Buchanan was the 15th President. Historians say that his presidency was a failure. Basically, he didn't do much. He didn't want to deal with slavery and said that it was up to each state to decide.
He was the only President to be a bachelor. His niece, Harriet, served as the first lady. The position wasn't called "First Lady" until she held it. Harriet's parents had both died and she and her brother moved in with their Uncle James when they were young. She became his confident and very much a partner as far as his politics were concerned. James had been engaged to Ann Coleman. She died a week after their engagement ended. She overdosed on laudanum. Was it an accident? We don't know. She thought he was having an affair and he wouldn't dignify her questions with an answer. Her parents did not let him attend the funeral and it was then that he declared he would never marry. There were/are rumors that he was gay. We ran across a blog today where the author was quite upset when he questioned his tour guide at Wheatland about this and couldn't get confirmation about whether Buchanan was gay. Another tour guide commented on the blog post and told him that basically no one knows for sure.
Buchanan enjoyed spending time with his "little" family. His little family included his housekeeper, Esther "Miss Hetty" Parker, who lived with him for 38 years and his niece and nephew. There was nothing romantic with his housekeeper.
Okay, so now on to the pictures. 70% of the furniture in the house belonged to the Buchanan's.
|This is the dining room where they ate most meals. The China belonged to the family.|
|These shade are original and were restrung only once by the housekeeper.|
|Harriet's writing desk. The guide pointed out that this piece of furniture was not practical due to the small space for writing.|
|The spindles on the staircase are different looking.|
|Fireplace in Harriet's bedroom.|
|Prayer bench is under a painting of Harriet's two boys that both died. Harriet married after leaving the White House. Her two boys and husband died fairly close together.|
|Harriet's doll. It may have been a model for clothing designed for her.|
|James Buchanan Henry's room. This was the nephew's room.|
|President Buchanan's room.|
|Small tub was used for bathing.|
|This is Esther "Miss Hetty" Parker's room. She was the housekeeper.|
|Esther "Miss Hetty" Parker|
|Warming Kitchen. Actual kitchen was not in the house.|
|Inside part of the outhouse. There was total seating for 8!|
The Greyhound Who Is Not Interested In Old Houses