Dolley Todd House
The Dolley Todd House is the former home of First Lady Dolley Madison and is a classic example of an 18th-century middle class Georgian house in Philadelphia. Part of the Independence National Historical Park, free, timed tickets are required for admittance and available at the Independence Visitor Center.
Dolley’s abolitionist father moved his Quaker family from Virginia to Philadelphia, where the young, feisty woman met John Todd, a fellow Quaker and a lawyer with a bright future. The couple married in 1790 and moved into Todd House, but three years later, John and one of their sons died here during a citywide epidemic of yellow fever.
A year later, Aaron Burr is said to have introduced the 26-year-old widow (with one small child) to 43-year-old James Madison in the parlor of Todd House. The non-Quaker Madison, then a congressional delegate, would within six years become Secretary of State and eventually, the Fourth (and Fifth) President of the United States.
When the Madisons married in late 1794, Dolley moved from Todd House. The house today has been preserved as it purportedly looked during its brief time as the Todd’s residence, replete with a reproduction of John Todd’s law office.
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