The War of 1812
Dolley Payne Todd Madison (1768-1849) was the wife of President James Madison and the First Lady from 1809 to 1817. Born in North Carolina, she moved with her family to Philadelphia at age 15. She married John Todd, a lawyer, in 1790 and had two sons. Her husband and youngest son died in 1793 during a yellow fever epidemic. The next year, Aaron Burr introduced Dolley to James Madison, seventeen years her senior, and they were married the following year.
As First Lady, Dolley Madison completed the furnishing of the White House and made it the center of social and political life in Washington, D.C. During the British attack on the capital, she remained in the city until critical White House documents and the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington had been safely removed.