The Deception of Franklin Pierce

Presidential History Blog

Some marriages are mismatches.

The Pierces

Young Franklin Pierce D-NH

Franklin Pierce was 30 years old when he married in 1834. Good looking, genial and personable, he waited until he was established in his law practice, and was a sitting New Hampshire Democratic Congressman.

His bride, Jane Appleton, was twenty-eight, considered a spinster, synonymous with “old maid” at the time. She was petite, pretty with finely chiseled features, bookish and very religious. She was also of a melancholy disposition. Geniality and pleasure-loving traits had eluded her.

Newly elected to Congress in 1833, Pierce brought his bride to honeymoon in Washington, DC – a place she quickly grew to loathe. Always frail in health, possibly due to early tuberculosis, she believed the climate was unhealthy. More importantly, she disliked the social and political atmosphere of the nation’s capital. Declining most invitations, she chose to remain in her rooms, except for regular…

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