Franklin Pierce
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Franklin Pierce (1804 - 1869)

President Franklin Pierce
Born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 19 Nov 1834 in Amherst, New Hampshiremap
Died in Concord, Merrimack, New Hampshire, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 22 Sep 2010
This page has been accessed 14,181 times.
The Presidential Seal.
Franklin Pierce was the President of the United States.
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Preceded by
13th President
Millard Fillmore




Preceded by
John Page
Franklin Pierce
14th President
of the United States
Presidential Seal
1853—1857

US Senator (Class 3)
from New Hampshire
Seal of the US Senate
1837—1842
Succeeded by
15th President
James Buchanan




Succeeded by
Leonard Wilcox


Contents

Biography

Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the United States, was born November 23, 1804, in Hillsborough New Hampshire, in a home raised out of the wilderness by his father, a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

His father was a man of unquestioned integrity, a strong mind, however uncultivated, and an uncompromising Democrat. Franklin’s mother was an affectionate, intelligent, and devoutly-religious Christian woman.

Franklin, the sixth of eight children in the family, was a handsome boy, generous, warm-hearted, and making friends of all ages wherever he went. Instinctively a gentleman, he avoided harsh interactions with a level of natural tact that dictated what was agreeable to him, and others. He was a good student, despite any lack of genius and natural devotion to books and reading.

In 1820, at the age of 16, he entered Bowdoin College at Brunswick, Maine. He was popular with all the students and teachers due to the strength of his moral character and his courteous and easy-going nature, and was admired as a winning speaker.

After graduating in 1824, Franklin began studying the law in the office of Judge Woodbury, a distinguished lawyer in New Hampshire. He began to follow his employer into a political career, at first working to elect Andrew Jackson to the Presidency. While practicing law, he was elected to represent the town as a State Legislator. The last two years of his term was spent working as Speaker of the House.

In 1833, at age 29, he was elected to the U.S. Congress. At the age of 33, he joined the Senate as its youngest member at the time Martin Van Buren was assuming the Presidency. While a Representative in 1834, he married Jane Means Appleton and, together, they had three sons. All are now buried near each other in the family plot.

Franklin and his family moved to Concord, the capital of New Hampshire, in 1838, due to his increasing fame and growing legal business. He was appointed, but refused, the office of U.S. Attorney General under President James K. Polk, due to his professional commitments and his wife’s failing health. He also declined the Democratic Party’s nomination for Governor of New Hampshire about the same time.

The war with Mexico forced Franklin to join the U.S. Army. He embarked with his troops in May 1847 as a Brigadier General. He was honored as a brave and true soldier throughout the hostilities. Returning to New Hampshire after the war, he was welcomed by advocates of the war, but coldly by those who opposed the war. He resumed his law practice after arriving back home.

He frequently involved himself in politics, actively supporting the pro-slavery wing of the Democratic Party, and enforcement of the infamous Fugitive Slave Law. His positions shocked the religious-leaning politicians of the North, becoming known as “the Northern man with Southern principles.”

The Democratic Convention in Baltimore in June 1852 met to nominate a Presidential candidate. No one earned the required 2/3 vote in four days and 35 ballots but, after 14 additional ballots, Franklin topped all the other candidates on the 49th ballot, with a vote of 282 to 11. He defeated the Whig candidate, Gen. Winfield Scott, and was inaugurated President March 4, 1853.

Franklin’s administration proved to be one of the most controversial in American history to that point, primarily due to the conflicts between slavery and freedom, proving the nation could not long exist “half slave and half free.” His efforts to work with the South were all in vain, every year became more violent than the last, and the spectre of a civil war became more real. At the close of his term in office, the North was alienated from him due to his administration’s activities regarding anti-slavery sentiments. He had also managed to alienate the Southern slaveholders, who forgot how he had originally supported them so vigorously. James Buchanan was selected to succeed him in office.,

President Pierce returned to his home in Corcord in March 1857. His three sons were now dead, and Jane was dying of consumption.

When the Civil War divided the country into two distinct factions, Franklin remained steady in his beliefs and loaned his voice and support to the South. He did nothing to support the U.S. government, the North, yet remained in Concord until he died in October 1869.


Other information: Franklin Pierce was the 14th President of the United States and the first, and only, President from New Hampshire. He was a very complex individual a northerner with southern sympathies. He was a successful lawyer by trade that took part in the Mexican American war becoming a brigadier general. He had a relationship with Jefferson Davis during the Civil war that many considered treason. All of his children died young and after the presidency his alcoholism attributed to the demise of his marriage.

1804 Birth 1834 Marriage 1835 1st Child 1853 Elected President 1869 Death
1804 November 23
Born to Benjamin and Anna, the fifth of eight children most likely at the Franklin Pierce Homestead, which his father had built that year in Hillsborough, New Hampshire. [1]
  • Education: Phillips Exeter Academy
  • Alma mater: Bowdoin College
  • Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Hampshire's At-large district March 4, 1833 – March 4, 1837
  • 1834: Marriage Jane Means Appleton
  • United States Senator from New Hampshire March 4, 1837 – February 28, 1842
  • Children: Franklin Pierce, Frank Robert Pierce, Benjamin Pierce
  • Service/branch U.S. Army 1846 - 1848 Rank Brigadier General
  • 14th President of the United States March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857 vice president
  • Died: October 8, 1869 (aged 64), Concord, New Hampshire, Resting place Find A Grave: Memorial #814 Old North Cemetery, Concord, New Hampshire

Most Distant Known Ancestors

Paternal David Monroe born Scotland, husband of Agnes
Link to 10 Generation Paternal Chart
Maternal Elizabeth Jones born in 1730, wife of Spence Monroe
Link to 10 Generation Maternal Chart

Legacy

  • Four states have named counties in President Pierce's honor. They are: Georgia, Nebraska, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Sources

  1. Another possible birthplace was the family's former log cabin, which site is now under Franklin Pierce Lake.
  • Franklin Pierce, Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York.

Possible Source to check * [1] Author: Gary Boyd Roberts, Title: Notable Kin, Volume One, Publication: Name: Name: Carl Boyer, 3rd; Location: Santa Clarita, California; Date: 1998, Repository: Published in cooperation with the New England Historic genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts

Photo here: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/dag/item/2004664041/



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Comments: 4

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Some sources give his middle initial as B. Have they been debunked?

Is Anna Kendrick the actor of the same family as his mother?

posted by Scott Hutchins
I have never seen a source with a middle initial of B. If you mean there are family trees with that initial, could be, but surely no reliable sources.

Anna Kendrick is a living person and we do not discuss living persons that are not members.

posted by Robin Lee
I remember learning his middle initial was B when I was a kid. This at least makes me think I'm not crazy even if it's not accurate: https://www.amazon.com/Franklin-Pierce-Jacksonian-Democracy-Presidents/dp/1612099904
posted by Scott Hutchins

Rejected matches › Benjamin Franklin Pierce