Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Tafts in:
 • Arlington National Cemetery
 • Arlington
 • Arlington County
 • Virginia
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Helen "Nellie" Herron Taft
Birth: Jun. 2, 1861
Hamilton County
Ohio, USA
Death: May 22, 1943
District of Columbia
District Of Columbia, USA

Presidential First Lady. She was born Helen Herron in Cincinnati to a father who was a successful lawyer. Helen attended Miami University and graduated from the University of Cincinnati. She was even a guest of President Hayes a former law partner of her father, at the White House. She met the future President William Howard Taft while on a casual sledding party in Cincinnati. He having little money, Helen defrayed his courting expenses by insisting on dutch treat dates. He labeled her with the nickname "Nellie" and was a form of identity the rest of her life. After their marriage, the new Mr's Taft welcomed each step in her husband's career: state judge, Solicitor General of the United States, federal circuit judge and then an appointment to the Philippines as head of the American civil government. Helen and their children joined him. William was appointed Secretary of War and she traveled with him. Taft was well qualified for the Presidency when they moved into the White House. However, barely two months after the inauguration, she suffered a severe stroke. Within a year, she regained her speech and mobility and able to resume her duties. The White House barn was torn down and the Taft cow, Pauline Wayne was sent to a local farm marking the end of farm animals on the mansion grounds. Helen was instrumental in bringing the famous Japanese Cherry Trees to Washington although the first shipment arrived infected with a virus and had to be destroyed. The four year term was famous for its social events, the most outstanding was an evening garden party for several thousand guests on their silver wedding anniversary. Upon leaving the White House, the ex-president began teaching law at Yale University, while Nellie traveled. With his appointment as Chief Justice, the family was back in Washington and would never leave. She was the first First Lady to publish her autobiography "Recollections of Full Years". When William died, he was interred in Arlington National Cemetery. Helen's son Robert came to live in the City as the Senator from Ohio. Upon her own death she became the first presidential wife to be buried at Arlington. The famous Japanese cherry trees, planted around the Tidal Basin at her request form a notable, enduring, living memorial to First Lady Helen Herron Taft.  (bio by: Donald Greyfield (inactive)) 
Family links: 
  William Howard Taft (1857 - 1930)*
  Robert Alphonso Taft (1889 - 1953)*
  Helen Taft Manning (1891 - 1987)*
  Charles Phelps Taft (1897 - 1983)*
*Calculated relationship
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 30, Lot S-14, Grid Y/Z-39.5
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Nov 30, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 7396
Helen Nellie <i>Herron</i> Taft
Added by: ronald deavy (Inactive)
Helen Nellie <i>Herron</i> Taft
Added by: Mr. Ed
Helen Nellie <i>Herron</i> Taft
Added by: Screwtape
There are 3 more photos not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Robert David Miller
 Added: Jul. 6, 2014
Helen Louise Herron "Nellie" Taft: Madam, you will be remembered as the wife of William Howard Taft and First Lady of the United States from 1909 to 1913. With your parents, you attended the twenty-fifth wedding anniversary celebration of President and Mr...(Read more)
 Added: Jun. 2, 2014

- Janis Coleman
 Added: Jun. 2, 2014
There are 278 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
Do you have a photo to add? Click here
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.2 after 139 votes)

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service