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14th President

Franklin Pierce

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President Franklin Pierce was the first president to have a decorated White House Christmas tree

Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, offers guests a free night if on one of their 1 1/2 to 2-hour narrated, motorized, twilight safaris into the nearby woods they don't see a moose.  Offered five nights a week, the Balsams Grand Resort has never had to make good on its offer.

How Do You Milk a Moose Anyway? by Lara Bricker

How Do You Milk a Moose, Anyway? by Lara Bricker

"A man was apparently milking a moose and making cheese. He was charging $500 a pound. The cheese community was in a buzz over this moose-milking man."

New Hampshire's moose herd is approximately 6,000

New Hampshire averages 230 moose/vehicle collisions a year

Tips for Safe Moose Watching by the New Hampshire Fish and Game:

"Watch from a safe and respectful distance.  Moose are bigger and faster than any person and give little warning before attacking a perceived threat.  Cows are extremely protective of their calves.  Bulls in the rut are unpredictable.  No one should ever approach these animals no matter how tolerant they appear.  Moose are unafraid, not friendly.  A moose that decides someone has crossed into its personal space will knock down the offender and kick and stomp until it stops moving."

Moose have no known enemies

On October 23, 2008, Erin Coffey, 31, of Bristol, New Hampshire, hit an 800-pound moose at 6:30 A.M. on Interstate 93 in Sanborton, New Hampshire, with her Oldsmobile Intrique swerving into the median and hitting several trees before rolling over.  She was wearing her seatbelt, was not speeding, and was not impaired.  Erin Coffey was alone in the car and no other cars were involved.  Neither she nor the moose survived.

New Hampshire Highway Safety Patrol:  "When they want to walk across the road, they walk across the road."

October is moose mating season

11 people have died in moose collisions in New Hampshire since 1997

In May moose come out of the woods to lick salt from the road which is draining as snow melts.  Salt is put onto the roads during winter for better traction and safer driving.

In summer lake plants are the main food source for moose.

In winter moose survive mainly on twigs and the bark of deciduous and coniferous trees.

New Hampshire Fish and Game advises residents to remove bird feeders at the beginning of Spring because hungry bears are waking from hibernation and will wander near your home attracted by bird seed

Franklin Pierce by Gary Boulard

The Expatriation of Franklin Pierce: The Story of a President and the Civil War by Gary Boulard

"Considered a failure upon leaving the White House in 1857 and thought to be on his way to a well-deserved obscurity, Franklin Pierce during the Civil War emerged as a major spokesman for that era's Peace Democrats, opposed to President Lincoln's suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus and in defense of civil liberties. A Northerner with many close Southern friends, including Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy and his wife, Varina Davis, Pierce was also thought to be a traitor because of such ties and was at one point nearly arrested for suspected seditious behavior." -  Publisher


November 23, 1804 - October  8, 1869

14th U. S. President Franklin Pierce

Official U. S. Biography

March 4, 1853 to March 3, 1857

Franklin Pierce became President at a time of apparent tranquility. The United States, by virtue of the Compromise of 1850, seemed to have weathered its sectional storm.  By pursuing the recommendations of southern advisers, Franklin Pierce,  a New Englander, hoped to prevent still another outbreak of that storm.  But his policies, far from preserving calm, hastened the disruption of the Union.

Born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, in 1804, Pierce attended Bowdoin College in Maine. 

After graduation he studied law then entered politics.   At 24 he was elected to the New Hampshire legislature.  Two years later he became its Speaker. 

During the 1830s he went to Washington first as a Representative then as a Senator.

Franklin Pierce, after serving in the Mexican War, was proposed by New Hampshire friends for the Presidential nomination in 1852.  At the Democratic Convention, the delegates agreed easily enough upon a platform pledging undeviating support of the Compromise of 1850 and hostility to any efforts to agitate the slavery question.  But they balloted 48 times and eliminated all the well-known candidates before nominating Franklin Pierce a true "dark horse."

