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Ellen Lewis Herdon Arthur

Ellen (Nell) Herndon was born on August 30, 1837 in Fredricksburg, Virginia.
When she was young her family moved to Washington, D.C.

She was an excellent singer and sang in the St. John's Episcopal Church.

Nell met Chester Arthur in New York in 1856. They were introduced by her cousin Dabney Herndon.

Chester called his wife Nell.

Chester helped Nell and her family with their financial matters when her father died in 1857.

She supported the South during the Civil War.

Nell and Chester were married on October 25, 1859 in New York City.

Ellen Arthur
Library of Congress

His son died when he was two and half years old. He got an infection that caused inflamation of the brain.

She supported her husband's ambitions. She treated their social life as her carreer.

Ten months before Chester Arthur's election as Vice President, Ellen caught a cold. Two days later she was critically ill with pneumonia. On January 10, 1881 she died. She was 42.

Arthur gave a stained glass window in honor of his wife's memory to the St. John's Episcopal Church. The window was placed so he could see it from the White House.

After Nell's death Arthur's younger sister Mary McElroy served as hostess during his term in office.

Ellen and Chester are buried in Rural Cemetery in Albany, New York.

 

 

Topics

First Ladies Home

U.S. Presidents Home





 

Sources of Information:

Books:
Barden, Cindy,Meet the First Ladies, Lorenz Corp.
Gormley, Beatrice,First Ladies: Women Who Called The White House Home (First Ladies) , Scholastic Paperbacks, 1997
Smith, Carter, Editor,Smithsonian Presidents and First Ladies DK Publishing, New York, 2002

Web Sites:
The White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/firstladies/
Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/odmdhtml/