Helen Woodrow Bones, cousin of Woodrow Wilson

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Helen Woodrow Bones was the cousin of President Woodrow Wilson. The future president met his wife, Ellen, at the home of Helen’s father. She served as White House hostess after the death of his first wife, Ellen Axson Wilson, before he married his second wife, Edith Gault Wilson.

Helen Woodrow Bones

Helen Woodrow was born on October 31, 1874 in Rome, Floyd County, Georgia.

She was the daughter of James William and Marion Woodrow Bones. Her mother died in September 1882. She had an older sister, Marion, who died in early 1888. There was a sister, Jesse, born between Marion and Helen. Jessee would marry J.B. Brower.

She spent much of her childhood in the home of her first cousin, Woodrow Wilson. She resided the first six years of President Woodrow’s time in the White House with the first family. She served as social secretary to his first wife, Ellen Axson Wilson.

She would have been busy helping Mrs. Wilson plan the wedding of her two daughters that married in the White House. Jessie married Francis B. Sayre in 1913 and Eleanor married William Gibbs McAdoo in May 1914.

Ellen Wilson died on August 6, 1914. Helen stepped in to fulfill the duties of hostess of the White House. President Wilson married Edith Bolling Galt on December 18, 1915. According to her father’s obituary, she continued to work as social secretary for the new First Lady.

Her father died on April 15, 1916.

Upon leaving Washington, she became a copy reader for leading publishing houses in New York City.

When she retired she returned to Rome, Georgia.

She never married.

She lived with her sister, Jessie’s, daughter in her final years before passing away on June 4, 1951. She is buried in Myrtle Hill Cemetery, Rome, Floyd County, Georgia.

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