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The home of the 14th US president has been preserved as a museum.

 


 

 

Franklin Pierce, 14th president of the United States (1853-1857), was speaker of the New Hampshire General Court (legislature) as well as one of Concord, New Hampshire's prominent lawyers and most popular citizens.

His house, the Pierce Manse, at 14 Horseshoe Pond Lane, is now a National Historic Site with regular visiting hours from mid-June through mid-October, and open by appointment at other times of the year.

The big white Greek Revival house at the farthest reaches of North Main Street was Pierce's family home from 1842-1848, and was saved from demolition in the late 1900s by a civic-minded group named the Pierce Brigade. It is now administered by that group and the New Hampshire Political Library.

Pierce served in both the US House of Representatives (1833-37) and the Senate (1837-42) before being elected to the presidency in 1852—the only New Hampshirite yet to serve in that office. The youngest person to be elected president as of that time, he was already achieved the rank of brigadier general in the US Army because of his service in the Mexican-American War (1846-48).

Unfortunately, Pierce's one term as president (1853-57) did not go well, and is now regarded as among the least successful in US history. Although a good, polite and thoughtful man and loving husband, and a good politician with important accomplishments to his credit, his views were often not in sync with those of his country, and he seemed unable to lead, particularly on the burning question of slavery.

His private life was beset by tragedy—all three of the Pierce's sons died before maturity, and Jane Means Appleton Pierce long suffered ill health and died of tuberculosis. Pierce himself he struggled with alcoholism.

During the Civil War he sympathized with the Confederate states, thus ruining what remained of his reputation. (He carried on a private correspondence with Confederate president Jefferson Davis, who had been Secretary of War in Pierce's cabinet.)

Franklin Pierce died of cirrhosis in 1869.

The Pierce Manse
14 Horseshoe Pond Lane
Concord NH 03301
Tel 603-225-4555


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Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce (1804-1869)

 

   
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