James Knox Polk was our nation's 11th President. Prior to his presidency he was the Speaker of the House (1835-1839) and Governor of Tennessee (1839-1841). President Polk has been said to be one of the greatest presidents in our American history.
James K. Polk, was the eldest of ten siblings. He was born in a farmhouse (log cabin) in Pineville, North Carolina on November 2, 1785. His father, Samuel Polk, was a farmer and surveyor. Both parents, Samuel and Jane, were Scot-Irish descent. He was named after his mother's father, James Knox. Both the Knox and Polk families were Presbyterian.
In 1803, the majority of the Polk's relatives relocated to Tennessee (Duck River area). Three years later the Polk family decided to follow and became very prosperous in Tennessee. James Polk's father, Samuel, became a county judge.
I love this Polk doll. Isn't it fantastic!
President Polk suffered from poor health during his childhood. He spent this time reading many books and learning much while recovering. Just before he turned 17, he had a serious operation that left him sterile. They removed kidney stones without any anesthetics (ouch). Polk never had any children but loved his niece and nephews very much. He and his wife, Sarah, loved to be around children.
After graduating from the University of North Carolina, he studied law under the renowned trail attorney Felix Grundy in Nashville. In 1821, Polk held the title of Captain, and soon Colonel, with a local militia. This earned him the nickname "Napoleon of the Stump." He ran in 1822 as clerk for Tennessee's legislature. Polk was a firm supporter of Andrew Jackson and became friends with our 7th President.
Sarah's silk dress (stunning)
Polk was encouraged by Andrew Jackson to court Sarah Childress. They were married on January 1, 1824. Through their marriage they had no children. Sarah was Polk's rock and advisor during his political career. She often assisted him with speeches, political advice, and was very active in his campaigns. They were very close.
Polk was the last Pre-Cival War president. He's known for our victorious defeat in the Mexican-American War. He lowered the tariff and started a treasury system that lasted until 1913. He settled the territory for Texas, Oregon, and California. He signed the Walker Tariff (free trade) to the country until 1861. He was involved in starting the U.S. Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Institution, the groundbreaking for the Washington Monument. Some of our nation's greatest achievements were under his term. He died of cholera three months after leaving office.
James Polk received $14,000 for repairs, maintenance and furnishings at the start of his term in 1845. The President and First Lady ordered forty-two purple velvet covered chairs bought for the State Dining Room, which remained until 1882. They also purchased French dinner and dessert service decorated with the shield from the Great Seal of the United States. The first time the Red, White, and Blue shield was ever seen on the White House China.
The Polk room at the White House. I love that color green. And look at that gorgeous chandelier.
This is the only remaining residence, besides the White House, where Polk lived. It has over 1,000 objects that belonged to President and Mrs. Polk including furniture, paintings, china, and silver. The house is located in Columbia, Tennessee.
This was the house where he practiced law before his presidency. There is a guest house where his sisters lived at different times. The house is filled with many artifacts from his life. However, James K. Polk's final house was a mansion located downtown Nashville. It was torn down in 1901 but the cast iron fountain from the property was preserved and is now displayed in the Polk home's courtyard.