Suse (meaning Jean Sioussat), a Frenchman, then doorkeeper, and still living, and McGraw, the President's gardener, took it down and sent it off on a wagon with some larger silver urns and other such valuables as could be hastily got together. When the British did arrive they ate up the very dinner that I had prepared for the President's party.'"
The late White House historians give the accounts of further authorities regarding the First Lady's escape from fire of 1814:
"The friends with Mrs. Madison hurried her away (her carriage being previously ready), and she, with many other families, retreated with the flying army. In Georgetown they perceived some men before them carrying off the picture of General Washington (the large one by Stewart), which with the plate was all that was saved out of the President's house. Mrs. Madison lost all her own property. Mrs. Madison slept that night in the encampment, a guard being placed round her tent; the next day she crossed into Virginia, where she remained until Sunday, when she returned to meet her husband."
An eye-witness, writing for the Federal Republican, published at the time of the fire, says: "About ten o'clock on the night of the 24th ult., while the Capitol, the Navy Yard, the Magazine, and the buildings attached thereto, on Greenleaf's Point, were entirely in flames, I was sitting in the window of my lodging on the Pennsylvania Avenue, contemplating the solemn and awful scene, when about a hundred men passed the house, troops of the enemy, on their way toward the President's house. They walked two abreast preceded by an officer on foot, each armed with a hanger, and wearing a chapeau de bras. In the middle of the ranks were two men, each with a dark lanthorn. They marched quickly but silently. Some of them, however, were talking in the ranks, which being overheard by the officer, he called out to them 'Silence! If any man speaks in the ranks, I'll put him to death' 1 Shortly after they pushed on, I observed four officers on horseback, with chapeau de bras and side arms. They made up to the house, and pulling off their hats in a polite and social manner, wished us a good evening. The family and myself returned the salute, and I observed to them, 'Gentlemen! I presume you are officers of the British Army'. They replied they were. 'I hope, sir', said I, addressing one that rode up under the window, which I found to be Admiral Cockburn, 'that individuals and private property will be respected'. Admiral Cockburn and General Ross immediately replied: 'Yes, sir, we pledge our sacred honor that the citizens and private property shall be respected. Be under no apprehension. Our advice to you is to remain at home. Do not quit your houses'. Admiral Cockburn then inquired: 'Where is your President, Mr. Madison ?' I replied, "I could not tell, but supposed by this time at a considerable distance."
"They then observed that they were on their way to pay a visit to the President's house, which they were told was but a little distance ahead. They again requested that we would stay in our houses, where we would be perfectly safe, and bowing, politely, wished us good night, and proceeded on. I perceived the smoke coming from the windows of the President's house, and in a short time, that splendid and elegant edifice, reared at the expense of so much cost and labor, inferior to none that I have observed in the different parts of Europe, was wrapt in one entire flame. The large and elegant Capitol of the Nation on one side, and the splendid National Palace and Treasury Department on the other, all wrapt in flame, presented a grand and sublime, but, at the same time, an awful and melancholy sight."
In Montpelier 1817-1837
On April 6 1817, Dolley and James Madison returned to their estate in Orange County, Virginia.
In 1830, Dolley Madison's son by her first marriage, Payne Todd, who had never found a career, went to debtors prison in Philadelphia. The Madisons sold land in Kentucky and mortgaged half of the Montpelier estate to pay Todd's debts.
James Madison died at Montpelier on June 28, 1836. Dolley remained at Montpelier for a year. One of her nieces, Anna Payne, came to live with her. Payne Todd also came for a stay, and Mrs. Madison organized and copied her husband's papers. In 1837, Congress authorized $30,000 as payment for the first installment of the Madison papers.
In the fall of 1837, Dolley Payne Madison decided to leave Montpelier for Washington, D.C., charging Payne Todd with the care of the plantation. She moved with Anna Payne into a house her sister Anna and her husband Richard Cutts had bought, located on Lafayette Square.
