Happy VD, And Who is Hannah Hoes?

Hannah Hoes

Okay…..VD stands for “Valentine’s Day”.  Not what you were thinking, I’ll bet.  And who the hell is Hannah Hoes?  Well, she was the wife of the eighth President of the United States, Martin Van Buren.  So what’s so interesting about that?  When President Van Buren wrote his autobiography in 1862, the same year he died, he doesn’t mention her once.  He never even mentions that he was ever married.

Now in defense of Mr. Van Buren, when he was in the White House, he wasn’t married. 

8th President of the United States

But to have been married to someone for ten years, who was a childhood sweetheart, with whom you had four children, to not mention that at all in an autobiography is a bit much.  Don’t you think?

They were married February 21, 1807, Martin was 25 and Hannah 24.  They were first cousins once removed on his mother’s side.  This is something that causes me great confusion.  In simple terms this means, I think, that Hannah was the daughter of one of his mother’s sisters.  Martin’s grandfather would be Hannah’s great-grandfather.  Perfectly clear now?  But remember they were only one year apart in age.

 Mrs. Van Buren contracted tuberculosis and died on February 5, 1819, at age 35.  Notice a trending with February dates?  Even though she died before Martin took office, she was considered one of the First Ladies, and Martin Van Buren as one of the few unmarried men in office.

Early 20th Century VD Card

So, was this a time in his life easily forgotten, or a period of time too painful too remember.  Buoyed by the fact that he never remarried, it was probably more the latter.  Happy Valentine’s Day Hannah Hoes.

I think I speak for the majority of men when I say that I don’t particularly like Valentine’s Day.  You can go into any store right now, and you’ll see guys walking (more like running) around with bouguets of flowers and Teddy Bears with hearts and boxes of chocolate, making reservations on their cell phones for dinner, and trying to find the perfect sentiment in a rack of worked-over cards.  Nothing but another day forced upon us by a retail establishment that just can’t have enough holidays.


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