Did you know that former First Lady Dolley Madison still haunts the grounds of the White House?
Dolley Madison planted the original White House rose garden. It is believed by many that she is returning to check on her beloved roses.
One of the first reported sightings was during the administration of President Woodrow Wilson when First Lady Edith Wilson was attempting to have the rose garden removed. The workers told Mrs. Wilson that when they started to dig up the garden, the ghost of Dolley Madison appeared and seemed to be very angry with them. They would have nothing more to do with the garden’s removal. Since this time, many others have witnessed Dolley near the rose garden and sometimes even within the White House.
Why is Dolley Madison still so concerned about her roses?
Only Dolley could answer this, but we can come up with some ideas by examining her life. Dolley was born into a Quaker family and had a very strict upbringing. When she married President James Madison, who was an Episcopalian, she was expelled from the Quaker Church for marrying outside the faith. However, this is what revealed a part of Dolley’s self that she had never been allowed to express. While she had always been known as a kind, well-liked person, her outgoing personality and fondness for material objects had never been allowed to come through. Immediately upon the marriage, she started wearing stylish clothes and jewelry and became well-known in social circles. She became the official White House hostess as soon as her husband became Secretary of State, and she continued this role as First Lady, giving weekly elaborate parties. When British soldiers burned the White House in 1814, she risked her own life to save as many of the residence’s valuable items as possible. Her fondness for luxuries and beautiful things became a major part of who she was and most likely would have extended to her rose garden.
The White House is not the only place in Washington, D.C. that people have reported seeing the ghost of Dolley Madison. Dolley has also repeatedly been seen at the Octagon House, which is where the President and First Lady lived temporarily after the White House was burned. As well, Dolley has been spotted at the house in Washington where she spent the last years of her life. There have been so many reported sightings of the ghost of Dolley Madison that Washington, D.C. has made this phenomenon part of their town’s Ghost Tours. Even though she died in 1849, she seems to want to remain in our nation’s capital forever.