Sarah Childress Polk
Born: September 4, 1803 at Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Died: August 14, 1891 (aged 87) at Nashville, Tennessee
Spouse: James Polk (m. 1824 – 1849)
First Lady of the United States (1845 – 1849)
Facts about Sarah Childress Polk
She met her husband, James Polk, when she was only twelve years old. During Polk’s political career, Sarah assisted her husband with his speeches, gave him advice on policy matters and played an active role in his campaigns.
She was lively, charming, intelligent, and a good conversationalist. While she enjoyed politics, she also cautioned her husband, whose health was never robust, against overwork.
As First Lady she banned dancing, card games, and hard liquor at official receptions and refused to attend horse races or the theater. Unlike Julia Tyler’s waltzes, the Polk entertainments were sedate and sober affairs which earned the First Lady the nickname “”Sahara Sarah””.
Sarah Childress Polk Childhood
Sarah was born on the Tennessee frontier, but she grew up amidst wealth and refinement. Her father Joel Childress was a successful businessman and planter who wanted his children to have a good education. The frontier offered few opportunities for girls, however. After briefly attending a local school that taught the social graces, Sarah enrolled in the Moravian Female Academy in Salem, North Carolina. The Academy™s strong curriculum included arithmetic, grammar, Bible study, Greek and Roman literature, geography, music, drawing, and sewing. Sarahs stay at Salem was cut short by the unexpected death of her father, but her education there had helped prepare her for her future role on the national stage.
Where is Sarah Childress Polk buried?
She was buried next to the president at their home in Nashville and was later re-interred with him at the Tennessee State Capitol.
How did Sarah Childress Polk die?
She died by natural cause on August 14, 1891, at age 87.