Name at birth: Jane Means Appleton
Jane Pierce was First Lady of the United States from 1853 to 1857. Raised in New England, she married Franklin Pierce in 1834, when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He became a U.S. senator in 1837, but resigned his seat in 1842 and returned to his private law practice in New Hampshire. It's said he resigned because Jane was unhappy with Washington life and her husband's political ambitions. Jane Pierce was frequently ill and famously shy, and her turn in the White House was marked by sadness. Never happy with her husband's involvement in politics, she was particularly disturbed to discover that he had worked to get his party's nomination in the presidential election of 1852. After the election but before Pierce's inauguration, they were in a train accident in Massachusetts in January of 1853 that killed their last living child, Benjamin (b. 1841). After Pierce's one term in office, she traveled a bit, but died in 1863 at the age of 57.