When I graduated from high school, I went on to receive my Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Northern Illinois University. I received my Ph.D. from Walden University in 1993.
When I retired from education in 1994, I asked myself what can I do that would be of interest. With my hobby of collecting Presidential Campaign Buttons, I thought it would be fun, exciting and certainly interesting to visit all the gravesites of the deceased Presidents of the United States. I began my journey in 1999 and completed it in 2012. During that time, I have visited every gravesite of our deceased presidents and in some cases I have visited them on many occasions.
When I visited the gravesites, I would take thirty to forty photographs of them. From the very beginning, I knew that someday I would write a book covering my thoughts and experiences that I had while on was on my journey. I have now completed my book. I have written a story about each visit to the presidential gravesites. To go along with each story, I would like to have certain photographs printed of the presidential gravesites. In addition to writing about my visits to the presidential gravesites, I have written my Introduction, Epilogue, Acknowledgements, Dedication and also About the Author. I do feel my story will create interest, make a person smile and at times bring tears to the eyes of the reader. It is a story that was heart warming for me to do and I am hopeful that I may share it with the world.
I presently live in Peoria, Arizona with my wife, Sharon. As we continue to travel, we will continue to visit presidential gravesites. Every visit is different, always meaningful, moving, sometimes sad, but always tells me that my story has to be shared.
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Regardless, they were the Presidents of the United States
By Richard F. Felicetti
AuthorHouse LLCCopyright © 2014 DR. RICHARD F. FELICETTI
All rights reserved.
1st President Served as President From April 30, 1789 to March 4, 1797
Born: February 22, 1732
Died: December 14, 1799
Final Burial Place: Mt. Vernon, Virginia
I was excited to visit the gravesite of President Washington because he was our first president. It was a beautiful day to visit. I walked around the gravesite enclosure taking many photos. We were asked to move away from the gravesite. Schools were visiting on that day. A class of students with their teacher came walking up to the gravesite. The teacher and each student were given a red carnation. They walked up to the entrance of the gravesite and placed the carnations. Each student paused for a second and bowed their heads in respect of President Washington and then moved on.
The flowers were then gathered up by attendants. They proceed to give the flowers to the next group of students and the same ceremony was repeated. It was always done with dignity and you could see the students were proud of their actions. As a former educator it gave me a good feeling to see the respect and emotions the students displayed.
President Washington is buried with his wife, Martha. I walked up as close as I possibly could to take photos of their burial vaults.
2nd President Served as President From March 4, 1797 to March 4, 1801
Born: October 30, 1735
Died: July 4, 1826
Final Burial Place: First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachusetts
When I entered the United First Parish Church, the final resting place of President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, I was greeted by an administrator of the church. I shared with him that I was visiting the gravesites of all presidents and I planned to author a book with photos on my experiences. He was most cooperative and escorted me to the lower level of the church where President Adams was buried. He told me only on special occasions do they let visitors into the burial crypt. After I had taken many photos, we sat down and talked about the history of the Adams family and the town of Quincy, Massachusetts. I was so pleased with all of his help and it made the visit all the more rewarding.
3rd President Served as President From March 4, 1801 to March 4, 1809
Born: April 13, 1743
Died: July 4, 1826
Final Burial Place: Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia
I visited the home that President Jefferson designed and lived in until his death. The home was called Monticello, the Italian word for Little Mountain. The home was furnished with many items purchased and designed by him. The home also housed thousands of books.
I walked to the nearby cemetery where Thomas Jefferson, his wife Martha and other family members are buried. The cemetery was gated, but I was able to take photos through the bars. The wording on the monument was clear and looked as though the engraving had recently been redone.
4th President From March 4, 1809 to March 4, 1817
Born: March 16, 1751
Died: June 28, 1836
Final Burial Place: Montpelier, Virginia
To drive up to Montpelier, the home of President Madison was an awesome and beautiful site. You pass the Temple which was built while he was President and it adds additional beauty to the historic area.
