First I will start at the beginning, which was when Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born on December 28, 1856, in Staunton, Virginia. His father was a Presbyterian minister. He owned slaves, and started a Sunday School for them. He used his church as a hospital for wounded soldiers, and he also served for a little while as a chaplain in the Confederate army. Little Woodrow once got to meet General Robert E. Lee, and he remembered that occasion for the rest of his life.
|The house where President Wilson was born|
Mr. Wilson got married in 1885 to Ellen Louise Axson, and they had three daughters named Margaret, Jessie, and Eleanor.
In 1902, Mr. Wilson became the president of Princeton University. He had that job until 1910, and then he was the governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913. In 1912, he ran for U.S. President against Teddy Roosevelt, who was trying to win another term as the "Bull Moose" party candidate, and William Howard Taft, who was the Republican party candidate. Mr. Wilson ran as a Democrat, and he won the election.
|The White House flock|
In 1914, Mrs. Ellen Wilson died. This made President Wilson one of only three presidents to be widowed while in office. The following year, the president married Edith Galt.
|President Wilson's Pierce-Arrow|
The president also liked to go cycling, and he went on several vacations to the Lake District in England, just so he could ride bicycles there. But back in Washington, it wasn't safe for the president to go out cycling, so he started playing golf. He really loved playing golf, even though he wasn't all that good at it. He holds the record for the most rounds of golf played by any president, with over 1,000. This averages out to almost one round every other day. In the wintertime, President Wilson used to play golf in the snow on the White House lawn using balls that the Secret Service painted black for him.
|Arriving in Paris for the 1918 Peace Conference|
At the end of the war, President Wilson helped work out the armistice agreement. He did not want the world to ever have another bad war like that, so he came up with some ideas about how such a thing could be avoided. One idea was to make a group called the League of Nations. President Wilson helped put the plans for this group together, and he also worked on the Treaty of Versailles, which drew a bunch of new boundaries for countries in Europe.
In the early part of 1919, the president caught influenza, mainly because he wore himself out by traveling around the country, trying to talk people into supporting the League of Nations. Then on October 2, he had a stroke, and he ended up paralyzed on his left side and blind in his left eye. He stayed in bed for many weeks, and only his doctor and his wife got to visit him. During this time, Mrs. Wilson mostly took care of doing all the presidential stuff, but nobody really knew she was doing that. Many years later, in 1967, the 25th Amendment was passed, and it was all about how to handle things if a president got sick or whatever.
During the war, President Wilson was the first president ever to shake hands with a decorated war dog. This dog was Sergeant Stubby, the little pit bull terrier that I told you about in another blog entry. Also, President Wilson said one time, "If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience."
On February 3, 1924, Mr. Wilson died at his home, and he was buried in Washington National Cathedral. He is the only president who has been buried in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Wilson lived for 37 more years in the same house before she died there on December 28, 1961. Her favorite dog, Rooter, was beside her bed when she died.