|New York, NY||September 7, 2019|
In November 1838, 20-year-old Angelica Singleton wed 31-year-old Abraham Van Buren II, eldest offspring of the incumbent chief executive, Martin Van Buren. President Van Buren was a widower, and his new daughter-in-law soon stepped into the role of White House hostess. First Lady Angelica Van Buren and her husband are interred in an oblong plot within Woodlawn Cemetery in the New York borough of the Bronx.
Abraham Van Buren’s footstone is on the left, and Angelica Van Buren’s is on the right. Mrs. Van Buren was a southerner and the pair married at her father’s plantation in South Carolina. They split most of their marriage between South Carolina, Europe, and New York.
Van Buren’s European-influenced approach to hosting White House events did not appeal to many detractors of her father-in-law’s administration, which they already viewed as too aristocratic and out of touch with the American voting public.
The Van Burens were wed for 34 years until Abraham died in 1873 at age 65. Angelica outlived her husband by four years and then joined him at Woodlawn Cemetery. President Van Buren and Hannah Van Buren — the mother-in-law Angelica never knew — are buried 117 miles upstate in the village of Kinderhook.
Born: February 13, 1818 in Wedgefield, South Carolina
Spouse: Abraham Van Buren II (m. 1838-1873)
First Lady Tenure: 1839-1841
Died: December 29, 1877 in New York, New York
Interment: Woodlawn Cemetery, New York, New York
“[Angelica Van Buren is] a lady of rare accomplishments, free and vivacious in her conversation.”
1839 in a newspaper piece following her first event as White House hostess
Sources Consulted and Further Reading
Harris, Bill and Laura Ross. The First Ladies Fact Book: The Childhoods, Courtships, Marriages, Campaigns, Accomplishments, and Legacies of Every First Lady from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2012.
Nagle, Bethany. “A Widower’s Hostess: Angelica Van Buren in the White House.” White House Historical Association. March 17, 2017. https://www.whitehousehistory.org/a-widowers-hostess.