In Washington 1837-1849
While Madison was living in Washington, Payne Todd was unable to manage the plantation successfully due to alcoholism and resulting illness. Madison tried to raise money by selling the rest of James' papers. Unable to find a buyer for the papers, she sold the whole estate to pay off outstanding debts. Paul Jennings later recalled, "In the last days of her life, before Congress purchased her husband's papers, she was in a state of absolute poverty, and I think sometimes suffered for the necessaries of life. While I was a servant to Mr. Webster, he often sent me to her with a market-basket full of provisions, and told me whenever I saw anything in the house that I thought she was in need of, to take it to her. I often did this, and occasionally gave her small sums from my own pocket, though I had years before bought my freedom of her." In 1848, Congress agreed to buy the rest of James Madison's papers for the sum of $25,000.
Dolley Madison died at her home in Washington, DC at the age of 81. She was first interred in the Congressional Cemetery, Washington, DC., but later re-interred at Montpelier estate, Orange, Virginia. 
-------------------- Dolley was born to John and Mary Coles Payne in North Carolina in 1768. In 1783, John Payne moved his family to Philadelphia, city of the Quakers. Although raised in the strict discipline of the Society of Friends, she had a happy personality and a warm heart.
John Todd, Jr., a lawyer, exchanged marriage vows with Dolley in 1790. Just three years later he died in a yellow-fever epidemic, leaving his wife with a small son.
By this time Philadelphia had become the capital city. With her charm and her laughing blue eyes, fair skin, and black curls, the young widow attracted distinguished attention. Although Representative James Madison of Virginia was 17 years her senior, and Episcopalian in background, they were married in September 1794. The marriage, though childless, was notably happy: "our hearts understand each other", she assured him. He could even be patient with Dolley's son, Payne, who mishandled his own affairs - and, eventually mismanaged Madison's estate.
Discarding the somber Quaker dress after her second marriage, Dolley chose the finest of fashions. Blessed with a desire to please, and a willingness to be pleased, Dolley made her home the center of society when Madison began, in 1801, his eight years as Jefferson's Secretary of State. She assisted at the White House when the President asked her help in receiving ladies, and presided at the first inaugural ball in Washington when her husband became Chief Executive in 1809.
Dolly's social graces made her famous. Her political acumen, prized by her husband, is less renowned, though her gracious tact smoothed many a quarrel. Hostile statesmen, difficult envoys from Spain or Tunisia, warrior chiefs from the west, flustered youngsters - she always welcomed everyone.
During the War of 1812, she was forced to flee Washington, as the British Army was advancing. But not before insisting on saving Stuart's oil portrait of George Washington. On August 24, 1814, the burning walls of the White House were saved only by a thunderstorm that broke that night. She returned to find the mansion in ruins. But undaunted by temporary quarters, she continued to entertain as skillfully as ever.
At their plantation Montpelier in Virginia, the Madisons lived in pleasant retirement until he died in 1836. She returned to the capital in the autumn of 1837, where she remained until her death in 1849, honored and loved by all.
-------------------- Presidential First Lady. She was the wife of 4th United States President James Madison. Born in New Garden, North Carolina, she married John Todd, Jr., a lawyer, in 1790. He succumbed to yellow fever in 1793, leaving her with a small son, Payne. Her second marriage was to James Madison, who was then serving as a Congressman from Virginia, and was seventeen years her senior. He was very patient with his stepson Payne who first mismanaged his own affairs and eventually his mothers which left her destitute. She was a great asset to Madison's career. When her husband was appointed Secretary of State by the widowed President Thomas Jefferson in 1801, Dolley assisted him as White House hostess and presided at the first inaugural ball when her husband became Chief Executive in 1809. During the burning of the White House in 1814, she saved many state papers and a portrait of George Washington from the advancing British. Upon her husbands death in 1836 in Virginia, she returned to Washington, D.C. residing on Lafayette Square where she retained a place in Washington society and was granted a lifelong seat on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Dolly Madison, First Lady of the USA's Timeline
May 20, 1768
New Garden, Guilford, NC, United States
January 7, 1790
February 29, 1792
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
July 4, 1793
Philadelphia, PA, United States
September 15, 1794
"Harewood", Charlestown, Jefferson Co., VA
July 12, 1849
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States
July 16, 1849
Montpelier,, Orange County, VA, United States
Upon her death she was interred in a brick receiving vault at the Congressional Cemetery, Washington D.C. It was removed in 1852 and placed in the private vault of her niece. The remains were on the move again in 1858 when it was exhumed and transported to the Madison family graveyard at Montpelier and interred behind her husband's monument.
Winston-Salem, NC, United States