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Eliza Johnson

The front of the Eliza Johnson coin shows this First Lady's portrait.

Eliza McCardle was born on October 4, 1810, in Greeneville, Tennessee.  She was almost 16 when she met 17-year-old Andrew Johnson.  She married him within a year.

After they rented a house, they converted the small front room into a tailor shop, where they worked together.  Mrs. Johnson helped in educating her husband and encouraged him to take part in debates, which improved his skills as a public speaker.

Design on Reverse

The back of the coin shows four figures at the White House ball.

The design on the back of the coin captures Eliza Johnson's love of children.  This love led Mrs. Johnson to make a rare public appearance as First Lady in 1868.

It was during their final days in the White House that President Johnsons turned 60 years old.  To celebrate the President's 60th birthday, the Johnsons held a ball to which only children were invited.  More than 300 invitations were sent to the sons and daughters of Washington officials, diplomats, and the staff at the White House.

The rooms of the White House were filled with flowers and a red carpet was laid over the path leading to the entrance.  The only parents there were the Johnsons and their own grown children, who were the official hosts of the ball.  The first lady sat in an armchair to greet all the guests as they arrived.

The Marine Band fiddlers and young students from a local dance academy were the entertainment for the affair.  The coin's image reminds us of the ball by showing three children dancing and a Marine Band fiddler playing.


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