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Floride Calhoun

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Title: Floride Calhoun  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Letitia Christian Tyler, Second Lady of the United States, John C. Calhoun, Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson, Fort Hill (Clemson, South Carolina)
Collection: 1792 Births, 1866 Deaths, 18Th-Century American People, 18Th-Century Women, 19Th-Century American Episcopalians, 19Th-Century American People, 19Th-Century Women, American People of Scotch-Irish Descent, American Planters, Calhoun Family, People from Charleston, South Carolina, People from Clemson, South Carolina, People from Pendleton, South Carolina, Second Ladies of the United States, Spouses of Members of the United States House of Representatives, Spouses of South Carolina Politicians, Spouses of United States Cabinet Members, Spouses of United States Senators
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Floride Calhoun

Floride Bonneau Calhoun
Second Lady of the United States
In office
March 4, 1825 – December 28, 1832
Preceded by Hannah Tompkins
Succeeded by Letitia Christian Tyler
Personal details
Born (1792-02-15)February 15, 1792
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
Died July 25, 1866(1866-07-25) (aged 74)
Pendleton, South Carolina U.S.
Spouse(s) John Caldwell Calhoun
Relations Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson (daughter), Thomas Green Clemson (son-in-law)
Children 10
Religion Episcopalian

Floride Bonneau Calhoun (February 15, 1792 – July 25, 1866) was the wife of prominent U.S. politician John C. Calhoun.


  • Background and early life 1
  • Second Lady 2
    • Petticoat affair 2.1
  • Return to South Carolina 3
  • Death and protracted estate issues 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Background and early life

She was born Floride Bonneau Colhoun to U.S. Senator John E. Colhoun and Floride Bonneau. She was a niece of Rebecca Colhoun Pickens, wife of Andrew Pickens. On January 8, 1811, she married John C. Calhoun, her first-cousin-once-removed (her father's first cousin). Soon after their marriage, her husband was elected to Congress, leaving his wife in charge of his plantation, "Fort Hill," in present-day Clemson, South Carolina. Within the next eighteen years, she gave birth to ten children, including five sons and five daughters, although three daughters died in infancy.

In 1817, she accompanied her husband to Washington upon his appointment as Secretary of War.

Second Lady

Eight years later, she became Second Lady of the United States, following her husband's election as Vice President, serving in that role from 1825 to 1832.

Petticoat affair

During her tenure as Second Lady, she became embroiled in a social scandal involving John B. Timberlake. It is alleged that after he heard the allegations of the affair, Timberlake committed suicide while at sea, although official reports put his death as pulmonary disease; others who accept that he commit suicide contend that Timberlake's severe debt provided a motive. The scandal resulted in the resignation of several members of Jackson's Cabinet, except Postmaster General William T. Barry in 1831, and Mrs. Calhoun's involvement in the social ostracism of Mrs. Eaton further damaged already-strained relations between Vice President Calhoun and President Andrew Jackson.[1]

Return to South Carolina

Following her husband's resignation as Vice President and election to the United States Senate, she returned to "Fort Hill," resuming her former status as a plantation mistress. Her husband died in 1850. In 1854, she sold the plantation to her oldest son, Andrew Pickens Calhoun, and held the mortgage. In 1855, she moved to a smaller house in Pendleton, South Carolina, which she dubbed "Mi Casa." She endured the deaths of six of her seven surviving children. After Andrew died in 1865, she filed for foreclosure against Andrew's heirs.

Death and protracted estate issues

She died on July 25, 1866, and was buried in St. Paul's Episcopal Church Cemetery in Pendleton, South Carolina, near her children, but separate from her husband who is buried at St. Philip's Episcopal Church Cemetery in Charleston. Following her death in 1866, the Fort Hill plantation was auctioned at Walhalla in 1872, after lengthy legal proceedings. The executor of her estate won the auction, which was divided among her surviving heirs. Her daughter, Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson and son-in-law, Thomas Green Clemson, received about three-quarters of the plantation including the house and her great granddaughter, Floride Isabella Lee, received the balance.[2]


  1. ^ Clemson University page on Floride Colhoun Calhoun
  2. ^ E. M. Lander, Jr., The Calhoun Family and Thomas Green Clemson: The Decline of a Southern Patriarchy, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC, 1983.

External links

  • Floride Bonneau Colhoun Calhoun-Find A Grave Profile
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Hannah Tompkins
Second Lady of the United States
Succeeded by
Letitia Christian Tyler
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