You could walk or drive to the James Madison Cemetery. I drove to the cemetery which was located about one-half mile from the main house. The cemetery was located in a beautiful serene area within a brick wall. The cemetery was being restored, but still a beautiful place to visit. The monuments were in fine condition and the inscriptions were easy to read. Buried next to President Madison is his wife, Dolley, who was the first president's wife to be called, The First Lady.
5th President From March 4, 1817 to March 4, 1825
Born: April 28, 1758
Died: July 4, 1831
Final Burial Place: Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia
Entering Hollywood Cemetery located in Richmond, Virginia was like entering a museum. Many notables are buried in Hollywood Cemetery. Driving to the gravesite of President Monroe, I could not help but to stop along the way and view other burial sites. As I approached President Monroe's tomb, it reminded me of a palace enclosed by very ornate black wrought iron. It stood out amongst every monument in the area.
If you look closely at some of the photos you can see immediately behind the gravesite of President Monroe, the back of the monument of President John Tyler, the 10th President of the United States of America. I would say they are approximately 100 feet from each other. It was a fascinating sight to observe.
John Quincy Adams
6th President From March 4, 1825 to March 4, 1829
Born: July 11, 1767
Died: February 23, 1848
Final Burial Place: First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachusetts
As I walked into the United First Parish Church, I was greeted by an administrator of the Church. I shared with him that I was visiting the gravesites of all deceased Presidents of the United States and planned to author a book on my experiences. He was interested in my project and he guided me through the church and was most cooperative answering all questions that I had. He took me to the crypt beneath the sanctuary where President John Quincy Adams and his wife Louisa Catherine Adams are buried.
I was thankful for the opportunity to take photos of President John Quincy Adams and his wife Louisa in their final resting place. I was told not everyone is allowed that privilege so that made the visit all the more special to me.
7th President From March 4, 1829 to March 4, 1837
Born: March 15, 1767
Died: June 8, 1845
Final Burial Place: The Hermitage, Nashville, Tennessee
After I parked my car, I walked to the Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson. The preservation of the Hermitage both inside the home and the grounds surrounding the home are well maintained. From the home, I walked through the garden area to the Andrew Jackson Tomb.
President Jackson had the Tomb built in honor of his wife Rachel in 1831. She died in 1828 when they were planning their move to Washington D.C. where President Jackson was to take the Oath of Office as the 7th President of the United States. The monument stands in a black wrought iron gated area. A white fence is built around the monument and also enclosed within the fence is the Jackson Family Cemetery.
Martin Van Buren
8th President From March 4, 1837 to March 4, 1841
Born: December 5, 1782
Died: July 24, 1862
Final Burial Place: Kinderhook Cemetery, Kinderhook, New York
President Martin Van Buren is buried in Kinderhook Cemetery, which is located close to the home where he was born. I drove to the cemetery and was able to park my car on the side of the road. From there it was a short walk to the gravesite of President Van Buren.
The gravesite of President Martin Van Buren does not stand alone. It is surrounded by gravesites in every direction. The monument is a tall obelisk. President Van Buren and his wife, Hannah are buried there.
William Henry Harrison
9th President From March 4, 1841 to April 4, 1841
Born: February 9, 1773
Died: April 4, 1841
Final Burial Place: William Henry Harrison State Park, North Bend, Ohio
President Harrison was buried on his family estate located in southern Ohio. In time the estate was sold off except for approximately six acres which held the burial ground of President Harrison. The gravesite of President Harrison is somewhat difficult to locate. Once I found the gravesite, the terrace, has trees in the background and in the middle is a tall obelisk inscribed with the accomplishments of President Harrison.
As I walked up, the tomb was gated, but not locked. I was able to walk in the tomb and take some photos close up of President Harrison and his wife, Anna. It was interesting to note that also buried in the tomb is their son, John Scott. John Scott is the father of Benjamin Harrison who became the 23rd President of the United States.
