Dolley was born May 20, 1768 in Greensboro (at that time the Quaker community of New Garden), North Carolina. Widowed early, she eventually found herself living in Philadelphia and it was there that wealthy Virginia planter and statesman James Madison sought her out, and after four months, wed her. In her eight years in Washington, D.C. (1809-1817), she made the White House a most delightful place to visit. Beautiful gregarious, buoyant, and cheerful, the regular social gatherings she hosted were lively events at which anyone would feel welcome.
Serving as Washington, D. C., hostess for President Thomas Jefferson at the turn of the 19th century, and then as mistress of the White House when James Madison was president, Dolley added fun and sparkle to the social scene in the young republic.
HOW DOLLEY MADISON SAVED THE DAY
Although Dolley was unable to personally carry the Washington portrait with her during her flight from the White House, she delayed her departure until the last possible moment to arrange for its safekeeping.
With the conclusion of his second term, James and Dolley retired to Montpelier. On June 28, 1836, James Madison died at the age of 85. Their 42-year marriage had been a remarkably blissful and happy one. In 1837, Dolley returned to Washington and resumed her former status in the social life there. On July 12, 1849, Dolley Madison died in Washington at age 81. She was buried in the Congressional Cemetery. Later her remains were moved to Montpelier next to her husband's