Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday.... James Monroe

James Monroe

[The following is taken from Find A Grave]

Birth: Apr. 28, 1758
Death: Jul. 4, 1831

5th United States President. James Monroe was born in Westmoreland County Virginia to parents not only wealthy but rich in legacy with kinship to the Royal Family. Tutored until eleven then educated at the finest school in Virginia, Campbelton Academy with the future Chief Justice John Marshall a classmate. He attended the College of William and Mary then studied law under Thomas Jefferson. He fought in the American Revolution. Elected to the Virginia legislature, then a member of Congress serving in the nations capitol of New York City where he met Elizabeth Kortright only seventeen when they married. Monroe served in The United States Senate and appointed Secretary of State under President Madison. Elected to the presidency serving two terms, Monroe was uncontested for re-election to his second term. Some highlights of his presidency: Missouri Compromise admitted that state as a "slave" state. Acquired Florida from Spain and announced the Monroe Doctrine as a fundamental foreign policy position. Upon assuming the Presidency, the couple lived at the nearby Octagon house because the White House was a ruin after the British burning. In order to refurbish the mansion and because of a need for money, they sold their own furnishings to the government. Upon leaving the White house, the couple planned to retire to Highland, a farm he had purchased from his friend Thomas Jefferson. Unfortunately pressing debts combined with Mrs Monroe's poor health, forced the president to sell Highland and retire to his lesser plantation of Oak Hill. His wife died and was interred in a vault on the estate. His health and finances declined further and eventually forced to spent his remaining time at the home of his daughter in New York City where he died peacefully from heart failure on July 4th. Thousands of mourners followed his body up Broadway to the Gouverneur family vault in Marble Cemetery while the church bells tolled and guns fired from the New York Battery. His death triggered a nightmarish journey of his body back to his native Virginia. A petition by that state to return his body resulted in exhumation with the casket being placed on a barge located on the East River where it set sail for Richmond. After surviving a harrowing journey beset by storms, the barge arrived along the James River for unloading. An accident occurred killing the son of Alexander Hamilton whom Monroe had nearly pistol dueled over a disagreement years before. Interment finally proceeded in Hollywood Cemetery. James Monroe's legacy remains today at many preserved sites: His actual birthsite is located on a 70 acre site in Colonial Beach, Virginia and is owned by Westmoreland County. There is a marker located by the road. The birthhouse was dismantled years before but an outline of the house remains. Ash Lawn-Highland, Charlottesville which was the home to the couple until compelled to sell for financial reasons. It is preserved and owned by Monroe's alma mater, the College of William and Mary. Oak Hill located at Aldie, Virginia where the couple lived in retirement and where his wife and daughter died and were buried. Lafayette visited the mansion on his tour of America and where the Monroe Doctrine was drafted. It remains in private hands. The Monroe Museum, Fredericksburg contains many artifacts from the President as well as thousands of documents, manuscripts, images, journals and drawings. When James Monroe was reinterred in Hollywood Cemetery, its prestige was established. In the ground outside the monument are buried his wife, his daughter and her husband. They were moved from Oak Hill years after the death of President Monroe. (bio by: Donald Greyfield)

James Monroe's crypt at Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA

The enclosed fence around James Monroe's crypt

This memorial plaque at his crypt reads:
James Monroe
Born in Westmoreland County 28 April 1758.
Died in the City of New York 4 July 1831.
By Order of the General Assembly
His Remains were removed to this Cemetery 5 July 1858.
As an evidence of the affection of Virginia
For Her Good and Honored Son.

Hollywood Cemetery
Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia

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