Eliza McCardle Johnson

U.S. First Lady

Born: 4 October 1810
Died: 15 January 1876
Birthplace: Greeneville, Tennessee
Best known as:

President Andrew Johnson's wife

Eliza McCardle Johnson was the wife of United States President Andrew Johnson and served as the First Lady from 15 April 1865 to 4 March 1869. Eliza McCardle was a sixteen year-old girl with a good education when she married Johnson -- an unschooled 18 year-old tailor -- on 17 May 1827 in Greeneville, Tennessee. Eliza helped Andrew with his reading, writing and arithmetic, while he used his natural talents at oration to launch a career in politics. She was a supportive spouse and raised five children, but after the 1850s she was frequently ill and out of the public eye. As the nation's First Lady, Eliza made only two appearances, turning over official hostess duties to her oldest daughter Martha. At the end of Johnson's presidential term, he stayed in politics and became a U.S. Senator in 1874, but Eliza returned to Tennessee, where she died in 1876, just six months after her husband.

Extra credit:

Some sources list Eliza McCardle's birthplace as Leesburg, Tennessee; some sources list Telford, Tennessee as her birthplace, but Telford was not there at the time of her birth. The McCardle family bible lists Greeneville as her birthplace... The Johnson children were Martha (1828-1901); Charles (1830-1863); Mary (1832-1883); Robert (1834-1869); and Andrew, Jr. (1852-1879).

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