Category Archives: U.S. Presidents

DCs and Presidents – William Henry Harrison, 1841

William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison, President, 1841

(Passages from Provincial Annals used with permission of Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)
We continue our series on Presidents and Daughters of Charity with William Henry Harrison, who visited Emmitsburg while campaigning for the presidency in 1836. While in Emmitsburg, he visited the Central House, met with the Sisters and the students at St. Joseph’s Academy, and gave an address. The Provincial Annals of 1836 record some of the details. In the account below, “Mother” refers to Mother Rose White, then the superior of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s.

11th. Tuesday. Rev. Mr. Souring said mass. Gen. Wm Harrison, one of the candidates for the Presidency visited the Institution. Mother had received a note in the morning making know the Gen.’s arrival in town and requesting that attention would be paid him. She accordingly wrote a note inviting him to the vale. He came about 11 o’clock accompanied by Mr. Montgomery, nephew of the last Mrs. Montgomery (of happy memory) of Philadelphia. Mr. McDonough of Phil., Drs. Taney and Dr. Fields of Emmitsburg and others whose names are not know. Mother accompanied them to every part of both houses. They entered the study room, the last were the children were all assembled as the Gen. entered. Miss M. Malloy played Hail Columbia as soon as he was seated. Mrs. C. Schnabel addressed him, the piece having been composed about two hours previous by Rev. Mr. Souring. The Gen. replied, all parties appeared pleased. At parting Mother presented him with a miniature picture of the Redeemer, which had been painted by Miss Miriam Walley. The General proceeded to the Mountain where he was received with every mark of esteem & respect. He as well as those who accompanied him dined there, before the Gen. left St. Joseph’s. He granted holiday to the children.

An address of Welcome to Gen. Wm. H. Harrison by the Srs. of St. Joseph’s, Emmitsburg, MD.
Welcome! Brave Champion of thy Country’s rights! Hope of the friendly in the hour of need; when wild the cry of war arose, how off hast thou undaunted, braved the battle’s shock, to aid, defend, preserve thy Country’s Sons.

Thrice Welcome to our Vale within its calm retreat. Still lives the Memory of deeds of worth achieved by Thee! and those of kindred Soul, who for Columbia’s fame, and liberty & peace have fought and bled Health, Peach & Honor, on their steps attend and may Country’s smile & blessing be to thee but the sweet promise of that perfect bliss with which may Heaven crown our country’s serves, the great, the good, the generous, and brave.
St. Joseph’s, Oct. 11th, 1836

Harrison lost the election of 1836 to Martin Van Buren. Harrison ran again for President in 1840 and won. He did not visit Emmitsburg during the 1840 presidential race, but the Provincial Annals from 1841 do include a passing reference to his inauguration on March 4.

Thursday 4. The great day of inauguration of “Harrison” far removed from the scene of action, we happily are preserved from any of its noise and bustle.

The Provincial Annals also contain a reference to Harrison’s sudden death, barely one month after taking office.

6th, Tuesday. Rain till mass time. Rev. Mr. Flaut said mass. Cleared up at 8. Putting up scaffolding round the steeple for the printers. Report says President Harrison is dead, is it true? …

The report was true. Harrison had caught a cold that developed into pneumonia and had died on April 4, the first President to die while in office. Harrison’s one month in office is still the shortest term of any President.


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DCs and Presidents – John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams, President, 1825-1829

In February we remember the birthdays of two of the nation’s greatest presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. During the month of February we will be highlighting connections between the Daughters of Charity and Presidents of the Unites States. We begin with John Quincy Adams, President from 1825-1829.

To enable the Sisters to own real estate in the District of Columbia, Congress incorporated the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s, together with the Sisters of the Visitation of Georgetown, in a single act which was signed by Adams May 24, 1828. The original act named 61 Sisters (probably all in the Community at that time) and their successors as long as they remained in the Sisterhood, and the corporation was given perpetual existence.

The Sisters’ ministry in Washington DC began in 1825, when they were asked to staff a free school, known as St. Vincent’s. Their small cottage soon served as an orphanage as well as a day school. Before the end of the first year there were thirty orphans. In 1831, at the request of Father Deagle of Saint Peter’s Parish, sisters were sent to open Saint Paul’s Academy on Capitol Hill, a pay academy to support a free school. The school was well patronized, but the sisters had no opportunity for Mass and the sacraments, and so the Community withdrew in 1834. Daughters of Charity ministries in Washington which are still active include St. Ann’s Center for Children , founded in 1850, and Providence Hospital, founded in 1861.

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LBJ and Daughters of Charity


(Photo used with permission of the Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)
Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared war on poverty in his now-famous speech. Three years later, on June 21, 1967, he celebrated the birth of his first grandchild, Patrick Lyndon Nugent, at Seton Hospital in Austin, Texas, where the baby was born to his daughter, Luci Baines Johnson Nugent. Before entering the facility, the President was warmly congratulated by another “president,” Sr. Josephine Aitchison, D.C., head of the hospital, as memorialized in this photograph from the hospital newsletter. Today, we are reminded that both Johnson and the Daughters of Charity, in their own way, waged war on poverty, a challenge the Daughters have undertaken since 1633.


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