Part 2 of 3
Learn More About the Eight U.S. Presidents Who Were Born in Virginia
This is Part 2 of a 3-Part Series on The Eight Presidents From Virginia – Their Birthplace. Part 1 was about President George Washington and President Thomas Jefferson.
This article is about President James Madison, President James Monroe, and President William Henry Harrison.
Virginia State Capitol Rotunda, where the "Presidents From Virginia" busts are on display.
James Madison was the 4th President of the United States, and was the third of eight Presidents from Virginia.
On March 16, 1751, James Madison, Jr. was born. He was the first of twelve children that his parents, James Madison, Sr. and Nelly Conway Madison, would have. He was born at his maternal grandparents’ home, Belle Grove Plantation at Port Conway, VA. He grew up at Mount Pleasant Plantation, in Orange County, VA. At the age of 11, he was sent away to study (geography, mathematics, and languages) with a well-known instructor. He returned home at age 16, to prepare for college. Madison chose the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) for his college education, and graduated in 1771. However, he remained at the school for more studies and did not return to Virginia until 1772.
Much of Madison’s life was devoted to serving his country as a politician. When serving in the Virginia State Legislature, he and Thomas Jefferson began a friendship that would last a lifetime. In addition to his service to Virginia, he was a Delegate to the Continental Congress, the Congress of the Confederation, U.S. House of Representatives, served as Secretary of State under Thomas Jefferson, and was elected the 4th President of the United States. President James Madison served two terms, from March 4, 1809 to March 4, 1817.
James Madison married Dolley Payne Todd on September 15, 1794. This was the first marriage for Madison, who was 43. His bride, Dolley, was a widow with one son, Payne, from her first marriage.
James Madison is often called the “Father of the Constitution,” since he played such a large part in the drafting of the United States Constitution. He has also been called the “Father of the Bill of Rights,” since he was so instrumental in writing them.
James Madison passed away on June 28, 1836, at the age of 85, at his home, Montpelier, and he is buried in the Madison Family Cemetery located there.
James Monroe was the 5th President of the United States, and was the fourth of eight Presidents from Virginia.
James Monroe was born in Westmoreland County, VA, on April 28, 1758. His parents were Spence Monroe and Elizabeth Jones Monroe, and he was one of five children. His father was a successful tobacco planter. From the age of 11 through 16, James Monroe attended the Parson Campbell's school. Monroe’s father died when he was 16, and he inherited his father’s assets. Also, during his sixteenth year, he entered the College of William and Mary. Several months after enrolling at the College, he joined the Continental Army, the Third Virginia Regiment, and dropped out of school. He remained in the Army until 1780 and attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After leaving the Army, he spent three years learning law from Thomas Jefferson.
His remarkable career included serving as a Delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates, the Congress of the Confederation, United States Minister to France, and United States Minister to the United Kingdom. He served two terms as Governor of Virginia, was the 7th United States Secretary of State, the 8th United States Secretary of War, and the 5th President of the United States. President James Monroe was inaugurated on March 4, 1817 and served until March 4, 1825. While he contributed much to the growth of the new country, he is probably best known for the Monroe Doctrine.
On February 16, 1786, at the Trinity Episcopal Church in New York, James Monroe married Elizabeth Kortright. After their honeymoon, they lived with her father in New York, while Monroe served out his term in Congress. They had three children; they lost their son when he was approximately 16 months old, but the two girls lived to adulthood.
After the death of his wife, Elizabeth, in 1830, he left Virginia to live with his daughter Maria Gouverneur, in New York City. It was where he died on July 4, 1831. He followed two other Presidents who died on July 4 – Thomas Jefferson and John Adams – who both died on July 4, 1826. July 4, 1831 was also the fifty-fifth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. He was buried in New York City; however, in 1858, his body was moved to the James Monroe Tomb in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA. In 1903, his wife’s body was moved to Hollywood Cemetery, too.
William Henry Harrison was the 9th President of the United States, and was the fifth of eight Presidents from Virginia.
William Henry Harrison was born into a prominent political family on February 9, 1773. His father, Benjamin Harrison V, and his mother, Elizabeth, had seven children, and William Henry was the youngest. He was born at Berkeley Plantation, which is located in Charles City County, VA, the family’s home place. In addition to being a planter, his father was active in politics and signed the Declaration of Independence. Harrison enrolled at Hampden-Sydney College in 1787, when he was 14, and studied there until 1790, at which time his father sent him to a school in Southampton County. Later that year, his father sent him to the University of Pennsylvania to study medicine. When his father died in 1791, he had no money to continue his medical education. At the suggestion of Virginia Governor Henry Lee, Harrison joined the U. S. Army and was assigned to the Northwest Territory. Learning from his commanding officers, he rose through the ranks.
Lieutenant Harrison met Anna Symmes in 1795, the daughter of a prominent judge, and when Harrison asked to marry her, her father refused. So, when Anna’s father was away on a business trip, the couple eloped, and they were married on November 25, 1795. Of the ten children they had, one died in infancy, and the others lived into adulthood.
After resigning from the Army, William Henry Harrison went on to hold many political offices: Secretary of the Northwest Territory, U.S. House of Representatives (Northwest Territory), Governor of Indiana Territory, Governor of the District of Louisiana, United States Senator, and Ambassador to Colombia. In 1840, he won the election to become the 9th President of the United States, and his inauguration was held on March 4, 1841. On that day, a wet and cold day, he spoke for about two hours. He was taken sick on March 26, and it was believed that it was from his exposure on Inauguration Day. Nine days later, April 4, 1841, he died. President William Henry Harrison was the first U. S. President to die while in office. President Harrison is buried in the William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial, in North Bend, Ohio.
This article, The Eight Presidents From Virginia – Their Birthplace, is being continued in Part 3.
Part 1: The Eight Presidents From Virginia – Their Birthplace – Part 1: Washington and Jefferson
Part 3: The Eight Presidents From Virginia – Their Birthplace – Part 3: John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson
Location of the Birthplaces for the Eight Presidents From Virginia
President James Madison, President James Monroe, and President William Henry Harrison
38Â° 10.766â² N, 77Â° 11.128â² W.
38Â° 14.525â² N, 76Â° 59.422â² W.
12602 Harrison Landing Rd, Charles City, VA 23030, USA