Archive for U.S. Presidents

Abraham Lincoln

Posted in Oak Ridge Cemetery with tags on August 15, 2017 by Cade

February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. Arguably, one of the most famous presidents in U.S. history, Lincoln guided the country through its bloody civil war. A largely self-educated lawyer who grew up in Kentucky and Indiana, he went on to represent Illinois in the United States congress. After a return to private law practice, and amidst a rising tension between Southern, slave-owning states and the North, Lincoln was persuaded to run for President as a moderate in the newly founded Republican party. Despite receiving virtually no votes from the Southern states, Lincoln won the election in 1860. His victory led the first states in the South to begin working toward secession and the war followed quickly. Lincoln navigated the war with admirable skill and prowess. In 1862, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which effectively freed the slaves in the Southern states. In 1864, he was reelected while the war raged on and began to work toward what post-war Reconstruction would look like. On April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant. Four days later, Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C. by Confederate sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth. Abraham Lincoln died the next day, leaving behind an enormous footprint on the nation as it moved forward from its darkest hour.

Lincoln has been immortalized on statues, on money, in history and in pop-culture. Illinois’ favorite son remains, perhaps, one of the biggest American icons of all time.


Oak Ridge Cemetery – Springfield, IL

Specific Location

Enter the cemetery…follow the signs. President Lincoln is buried behind the large marker inside the even larger monument. Walk in the front door of the monument and go either right or left from the first vestibule.

NOTE: Lincoln’s wife, Mary and three of their sons are interred in the wall opposite his grave. The fourth – and longest surviving – son, Robert, is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


Calvin Coolidge

Posted in Plymouth Notch Cemetery with tags , on November 9, 2015 by Cade


July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933

“The words of a President have an enormous weight, and ought not to be used indiscriminately.” – Calvin Coolidge

John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States. Known far and wide as “Silent Cal,” the conservative Republican worked his way up, as a lawyer, through state politics in Massachusetts, eventually becoming the governor of the commonwealth in 1918. Coolidge’s handling of the 1919 Boston Police Strike earned him a reputation as a politician who acted quickly and wisely. As his actions in the Massachusetts state house became more and more known, many in the Republican party started to urge him to seek the Presidency. He was nominated in 1920 as Vice President to Warren G. Harding. When Harding died in 1923, Coolidge was sworn in by his father – a notary public – in their home in Vermont. He won re-election in 1924 and his administration went a long way to restore the public’s faith in the office in the wake of Harding’s scandal-filled tenure. He retired from public life after he left office and died suddenly a few years later. He was buried in the cemetery near his childhood home where he remains characteristically silent to this day.


Plymouth Notch Cemetery – Plymouth Notch, VT

Specific Location

On the west side of the cemetery on Lynds Hill Road, there is a stone staircase that leads up to the Coolidge family plot. There’s a small parking area across the road from the stairs.


Martin Van Buren

Posted in Kinderhook Cemetery with tags , on August 4, 2015 by Cade


December 5, 1782 – July 24, 1862

Martin Van Buren, the 8th President of the United States, was born in mostly-Dutch-speaking Kinderhook, NY in 1782. He was the first U.S. President to be born AFTER the country had declared its independence from Britain. He was 5’6″. And, because of his upbringing, was the only President to speak English as a second language.

But, fun factoids do not a great president make. Despite a successful political career serving as Governor of New York, a U.S. Senator and as Vice-President to Andrew Jackson, Van Buren’s stint in office was largely ineffectual. He did no favors for slaves (though, he was increasingly anti-slavery) and Native Americans in his policies. He wanted nothing to do with admitting Texas into the Union. And, he had no answer for the Panic of 1837 that sent the country into a years-long recession. He was defeated in his reelection bid by Whig candidate, William Henry Harrison, but undertook a number of later attempts at getting back to the White House. He never succeeded. After remaining in the public and being a fairly loud voice in American politics throughout his later years, Van Buren died in his home after a bout of pneumonia. He was 72 years old.


Kinderhook Cemetery – Kinderhook NY


Specific Location

On the east side of Albany Ave., there is a small gravel pull-out. From this parking spot, President Van Buren’s grave is clearly marked with signs. It’s the large obelisk in the center of this section.


