Presidential First Lady. She was born Elizabeth Kortright "Eliza" in New York City to a father who was a Loyalist officer serving in the British Army. She met the future president James Monroe when he was a representative and the capitol of the nation was New York City. They were married at Trinity Episcopal Church, she but seventeen and her new spouse twenty-eight. His political career and appointment as French Minister kept the Monroes on the move while the family increased by two daughters and a son who died in infancy. For seventeen years Monroe, his wife at his side, alternated between foreign missions and service as governor or legislator of Virginia. With the inheritance of a plantation (Oak Hill) they had a home. His appearance on the Washington scene was a prelude to becoming President. When the Presidential couple arrived, the White House was being reconstructed after its burning by the British. They were first quartered at Octagon House. Before moving into the refurbished mansion, the Monroe's sold their furnishings to the government for use in the White House. Elizabeth's poor health was kept secret as she suffered from epilepsy which curtailed her social activity as First Lady. Her daughter Maria was wed at the White House but it was a small private event. With the completion of their term, the couple moved to Oak Hill for retirement. Elizabeth after several severe illness died at the age of 62 but not before burning all the letters exchanged between the Presidential couple. She was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery. James Monroe due to poor health moved to New York City and was residing with his younger daughter where he died. The public was able to pay their respects after the casket was placed on a temporary stage in front of City Hall. After a funeral service at St Paul's Episcopal Church, James Monroe was interred in an underground crypt in historic Marble Cemetery. Twenty-five years later he was exhumed and transferred to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. Years later Elizabeth was exhumed from Oak Hill and reunited with her husband and reinterred near him at Hollywood Cemetery. Oak Hill is today privately owned, but the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library was developed at Fredericksburg, Virginia, open to the public, and is maintained by the University of Mary Washington.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield
ELIZABETH KORTRIGHT MONROE
PRESIDENT JAMES MONROE
BORN 1768 - DIED SEPTEMBER 23, 1830