Probably because the Democrats stood more firmly for the Compromise than the Whigs, and because Whig candidate General Winfield Scott was suspect in the South, Franklin Pierce won with a narrow margin of popular votes.

Two months before he took office, he and his wife saw their eleven-year-old son killed when their train was wrecked.  Grief stricken, Franklin Pierce entered the presidency nervously exhausted.

In his Inaugural he proclaimed an era of peace and prosperity at home and vigor in relations with other nations. The United States might have to acquire additional possessions for the sake of its own security he pointed out and would not be deterred by "any timid forebodings of evil."

Franklin Pierce had only to make gestures toward expansion to excite the wrath of Northerners who accused him of acting as a cat's paw of Southerners eager to extend slavery into other areas. Therefore he aroused apprehension when he pressured Great Britain to relinquish its special interests along part of the Central American coast, and even more when he tried to persuade Spain to sell Cuba.

But the most violent renewal of the storm stemmed from the Kansas-Nebraska Act which repealed the Missouri Compromise and reopened the question of slavery in the West.  This measure, the handiwork of Senator Stephen A. Douglas, grew in part out of his desire to promote a railroad from Chicago to California through Nebraska.

Already, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, advocate of a southern transcontinental route, had persuaded Franklin Pierce to send James Gadsden to Mexico to buy land  for a southern railroad.  He purchased the area now comprising southern Arizona and part of southern New Mexico for $10,000,000.

Stephen Douglas' proposal to organize western territories through which a railroad might run caused extreme trouble.  Stephen Douglas provided in his bills that the residents of the new territories could decide the slavery question for themselves. The result was a rush into Kansas as Southerners and Northerners vied for control of the territory.  Shooting broke out, and "bleeding Kansas" became a prelude to the Civil War.

By the end of his administration, Franklin Pierce could claim "a peaceful condition of things in Kansas."  But to his disappointment, the Democrats refused to renominate him turning to the less controversial James Buchanan.  Franklin Pierce returned to New Hampshire leaving his successor to face the rising fury of the sectional whirlwind.

He died in 1869.

The White House sends a wreath to the Old North Cemetery in Concord, New Hampshire, every year on Franklin Pierce's birthday.

Courtesy Donald Mark - See more President Franklin Pierce photographs
President Franklin Pierce Grave Old North Cemetery Concord New Hampshire

President Franklin Pierce is buried in Old North Cemetery in Concord, New Hampshire.  50 tombstones in Old North Cemetery were toppled some time between 9:00 P. M. on June 15 and 5:00 A. M. on June 17, 2008, but President Pierce's tomb was not vandalized.

President Franklin Pierce


Nickname:  Young Hickory of the Granite Hills


Father:  General Benjamin Pierce


Mother:  Ann Hendrick Pierce


Wife:  Jane Means Appleton (March 12, 1806 - December 2, 1863)


Children:  Franklin Pierce (February 2, 1836 - February 5, 1936) died shortly after birth; Frank Robert Pierce (August 27, 1839 - November 14, 1843) died of typhoid fever;  Benjamin Pierce (April 13, 1841 - January 6, 1853) died in a train accident while traveling with his parents.


Religion:  Episcopalian


Party affiliation:  Democrat


Popular votes:   1,601,117


Electoral College votes:   254


Presidential opponent: Winfield Scott, Whig Party, received 1,385,453 popular votes and 42 Electoral College votes


William R. King was Vice President


William L. Marcy was Secretary of State


James Guthrie was Secretary of the Treasury


Jefferson Davis was Secretary of War


Caleb Cushing was Attorney General


James Campbell was Postmaster General


James C. Dobbin was Secretary of the Navy


Robert McClelland was Secretary of the Interior

The Pierce Homestead is in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, and was built by Benjamin Pierce, Franklin's father, in 1804.  In August, the President Franklin Pierce Homestead reanacts the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

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