First Ladies: Mary Arthur McElroy, sister to Chester Arthur

posted in: First Ladies, First Lady | 0

Mary Arthur McElroy was the sister of President Chester Arthur. She served as White House hostess for her recently widowed brother. 

Mary Arthur McElroy

Mary was born on July 5, 1841 in Greenwich, New York. She was the last of nine children born to William and Malvina S. Arthur.

She attended the Emma Willard School Seminary in Troy, New York. Mary later married insurance salesman John McElroy. They would have four children and lived in Albany, New York.

Mary only stayed in Washington, D.C. during the busy winter social season during her brother’s presidency. This was so that she could be with her own family in New York the rest of the year. She also helped serve as a surrogate mother to her niece, 10-year-old Ellen Arthur.

“McElroy presided over a number of events and honored former First Ladies Julia Tyler and Harriet Lane, James Buchanan’s niece and social hostess, by asking them to help her receive guests at the White House. McElroy’s oldest daughter May and Arthur’s daughter Nell often assisted.The procedures she and her brother developed for the social functions were used by future First Ladies for decades.”

She died on January 8, 1817 in Albany, New York. She was 75 years old.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.