Chester A. Arthur

Posted in Albany Rural Cemetery with tags , on July 13, 2015 by Cade

President Chester A. Arthur

October 5, 1829 – November 18, 1886

A relatively quiet cog in the post-civil war New York political machine, Chester A. Arthur was thrust into the U.S. Presidency when his predecessor, James Garfield, was assassinated in the first year of their administration. Arthur served out the single term in surprisingly successful fashion considering his general lack of public opinion prior to being nominated as Garfield’s  vice-president. Originally from Vermont, Arthur studied and practiced Law in New York before getting into politics. His rise through the New York Republican “Stalwarts” put him at odds with Garfield and the two were never close. In July of 1881, just months after inauguration, Garfield was shot. He would not die until September, thus creating a strained “who should be leading the country right now” kind of atmosphere for more than two months. Arthur officially became the 21st President on September 20th, 1881. His term in office focused – to the surprise of his fellow Stalwarts – on civil service reform, civil rights and naval reform. Health was an issue throughout his time in office and he eventually declined to seek renomination. Instead, he returned to New York City to practice law. That, too, seemed to take its toll as his chronic illness (a kidney disease) eventually caught up and he died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage about a year and a half after leaving office. Despite his brief stint as President, historians recall Arthur as an honest man of his word who exercised sound judgement during a period when scandal and corruption were all the rage.


Albany Rural Cemetery – Albany NY


Specific Location

Section 24, Lot 8; Enter from the cemetery’s south gate. Continue going north through a sort of roundabout. Look for the small signs pointing toward Arthur’s grave and turn right at the intersection of Linden Ave. and Southridge Rd. Then take your first left and Arthur’s memorable gravesite will be visible on your right.


Franklin D. Roosevelt

Posted in Franklin D. Roosevelt Historic Site with tags , on May 7, 2014 by Cade

fdr1January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945

The former Governor of New York and 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is the only President to have served more than two terms and be elected FOUR times. Of, course, with term limits now in place, no President will ever again get the chance to do that. FDR was more than just the name of a highway. His optimism and overcome-all-odds spirit helped pull the U.S. out of the grips of the Great Depression. His New Deal policies shaped modern American society and transformed the political landscape of the country for decades. Of course, he was in office when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor (his famous “Day of Infamy” speech is one of the most recognized in history) and throughout the build up and eventual engagement of America’s participation in World War II.  He was dear friends with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and their relationship greatly affected the outcome of the war. Outside of the Oval Office, Roosevelt had his share of drama. He contracted polio in 1921 and lost the use of his legs. Choosing not to go the way of the invalid, he never let the handicap define him. He was married to Eleanor Roosevelt (no relation…sort of). The two had a fascinating marriage that had it all: infidelity, mommy-issues, lesbian love-cottages. Despite the deteriorating intimacy, they remained married and continued a fairly strong political and social alliance. In April of 1945, just a few months into his fourth term as President – and just as WWII was about to boil over – an exhausted FDR collapsed while resting and posing for a portrait in his Warm Springs, GA retreat. He suffered a massive stroke and died a few hours later. His mistress may or may not have been at his side when he passed. His wife was assuredly not. Either way, it was truly the end of an era.


Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site – Hyde Park, NY

Specific Location

In the rose garden between the Presidential Library and the Roosevelt home, Springwood.


John Quincy Adams

Posted in United First Parish Church with tags , on March 19, 2014 by Cade

adams2July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848

John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States. While his presidency was unremarkable, even by early standards, his life in national politics was certainly impactful. He is the only U.S. President to serve in the House of Representatives AFTER leaving the presidency. He represented Massachusetts in Washington D.C. for the final 17 years of his life. Prior to being elected President, he served in the U.S. Senate and as Secretary of State under James Monroe. Despite all of this, he is probably best remembered for his service and prowess as a foreign diplomat. He was instrumental in the treaty that ended the War of 1812 between the U.S. and Great Britain. Adams also worked to acquire Florida from Spain in 1819. In addition, he was one of the chief architects of the Monroe Doctrine, which put a stop to European colonization of the Americas. In his last years in Congress, Adams warned of the impending crisis that would arise as a result of the slavery issue. At the age of 78, Adams suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in the congressional chamber. He died two days later. He was buried in a temporary vault in Washington before being moved the the family plot in Quincy, MA…only to be moved again into the now expanded vault across the street he had originally built for his parents. So far, that move has stuck.


