Ann Gerry

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Ann Thompson Gerry
Ann Thompson Gerry.jpg
Second Lady of the United States
In office
March 4, 1813 – November 23, 1814
Preceded by Abigail Adams
Succeeded by Hannah Minthorne Tompkins
Personal details
Born (1763-08-12)August 12, 1763
New York City, New York
Died March 17, 1849(1849-03-17) (aged 85)
New Haven, Connecticut
Spouse(s) Elbridge Gerry
Relations James T. Austin (son-in-law)

Ann Thompson Gerry (/ˈɡɛri/; August 12, 1763 – March 17, 1849) was the wife of Vice-President Elbridge Gerry. She is regarded as the second Second Lady of the United States following Abigail Adams because Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, and George Clinton were widowers during their tenures as Vice-President.

Life[edit]

Ann Thompson was the daughter of James Thompson (1727–1812) a wealthy Irishman who made his fortune in the merchant trade, and Catharine (Walton) Thompson, daughter of a wealthy New Yorker. Thompson's business was by 1750 based in New York City, where Ann was born in 1763. She was educated in Dublin, Ireland, while her older brothers were educated in Scotland and eventually joined the British Army.[1] Upon completion of her education in the mid-1780s she returned to New York, where some called her "the most beautiful woman in the United States".[2] There she caught the eye of Elbridge Gerry, a Marblehead, Massachusetts politician twenty years her elder who was serving in the Confederation Congress. Their romance was apparently well underway by late 1785, and they were married on January 12, 1786, at New York's Trinity Church.[2]

The couple had ten children between 1787 and 1801 (only one of which died young). Her husband was frequently concerned over her health, but was also frequently away.[3] The family finances were troubled in the later years of her husband's life; debts that his brother had incurred and Gerry had guaranteed were only paid off from the salary he received as Vice President of the United States between 1812 and his death in 1814, leaving the widow with an estate that was rich in land and poor in cash. Massachusetts Senator Christopher Gore proposed that the vice presidential salary be paid her for the rest of her life, but Congress rejected the idea because it might set a precedent for such payments.[4]

She was thereafter supported by her children, and died in New Haven, Connecticut on March 17, 1849.[5] She was buried in New Haven's Old Burying Ground (now under the New Haven Green).[6]

References[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Abigail Adams
Second Lady of the United States
1813–1814
Succeeded by
Hannah Minthorne Tompkins