This Day In History: June 21

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On this day in June (in two different years), two future presidents, Zachary Taylor and Richard Nixon, marry the women who will become their first ladies.

On this day in 1810, 26-year-old Zachary Taylor married Margaret Smith, age 31, in her sister’s log house in Louisville, Kentucky. The daughter of a wealthy planter, Margaret met Taylor when he was serving as U.S. Army officer in 1809 and followed him to dismal Army outposts early in their marriage. The couple had six children. One of their daughters married future Confederate President Jefferson Davis in 1835. Their son Richard became a general in the Confederate Army. Margaret was not happy when Taylor was elected president in 1848. She detested public life and preferred to let her daughter Mary perform official White House hostess duties.

One hundred and thirty years later on this day, Richard Milhous Nixon married Patricia Ryan. Pat, as she was known, faithfully supported her husband as he battled communists, war protestors and the Watergate scandal during his political career. The couple had two children, Julie and Patricia. Julie married the grandson of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Patricia married Ed Cox in a White House ceremony in 1971. During his presidency, Nixon was plagued by the Watergate scandal in which members of his re-election committee were implicated in criminal activities against Democratic Party candidates and campaign organizers. The scandal led to impeachment proceedings in Congress. Rather than be ousted from office, Nixon chose to leave voluntarily. In 1974, Pat Nixon and their children stood by the president’s side as he announced his resignation.

In addition to Nixon and Taylor, John Tyler, William Taft, Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman all celebrated wedding anniversaries in June.