United First Parish Church – Quincy, MA

Specific Location

Basement vault specifically built for the Adamses; Give the nice ladies a few dollars, take the short tour of the church and pay your respects to both John Q., his wife and his father.


James K. Polk

Posted in Tennessee State Capitol with tags , on March 6, 2014 by Cade

polk1November 2, 1795 – June 15, 1849

I believe many would consider James Knox Polk – the 11th President of the United States – as one of the “lesser known” Presidents. Sort of wedged in there between Millard Filmore and Franklin Pierce. But, in his single 4-year term in office, Polk managed to create quite the legacy. His biggest accomplishment, from a historical standpoint, was taking the nation to war against Mexico over a little plot of land called “Texas.” The U.S. won the Mexican-American war and the landscape of the country, specifically the southwest, was altered forever. And, just for good measure, he also threatened to go to war with Britain over the Pacific Northwest. But that conflict never materialized. He was also credited with implementing the first U.S. postage stamp, creating the Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Institute.  It seems like Polk was the kind of guy who did whatever he wanted and got results. He was so active as President that he, citing health issues accumulated while in office, refused to seek a second term. Good move. He died of cholera a few months after leaving the White House.


Tennessee State Capitol – Nashville, TN

Specific Location

At the northeast corner of the grounds.


Woodrow Wilson

Posted in Washington National Cathedral with tags , on February 27, 2014 by Cade

wilsonw1December 28, 1856 – February 3, 1924

28th President of the United States. A progressive commander-in-chief responsible for a good number of the big-government policies that are still in effect today, Woodrow Wilson got a lot of stuff done. He was known for his oratory skills and as an intellectual leader. He ran for re-election in 1916 with the slogan “He Kept Us Out Of War”…only to finally launch the U.S. into World War I shortly after his second term began. Eh, you do what it takes to win, I guess. To his credit, Germany was defeated and, not only was he instrumental in the formation of the new League of Nations, but he was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize. Back on the home front…he may have been a little racist. Wilson left office in 1921 and lived his few remaining years on S Street in D.C.  He died in 1924 from complications of an earlier stroke and was buried in the Washington National Cathedral. To this day, he remains the only U.S. President buried in Washington D.C. proper.


Washington National Cathedral – Washington D.C.

Specific Location

In the elevated ambulatory along the south side of the Nave.


Andrew Jackson

Posted in The Hermitage with tags , on February 19, 2014 by Cade

jackson6March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845

The 7th President of the United States, Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson was a general who served in the army before entering politics. He was a staunch supporter of states’ rights and limited Federal government. Though, he was adamantly against secession in any form. His aggressive personality (hence the nickname) and frontier background – you did NOT want to duel with Andrew Jackson – made him quite the character. In fact, his opponents regularly referred to him as a “jackass,” which he embraced. This, oddly enough, led to the animal’s likeness being associated with his Democratic party. Jackson drew a good amount of criticism in office for his support of slavery and his forced removal of American Indians from their native land. He served two terms as President and retired to his estate in Tennessee. He died at home at the age of 78.


The Hermitage – Hermitage, TN

jackson - feb 19 2014 - hermitage TN

Specific Location

In the garden to the east of the mansion.


Franklin Pierce

Posted in Old North Cemetery (NH) with tags , , on December 26, 2013 by Cade

pierce1November 23, 1804 – October 8, 1869

The 14th President of the United States, Franklin Pierce was, by all accounts, an incredibly likable guy and certainly the most popular person in his native New Hampshire. But his single-term presidency during the eve of the American Civil War was riddled with unpopular missteps. After working his way through Congress, he was nominated as the Democratic candidate for President in 1852. He won the election by a landslide. But, his decision to approve popular sovereignty in the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed for infighting in the new territories over slavery. He was widely regarded as an ineffective president whose sympathies for the ever-unsettled South did little to quell the approaching division of the country. His personal life was also full of tragedy. All of his children died young, including his youngest son who was killed in a train crash just months before Pierce’s inauguration. A vocal opponent of many of Abraham Lincoln’s decisions during the war, Pierce spent the last years of his life opposing the war and defending his friendship with Confederate President, Jefferson Davis. Pierce died of cirrhosis at the age of 64.


Old North Cemetery – Concord, NH

Specific Location

There’s a wrought-iron fenced section in the middle of this small cemetery, Pierce’s grave is in this section about 2/3 along the western fence.