10th President From April 6, 1841 to March 4, 1845
Born: March 29, 1790
Died: January 18 1862
Final Burial Place: Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia
I have visited Hollywood Cemetery on three different occasions. It is the burial site of President John Tyler located in Richmond, Virginia. Each visit to Hollywood Cemetery would always be an adventure, locating the gravesites of many famous people, especially of military men that served in the Confederate Army. Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America is buried in Hollywood Cemetery.
President John Tyler was buried in Hollywood Cemetery in an unmarked gravesite. In later years a marker identified his gravesite and in 1915 the monument which you see in the photos was erected on his gravesite. As you look at the photos notice in the background on some of them you will see the gravesite of our Fifth President of the United States, James Monroe. Julia, the second wife of President Tyler, is buried with him at Hollywood Cemetery.
James Knox Polk
11th President From March 4, 1845 to March 4, 1849
Born: November 2, 1795
Died: June 15, 1849
Final Burial Place: State Capitol Grounds, Nashville, Tennessee
President Polk is buried on a hillside with huge trees on either side of his tomb. It is a long walk from the parking lot to the gravesite. The tomb is located next to a sidewalk which makes it easy and comfortable to approach his tomb. Once there a person can walk around the tomb reading the various inscriptions that are engraved on his tomb. It is a nice touch to be that close to the tomb and be able to read about President Polk's life and his accomplishments during his lifetime.
President Polk is buried with his wife, Sarah. She and her husband, President Polk were buried at their present location in 1893.
12th President From March 4, 1849 to July 9, 1850
Born: November 24, 1784
Died: July 9, 1850
Final Burial Place: Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky
When entering the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery the gates open to a paved road lined with beautiful trees. The road leads directly to the grave site of President Taylor. President Taylor was buried in the original family vault. In 1926 President Taylor and his wife, Margaret were moved from the old vault to a new mausoleum built by order of the United States Government. As one stands in front of the new mausoleum the old vault is located to the rear left just a few yards away. Directly to the left of the mausoleum is a monument with a statue of President Taylor at the top. The wording on the monument honors him as President and for his military accomplishments.
One of the accompanying photos shows the front door of the new mausoleum. I did take a photo through the window of the burial vaults of President and Mrs. Taylor. The vaults are barely recognizable due to the windows of the door being tinted and weather beaten
13th President From July 10, 1850 to March 4, 1853
Born: January 7, 1800
Died: March 8, 1874
Final Burial Place: Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New York
Interesting that President Fillmore, in his lifetime, selected his family cemetery lot at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York. Forest Lawn is a huge cemetery with no street signs. After driving around for 30 minutes, I finally located the grave site of President Fillmore. President Fillmore's is located in a gated area of the cemetery. He is buried with his first wife, Abigail and his second wife, Caroline Carmichael McIntosh. His grave site is marked by a dignified obelisk made of granite. Also in the gated area are buried Nathan Hall and Solomon Haven. The three men were business partners and friends who, in death, remain side by side in the exact order of their law firm's name: Fillmore, Hall and Haven.
On my visit to President Fillmore's grave site, as an educator, it was heart warming for me to see a wreath put at the presidents grave site which read, "Honoring our 13th President" and it was put there by the Springville Elementary School. One of the photos shows this clearly.
While visiting Forest Lawn Cemetery, I purchased a guide book to be used when visiting the cemetery. In the guide book was a prepaid business reply mail card stating lots were available for purchase in the cemetery. I smiled to myself and thought what a place to be buried with all the famous people that are buried there. Still smiling, I know that I will be buried with my wife, Sharon, near my hometown of Chicago Heights, Illinois.
