m. 09 NOV 1836
Facts and Events
Nell was the daughter of a prominent naval officer, and it was said that her rural Vermont-raised husband learned the ways of society from her family. They lived in New York City, where he was a lawyer. She died of pneumonia 20 months before her husband took office, so his sister acted as First Lady.
447. ELLEN LEWIS HERNDON: (350 Frances) Wife of Chester Alan Arthur, 21st President of the United States of America. Ellen Lewis Herndon was born at Culpeper Courthouse on August 30, 1837, in the house built by her Uncle Brodie Herndon (the house is still standing and is known as the Johnson House). She died in New York City on January 12, 1880. In 1842, with her parents, she moved from Fredericksburg to Washington, D. C., and it was here that she attended school and spent most of her childhood. Early in life, she developed a fine voice, later becoming a member of the choir of St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, in which she was confirmed. It was because of her association with this church that her husband, while President, selected it as his church home. While living in Washington, as a young lady, she made the acquaintance of many prominent men and women in the political, Army, Navy, and old-residential circles of Washington Society. She was also a close personal friend of Dolly Madison, whom she visited quite frequently at her home. A few months before the death of her father, in September 1857, the family moved to New York City, where she lived until the day of her death, January 12, 1880. On October 25, 1859, she was married in the Calvary Protestant Episcopal Church, New York, to Chester Alan Arthur, a rising young lawyer who had been introduced to her by her cousin, Dabney Herndon. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Smith Payne. Unfortunately, Mrs. Arthur did not live to see her husband take the oath of office as Vice-President, and later, as President of the United States. Mrs. Arthur died on January 12, 1889, and her husband was sworn in as the 21st President on September 19, 1881. President Arthur's sister, Mrs. John McElroy, acted as his hostess in the White House. President and Mrs. Arthur had three children.
Children (ARTHUR) 562. William Lewis - born December 10, 1860; died Englewood, New Jersey, July 5, 1863. NFI. 563. CHESTER ALAN - born July 25, 1864. 564. Ellen Herndon - born November 21, 1871; died September 6, 1915; married Charles Pinkerton on November 17, 1903. Mr. Pinkerton was a New York Lawyer. He remarried after the death of his wife, Ellen. NFI.
Wedding Reception of a Future President of the United States.
"After the wedding ceremony, a small but elegant wedding reception was held at the handsomely furnished residence of the bride's mother, Frances Elizabeth Hansbrough Herndon, No. 34 West 21st Street, New York City. No account of either the wedding or reception which followed appeared in the newspapers published at the time, but the bills for the repast served to the especially invited guests, of which there could not have been a large number as the house was not a large one, give an idea of the lavish entertainment for which the Hansbrough's were noted." "The house was profusely decorated with flowers scattered throughout the various rooms, there being two hanging baskets, nine vases, 4 dishes, and 7 baskets filled with flowers. They florist also furnished 3 large flat bouquets, 4 small and 2 white ones, probably for the wedding party." "In the dining room, the table had for a centerpiece an epergne filled with flowers, while at either end were bouquets and fruit baskets." "For the wedding breakfast or supper (we do not know the hour when the marriage was solemnized), there was provided 1,700 stewed oysters, 500 pickled oysters, 300 raw oysters, a lobster salad, six dishes of chicken salad, 2 bunches of curled celery, 35 quarts assorted ice cream, 6 molds Charlotte de Dusse, 6 of jelly, 2 of blanc mange, 2 merangue baskets a la creme, 8 pounds fancy mixed cakes, 6 pounds mottoes, apples, pears, grapes, oranges and lemons. For liquors, there were 12 quarts Heidsick champagne, 36 quarts Giesler, 1 ½ gallons old brandy, 1 gallon Bourbon whiskey, 1 ½ gallons Romano sherry, 4 ½ gallons rum, 1 box Cuercoa, and 1- 1/10 of antique concha."
ELLEN LEWIS HERNDON wife of CHESTER A. ARTHUR 21st President of the United States.
In personal appearance, Mrs. Arthur was not handsome nor beautiful as were her mother and so many of her Herndon cousins. She was dignified and carried herself well - in short, she was a striking looking woman. She had brown hair, fair skin, was slender, of medium height, and, being quite near-sighted, wore gutta percha-rimed glasses. Mrs. Arthur's position in New York during the Civil War was a trying one. Her husband was a prominent General in the U. S. Army while all of her male relatives fought in the Armies of the Confederacy, and her female relatives were loyal supporters of what was afterwards termed "The Lost Cause." However, during this fraternal strife, she never forgot her allegiance to her native state. Jokingly, her husband used to call and speak of her as his "Little Rebel Wife." She had a rich contralto voice, and her services were much in demand, and she responded frequently, and with grace, to requests, especially when the proceeds were to be devoted to charity. It was at such a concert that she contracted a cold, brought on by standing in her slippers on the sidewalk while waiting for her carriage on a cold January night. Pneumonia developed quickly, which was followed by heart complications, and she died on January 12, 1880. Her funeral took place from the Church of the Heavenly Rest on 5th Avenue, of which she was a member. The services were conducted by her cousin, Mr. Maury. She was buried in the Arthur lot in Albany, New York. The services at the grave were attended by the Governor of the State, members of the New York Assembly, and other prominent men in the political world in which her husband held a prominent position.
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Ellen Lewis Herndon Arthur.