Eliza McCardle Johnson
|Eliza McCardle Johnson|
|First Lady of the United States|
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
|Preceded by||Mary Todd Lincoln|
|Succeeded by||Julia Grant|
|Second Lady of the United States|
March 4, 1865 – April 15, 1865
|Vice President||Andrew Johnson|
|Preceded by||Ellen Hamlin|
|Succeeded by||Ellen Colfax (1869)|
|First Lady of Tennessee|
October 17, 1853 – November 3, 1857
|Preceded by||Frances Owen|
|Succeeded by||Martha Mariah Travis|
March 12, 1862 – March 4, 1865
|Preceded by||Martha Mariah Travis|
|Succeeded by||Eliza O'Brien|
October 4, 1810
|Died||January 15, 1876
|Resting place||Andrew Johnson National Cemetery
|Spouse(s)||Andrew Johnson (m. 1827; d. 1875)|
Eliza McCardle Johnson (October 4, 1810 – January 15, 1876) was the First Lady of the United States, the Second Lady of the United States, and the wife of Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of the United States.
Early life and marriage
Eliza was born in Leesburg, Tennessee, the only child of John McCardle, a shoemaker, and Sarah Phillips. Her father died when Eliza was still in her teens. She was raised by her widowed mother in Greeneville, Tennessee. One day in September 1826, Eliza was chatting with classmates from Rhea Academy when she spotted Andrew Johnson and his family pull into town with all their belongings. They instantly took a liking to each other. Andrew Johnson, 18, married Eliza McCardle, 16, on May 17, 1827, at the home of the bride's mother in Greeneville. Mordecai Lincoln, a distant relative of Abraham Lincoln, presided over the nuptials.
At 16, Eliza Johnson married at a younger age than any other First Lady. She was rather tall and had hazel eyes, brown hair and a good figure. She was better educated than Johnson, who by this time had barely taught himself to read and spell a little. Johnson credited his wife for teaching him to do arithmetic and to write, as he had never attended school. She tutored him patiently, while he labored in his tailor shop. She often read aloud to him.
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The Johnsons had three sons and two daughters, all born in Greeneville:
- Martha Johnson (1828–1901). She married David T. Patterson, who after the Civil War served as U.S. Senator from Tennessee. She served as official White House hostess in place of her mother. The Pattersons maintained a farm outside Greeneville.
- Charles Johnson (1830–1863) – doctor, pharmacist. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he remained loyal to the Union. While recruiting Tennessee boys for the Union Army, he became the object of an intense Confederate manhunt. He joined the Middle Tennessee Union Infantry as an assistant surgeon; he was thrown from his horse and killed.
- Mary Johnson (1832–1883). She married Dan Stover, who served as colonel of the Fourth Tennessee Union Infantry during the Civil War. The Stovers lived on a farm in Carter County, Tennessee. Following the death of her husband in 1864, she married W.R. Brown.
- Robert Johnson (1834–1869) – lawyer and politician. He served for a time in the Tennessee state legislature. During the Civil War, he was commissioned colonel of the First Tennessee Union Cavalry. He was private secretary to his father during his tenure as president. He became alcoholic and committed suicide at age 35.
- Andrew Johnson, Jr. (1852–1879) – journalist. He founded the weekly Greeneville Intelligencer, but it failed after two years. He died soon thereafter at age 27.
First Lady of the United States
She supported her husband in his political career, but had tried to avoid public appearances. During the American Civil War, Confederate authorities ordered her to evacuate her home in Greeneville; she took refuge in Nashville, Tennessee.
A few months later after her husband became president, she joined him in the White House, but she was not able to serve as First Lady due to her poor health from tuberculosis. She remained confined to her bedroom there, leaving the social chores to her daughter Martha Johnson Patterson. Mrs. Johnson appeared publicly as First Lady on only two occasions—at a reception for Queen Emma of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1866 and at the president's birthday party in 1867.
After episodes of tuberculosis, Eliza died on January 15, 1876, at the age of 65 in Greeneville, Tennessee; her husband had died five and a half months earlier.
- "Andrew Johnson: Impact and Legacy". Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
- Ann Bausum (2007). Our Country's First Ladies. National Geographic. p. 55. ISBN 978-1-4263-0006-6.
- National First Ladies' Library. "First Lady Biography: Eliza Johnson". National First Ladies' Library. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
- Ford, Lynne E. (2010). Encyclopedia of Women and American Politics. Infobase Publishing. pp. 259–260. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
- Eliza McCardle Johnson at Find a Grave
- The White House Web Site
- National First Ladies' Library
- Eliza Johnson at C-SPAN's First Ladies: Influence & Image
|Second Lady of the United States
Title next held byEllen Colfax
Mary Todd Lincoln
|First Lady of the United States