James Madison

James Madison, Montpelier, Montpelier Station, Virginia

"History, an inexhaustible fund of entertainment and instruction."

James Madison

That quote sort of fits the theme of all this, no?

James Madison, AKA "The Father of the Constitution," is buried on the family estate at Montpelier. When I picked up Jefferson in 1996, we never thought to drive the forty five minutes east of Charlottesville to get Madison. This was probably a good thing since 1)- the house was owned by the Rockefellers and most likely not open for tours and 2)- it looked nothing like it does today. If you look at the evolution of Montpelier, you'll see the pink monstrosity at the bottom was what the Rockefellers did to it. The image above that is what the house was fully restored to.

The real Pink Palace is in Memphis, folks.

James Madison was the first US President to lead during war, and also the first (if not only or last) President to take the title Commander-in-Chief seriously as he physically led troops into battle during the war. It was during "Mr. Madison's War" that one of the best events that never really happened the way we were told ever took place. As the British were marching on Washington and setting fire to the Capitol (after a vote by British troops in the well of the House- the British were always sticklers for a vote), Dolley Madison, James' "vivacious Quaker" of a wife (not to mention seventeen years younger than the President!), with the help of house servant Paul Jennings and other workers, tore off the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington and carted it away as British troops were marching up the front driveway of the White House before torching it as well (but not before partaking in the lavish meal Dolley had out).

If you read several, accounts, Jennings' included, it may not have happened the way we were all told. By all accounts, Dolley didn't roll the portrait up and hide it in her petticoat. She did however save some of the Madison family china, not to mention becoming a fine creator of tasty pastries.