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Martin Van Buren never remarried after his wife, Hannah, died on February 5, 1819. He entered the White House in 1837 as a widower with four bachelor sons. Accustomed to living in elegant style, he immediately began to refurbish a mansion shabby from public use under Andrew Jackson. Dolley Madison lived nearby, and when her young relative-by-marriage Angelica Singleton came from South Carolina for a visit, the two went to the White House to pay a call.

Angelica's aristocratic manners, excellent education, and handsome face won the heart of the president's eldest son, Abraham Van Buren. They were married in November 1838, and a honeymoon abroad the next spring polished her social experience. Thereafter, while Abraham served as the president's private secretary, Angelica presided as lady of the house. The only flaw in her pleasure in this role was the loss of a baby daughter. Born at the White House, the girl lived only a few hours.

In later years, though they spent much time in South Carolina and in Europe, Angelica and her husband made their home in New York City; she died there in 1878.

Click here to learn more about the enslaved households of the Van Buren family.

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