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Mrs. Sarah Childress Polk
The First Lady, Mrs. Sarah Childress Polk, 1846

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James K. Polk Is Elected 11th President of the United States
November 5, 1844

But Polk's considerable political accomplishments took their toll on his health. Full of enthusiasm and vigor when he entered office, Polk left the White House at the age of 53, exhausted. He died less than four months later at his new home, "Polk Place," in Nashville, Tennessee, the state he had served as governor. Polk's wife, Sarah Childress Polk, lived there another 42 years, hosting many visitors. During the Civil War, she welcomed both Union and Confederate leaders. "Polk Place" became a pilgrimage destination and was respected as neutral ground, even during the bloody Battle of Nashville. James and Sarah Polk left an important legacy to a greatly expanded United States.
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