Today, in 1836, our beloved James Madison passed away at the age of 85 in his study room in his home, Montpelier. Paul Jennings, Madison’s personal servant, was there at his death and gives the account, as stated in the wonderful biography of Ralph Ketcham:
The morning of June 28th, Jennings joined his master as usual, about 6am, and shaved him as he had every day for sixteen years. Sukey, as old as Madison, and his servant for nearly seventy years, brought his breakfast, and Nelly Willis, always at Montpelier at times of need, came to the sickroom to visit with her uncle as he ate. When he seemed to have difficulty swallowing, Mrs.Willis asked him what the trouble was. Jennings recalled that Madison replied, “Nothing more than a change of mind, my dear,” and then, “His head instantly dropped, and he ceased breathing as quietly as the snuff of a candle goes out.” The next day, Madison was buried at Montpelier, where his obelisk (planted many years later) now stands tall to commemorate and acknowledge his lasting legacy.
Today, as sad as this account is of dear James Madison’s death, we can nod to him in thanks for what he did for our country, his integrity, hard work, and undeniable faith in the Republic as he fought for Union, always.