Dolley Payne Madison

Alyssa Radtke

Dolley Madison

Dolley Madison was a lovely lady who worked hard and adored her family. Did you know that she came from and enormous family? Dolley married two men before becoming the First Lady and didn't have many kids. Have you ever wondered what it was like to be the First Lady of the United States? Dolley Madison is very interesting to learn about, and I will first be going a little more into her huge family.

Early Life

Did you know that Dolley Madison cam from an enormous family? She was born in Guilford County, North Carolina on May 20th, 1768. Her father's name was John Payne and Mary Payne was her mother. Little Dolley called her mother "Mother Amy". She was the oldest daughter from a family of eight children. Dolley Madison had four brothers and three sisters. Surprisingly, there are NO records of any formal education. Sadly, her youngest son and first husband didn't have very good luck in 1790.
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Marriage and Kids

Dolley Madison married two men before becoming the First Lady and isn't have many kids. She became Dolley Payne Todd after marrying John Todd. They had two kids named Payne and William. William was older than Payne. Later, into three years of their marriage, an epidemic of yellow fever broke out in Philadelphia. Dolley's husband and her newborn son fell victim. Since John Todd passed away, she decided to remarry. At the age of 26, Dolley Madison married James Madison and they had NO children. Fifteen years after they got married Dolley became the First Lady.
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Being the First Lady

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be the First Lady of the United States? Dolley Madison became the First Lady after marrying James Madison when her name was changed to Dolley Payne Madison. She was the First Lady from 1809-1817. When Dolley Payne Madison lived in the White House, she saved the Lansdowne Portrait from the British trying to attack the White House in retaliation for the burning of York, which is now Toronto. She had some men brake the frame to pry the painting off the wall. When the inaugural ball accurd, Dolley looked beautiful in her yellow dress that she wore. Dolley was a wonderful First Lady.


There is a lot more about Dolley Payne Madison, but I chose to write about those three things because in my opinion they are the most interesting things about her. She was a great big sister to many younger sisters, and a very good younger sister to her older brothers. Dolley married two men because her first husband, John Todd, died from Yellow Fever. She was also an amazing First Lady who did wel in her life. As you can see, Dolley Payne Madison came from a big family, married twice with not many kids, and proudly became the First Lady of the United States.


  • Epidemic- Affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number or individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time/ Contagious
  • Victim- Someone that is harmed by an unpleasant event ( by illness or accident)
  • Lansdowne Portrait- A painting of George Washington done by Gilbert Stuart in 1796
  • Retaliation- To do something bad to someone who has hurt you or treated you badly/ To get revenge
  • Inaugural- The address or speech made by a person when formally admitted to office



  1. A Discovery Biography Dolley Madison
  2. Profiles In American History #2
  3. Scholastic Encyclopedia of Woman In The United States

  2. SIRS Discoverer
  3. World Book Students