The official portrait of Eliza Johnson
The official portrait of Eliza Johnson
A portrait of a younger Eliza Johnson
A portrait of a younger Eliza Johnson
Eliza Johnson while she was First Lady
Eliza Johnson while she was First Lady
An older Eliza Johnson
An older Eliza Johnson
Eliza and Andrew Johnson
Eliza and Andrew Johnson
#17 Johnson, Eliza
Topic(s):   First Ladies (U.S.)
Quick Facts
Full name Eliza McCardle Johnson
Born October 4, 1810 (Leesburg, Tennessee)
Died January 15, 1876 (Greene County, Tennessee)
Nationality American
First Lady Number 17
Dates in the White House April 15, 1865 to March 3, 1869
Occupation(s) wife, mother
Major Achievement(s) taught husband to spell and correctly pronounce words

Eliza was an only child. Her father was a shoemaker. He died when she was young. Her mother raised her. She received a good basic education.

Eliza McCardle married Andrew Johnson when she was sixteen years old. She was a big help to him. He had never been to school. He only knew his letters. He could read a bit. Eliza taught him reading, writing, and arithmetic.

When they married, Andrew was learning to be a tailor. Eliza cared for their home and five children. She helped to run their farm and business. The Johnsons grew rich.

Andrew was a good public speaker. He was elected mayor. He rose to U.S. Senator, then Vice-President. When Abraham Lincoln was killed, Andrew Johnson became President.

Eliza was not eager to be First Lady. She was not well. She feared gossip and the problems Mary Todd Lincoln had had. Eliza asked her daughter to be the White House hostess.

Andrew Johnson and Congress did not get along. They did not have the same ideas on how southern states should be treated after the Civil War. Congress tried to fire the President. He stayed on, but the vote was close.

Eliza supported Andrew the whole time. He was bitter when he left office. The Johnsons returned to their home in Tennessee. Andrew still liked politics. Eliza lived to see him elected to the Senate in 1875.

Resource information

Gormley, B. (1997). First ladies: Women who called the White House home. New York: Scholastic Inc.

Klapthor, M. B., Black, A. M., White House Historical Association, & National Geographic Society (U.S.). (1999). The First Ladies. Washington, DC: White House Historical Association with the cooperation of the National Geographic Society.

Kramer, S. (2001). The look-it-up book of first ladies. New York: Random House.

Pastan, A., & Smithsonian Institution. (2009). First ladies. New York: DK.

Citation information

APA Style: Eliza Johnson. (2017, February). Retrieved from Facts4Me at

MLA Style: "Eliza Johnson." Facts4Me. Feb. 2017.

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