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 at age 64 in Concord, Merrimack, New Hampshire, United Statesmap
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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

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

Succeeded by
Leonard Wilcox



Descendant of : Lieutenant Benjamin Pierce Jr. (1757 - 1839) Revolutionary War Patriot.
Notables Project
Franklin Pierce is Notable.

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.

[1][1]Franklin Pierce a northern Democrat believed that the abolitionist movement was a fundamental threat to the nation's unity, he alienated anti-slavery groups by signing the Kansas–Nebraska Act[2] and enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act[3]. Conflict between North and South continued after Pierce's presidency, and, after Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, the Southern states seceded, resulting in the American Civil War.

Sectional confrontations escalated during the 1850s, the Democratic Party split between North and South grew deeper. The conflict was papered over at the 1852 and 1856 conventions by selecting men who had little involvement in sectionalism, but they made matters worse. Historian Roy F. Nichols[4]explains why Franklin Pierce was not up to the challenges a Democratic president had to face:

As a national political leader Pierce was an accident. He was honest and tenacious of his views but, as he made up his mind with difficulty and often reversed himself before making a final decision, he gave a general impression of instability. Kind, courteous, generous, he attracted many individuals, but his attempts to satisfy all factions failed and made him many enemies. In carrying out his principles of strict construction he was most in accord with Southerners, who generally had the letter of the law on their side. He failed utterly to realize the depth and the sincerity of Northern feeling against the South and was bewildered at the general flouting of the law and the Constitution, as he described it, by the people of his own New England. At no time did he catch the popular imagination. His inability to cope with the difficult problems that arose early in his administration caused him to lose the respect of great numbers, especially in the North, and his few successes failed to restore public confidence. He was an inexperienced man, suddenly called to assume a tremendous responsibility, who honestly tried to do his best without adequate training or temperamental fitness.

In 1854, Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois[5]—a key Democratic leader in the Senate—pushed the Kansas–Nebraska Act through Congress. President Franklin Pierce signed the bill into law in 1854. The Act opened Kansas Territory and Nebraska Territory to a decision by the residences on whether slavery would be legal or not. Previously it had been illegal there. Thus the new law implicitly repealed the prohibition on slavery in territory north of 36° 30′ latitude that had been part of the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Supporters and enemies of slavery poured into Kansas to vote slavery up or down. The armed conflict was known as "Bleeding Kansas"[6] and it shook the nation. A major re-alignment took place among voters and politicians. The Whig Party fell apart and the new Republican Party was founded in opposition to the expansion of slavery and to the Kansas–Nebraska Act. The new party had little support in the South, but it soon became a majority in the North by pulling together former Whigs and former Free Soil Democrats.[7][2]

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. [3]
  • 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


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


  3. 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 * [8] 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

  • William Arba Ellis, ed., Norwich University, 1819-1911: Her History, Her Graduates, Her Roll of Honor (Montpelier, Vermont: The Capital City Press, 1911), 2:14-16.

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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:
posted by Scott Hutchins

This week's featured connections are from the War of the Roses: Franklin is 16 degrees from Margaret England, 14 degrees from Edmund Beaufort, 14 degrees from Margaret Stanley, 15 degrees from John Butler, 15 degrees from Henry VI of England, 15 degrees from Louis XI de France, 14 degrees from Isabel of Clarence, 13 degrees from Edward IV of York, 14 degrees from Thomas Fitzgerald, 14 degrees from Richard III of England, 13 degrees from Henry Stafford and 12 degrees from Perkin Warbeck on our single family tree. Login to see how you relate to 33 million family members.