14th President From March 4, 1853 to March 4, 1857
Born: November 23, 1804
Died: October 8, 1869
Final Burial Place: Old North Cemetery, Concord, New Hampshire
President Pierce is buried in the gated Minot enclosure located in the Old North Cemetery. The gate of the Minot enclosure was open and it was a short walk to the gravesite. As I was taking photos of the gravesite, I noticed that the granite monument was not worn nor had stains from inclement weather on it. When I visited the Pierce home, I met with a representative that worked at the home. She told me that in 1946 the State of New Hampshire placed the granite monument at President Pierce's gravesite. The monument was in beautiful condition and looked as though it had just been put at the gravesite. Mrs. Jane Pierce is buried with her husband along with their children.
15th President From March 4, 1857 to March 4, 1861
Born: April 23, 1791
Died: June 1, 1868
Final Burial Place: Woodward Hill Cemetery, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
I was able to drive right up to the gravesite of President Buchanan and park the car along the road side. A plaque on what I would call a curb in front of President Buchanan's monument had the following inscription, "Monument replaced and gravesite restored by the Pilot Club of Lancaster 1960" and below that on the same plaque, "Landscaped in memory of Pilot Club Member Dorothy Bender Nystrom 2000." I was visiting the gravesite on August 14, 2002.
It was not my intent to judge the appearances of any presidential gravesite. As I looked around the tomb of President Buchanan, though, I was disappointed with the appearance and care of the area. The monument was clean and the wording was easy to read. The bushes needed trimming and the lawn needed to be fertilized and also cut. In addition the cemetery had many monuments that were over turned. By this time I had visited a few of the presidential gravesites. It made me realize how some of the presidential gravesites were better taken care of than others.
As I was on my mission to visit all the deceased presidential gravesites, I was always thinking about a title for my completed book. With no decision at this time for a title, it made me say to myself that regardless of what they did as President of the United States, that care and upkeep of their final resting place should be established to maintain the gravesites of our presidents in a dignified way. I would want somehow to incorporate that feeling into the title of my book.
16th President From March 4, 1861 to April 15, 1865
Born: February 12, 1809
Died: April 15, 1865
Final Burial Place: Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois
I was born in the State of Illinois and spent most of my life living in the state. As an educator, my career took me to Palatine, Elgin and Chicago Heights, all located in the State of Illinois. Attending schools in Chicago Heights, we were always taught to revere President Lincoln because of what he accomplished during his presidency and also to be additionally proud because he was from the State of Illinois. Through the years, I have visited the home and gravesite of President Lincoln, plus New Salem, where Lincoln also lived and worked. I have visited Springfield, Illinois as an educator, with my family and also alone as I was taking photos and gathering information for the book that I am writing.
Excerpted from Regardless, they were the Presidents of the United States by Richard F. Felicetti. Copyright © 2014 DR. RICHARD F. FELICETTI. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse LLC.
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Table of Contents
About The Author, xxiii,
George Washington, 1,
John Adams, 6,
Thomas Jefferson, 11,
James Madison, 16,
James Monroe, 21,
John Quincy Adams, 26,
Andrew Jackson, 31,
Martin Van Buren, 36,
William Henry Harrison, 41,
John Tyler, 46,
James Knox Polk, 51,
Zachary Taylor, 56,
Millard Fillmore, 61,
Franklin Pierce, 66,
James Buchanan, 71,
Abraham Lincoln, 76,
Andrew Johnson, 82,
Ulysses Simpson Grant, 87,
Rutherford B. Hayes, 92,
James A. Garfield, 97,
Chester A. Arthur, 103,
Grover Cleveland, 108,
Benjamin Harrison, 113,
William McKinley, 118,
Theodore Roosevelt, 123,
William Howard Taft, 128,
Woodrow Wilson, 134,
Warren G. Harding, 139,
Calvin Coolidge, 144,
Herbert Hoover, 149,
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 154,
Harry S Truman, 160,
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 165,
John F. Kennedy, 170,
Lyndon B. Johnson, 176,
Richard M. Nixon, 181,
Gerald R. Ford, 186,
Ronald Reagan, 191,