Presidential Daughters: Angelica Sinclair Van Buren

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When Martin Van Buren became the eighth President of the United States, he needed someone to serve as hostess for him. His wife, Hannah, had died from tuberculosis in 1819.

Angelica Sinclair Van Buren

President Van Buren turned to his daughter-in-law, Angelica, to serve in this role.

Sarah Angelica Singleton was the fourth of six children born to Richard and Rebecca Travis Coles Singleton on February 13, 1818. She was born in Wedgefield, South Carolina.

She studied at the Columbia Female Academy in South Carolina and Madame Grelaud’s French School in Philadelphia.

In 1838, Angelica and her sister visited Washington, D.C. While there they paid a visit to their mother’s cousin, former First Lady Dolley Madison. Mrs. Madison introduced the girls to President Martin Van Buren’s bachelor sons. Within a year, she had married Abraham Van Buren.

After a honeymoon trip to England and Europe, Angelica attempted to implement standing on a dais to greet guest. However, it was not well received and quickly removed.

She is said to have brought back etiquette to the White House. She and President Van Buren preferred to give small diner parties, instead of larger functions.

In March 1840, Rebecca had her first child, a daughter named Rebecca. Rebecca died four months later.

Later that year, President Van Buren was defeated for re-election. Angelica and Abraham moved to the Van Buren home in Lindenwald, Kinderhook, NY. The family would winter at her family home in South Carolina.

Abraham and Angelica Van Buren would have four sons, one of whom died in infancy, upon her father-in-law leaving office.

Beginning in 1848, Angelica made her home in New York City. She became very involved in charity work and is said to have been known for her grace.

Her husband, Abraham Van Buren, died on March 15, 1873.

Angelica Van Buren died on December 29, 1877 in New York City. She is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.

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