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Ellen Herndon Arthur
Birth: Aug. 30, 1837
Death: Jan. 12, 1880

Wife of 21st US President Chester Alan Arthur. She was a posthumous First Lady as she died before her husband assumed the presidency. Her death came even before his becoming US Vice President. Nicknamed "Nell," she was born Ellen Lewis Herndon in Culpepper Court House, Virginia. Her father was an officer in the US Navy who gained national renown in 1857 when he went down with his ship, the mail steamer SS Central America, along with more than 400 passengers and crew. It was the largest loss of life in a commercial shipping disaster, up until that time. He had safely evacuated 152 women and children to another vessel during the severe hurricane off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina but ultimately his ship could not be saved. She married Chester Alan Arthur on October 25, 1859 at Calvary Episcopal Church in New York City, New York, three years after they were introduced by her cousin, who was a friend of Arthur. A talented soprano, she sang with the Mendelssohn Glee Club and performed at benefits around New York City. They appeared to have a strong marriage, but it was strained by his political activities, which occupied much of his time. While her husband was serving in the New York militia during the American Civil War, she privately sympathized with the Confederacy, for which many of her Virginia relatives were fighting. They had three children, the oldest of which died when he was only three years old. In January 1880, before her husband was nominated as James A. Garfield's presidential running mate, she came down with a cold which quickly developed pneumonia and she died in New York City at the age of 42. When Arthur succeeded the presidency following Garfield's death in September 1881, his sister, Mary Arthur McElroy, served as hostess and unofficial First Lady for his social activities as US President. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  William Lewis Herndon (1813 - 1857)
 
 Spouse:
  Chester Alan Arthur (1830 - 1886)*
 
 Children:
  William Lewis Herndon Arthur (1860 - 1863)*
  Chester Alan Arthur (1864 - 1937)*
  Ellen Herndon Arthur Pinkerton (1871 - 1915)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Albany Rural Cemetery
Menands
Albany County
New York, USA
Plot: Located behind the grave of President Arthur
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Find A Grave
Record added: May 09, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 5402
Ellen <i>Herndon</i> Arthur
Added by: Curtis Jackson
 
Ellen <i>Herndon</i> Arthur
Added by: Mike Reed
 
Ellen <i>Herndon</i> Arthur
Added by: Erik Lander
 
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It is sad that you did not live long enough to see your husband elected US Vice President and then become President shortly thereafter. May you rest in peace.
- William Bjornstad
 Added: Sep. 4, 2014
Honoring the wife of my 5th cousin.
- Kevin Lufkin
 Added: Sep. 2, 2014
Ellen Herndon Arthur: happy birthday to the woman who made President Chester Alan Arthur so much love in the years of marriage!
- MFPS
 Added: Aug. 30, 2014
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