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Lot 0104
Tennessee History - Harper's Weekly hand colored wood engravings showing the President's Call on Mrs. Polk at Nashville in top image; and bottom image shows Viewing the deer at Belle Mead, both captioned "The President in the South." Titled: Viewing the Deer at Belle Meade, Drawn by Gilbert Gaul, and The President's Call on Mrs. Polk at Nashville from a sketch by W.A. Rogers. (From Harper's Weekly, undated supplement ) | Professionally framed and matted under archival glass | Dimensions: Image 10" H x 15" W. Framed €“ 16-1/2" H x 21-1/2" W. | Provenance: Private Franklin, TN collection. Sarah Childress Polk: After attending the inauguration of James Polk's successor, Zachary Taylor, on March 5, 1849, he and Sarah left by horse and carriage to their new home "Polk Place" in Nashville, Tennessee. Upon arriving in Tennessee to Sarah's disappointment Polk Place was not yet fully furnished or Completed, they would leave from Nashville to Columbia to spend two weeks with the presidents mother before going to spend a few days in Murfreesboro with her family before rerunning to Nashville. Less than three months later, James Polk died, having had the shortest retirement of any former U.S. President. Sarah would remain in Polk Place throughout these later years of her widowhood rarely leaving, becoming a bit of a recluse. She wouldn't start hosting gust and inviting people into her home a few years after his death. She would host distinguished and popular guest throughout her widowhood, such as Abram Hewitt, Edward Cooper, John C. Calhoun II, John Catron, George Bancroft, among numerous others, Including Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and Grover Cleveland. Shortly after the President's death Sarah would unofficially adopt a great niece, Sarah Polk Jetton, Nicknamed "Sallie" (1847-1924). After Sarah's niece died, she would be brought to live with Sarah. Sallie lived with Sarah in Nashville until her death in 1891, as Sarah herself considered Sallie her daughter. Sarah faced small finical difficulties throughout her live after the death of president Polk. Her primary form of income was coming in through a plantation Polk owned and she inherited after his death. She was forced to sell the plantation before the civil war in 1861. Later she received money through her younger brother John Childless. Starting in 1884 the United States government granted Sarah a pension of $5,000 a year until her death. During the American Civil War, she was officially neutral, but indicated sentiments in favor of preserving the Union during periodic visits to her home by several Union Army commanders, including Don Carlos Buell, George Henry Thomas, Ulysses S. Grant, and William Tecumseh Sherman. However, as a traditional southern woman she also gave mention to Confederate sympathies during visits from Confederate generals. Polk Place in Nashville where Sarah would spend the 42 years of her widowhood. Sarah Polk lived at Polk Place for 42 years, the longest retirement and widowhood of any former US First Lady, and always wore black as a true Victorian Widow. She visited her brother at his Childress-Ray House in Murfreesboro, whose daughter (her niece) was married to Tennessee Governor John C. Brown. Along with vising Adelicia Acklen at Belmont often as her and Sarah were close friends. Death Sarah's 2009 Commemorative First Spouse Coin. Polk died on August 14, 1891, at age 87, less than a month before her 88th birthday. She was buried next to the president originally at their home in Nashville and was later reinterred with him at the Tennessee State Capitol when Polk Place was demolished in 1901. Sarah would leave the contents of Polk Place to her niece Sarah Polk Fall whom she fostered as her daughter.


21.5 x 16.5 in

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Harpers Engraving "The President in the South"

Estimate $175 - $219Jul 21, 2018