"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Monday, January 3, 2022

Jane Contee Hanson

This portrait of Jane Hanson by Antonio Tobias Mendez stands near her unmarked grave.  It is one of two busts at the Jane Hanson Memorial in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland. The plaque on the plinth of monument identifies Jane Contee Hanson.

First Lady Jane Contee Hanson, 1728-1812

In the unmarked mass grave behind this memorial rests Jane Hanson, the original first lady of the United States.

She is buried here with 285 others reinterred in 1913 from Frederick's Old Episcopal Graveyard. Seventy with legible gravestones were buried here identified s were Jane's Daughter Jane Thomas, son-in-law Dr. Philip Thomas, and their children John Hanson Thomas, Sr. and Rebecca Thomas Magruder whose graves are directly behind this memorial. The 286 with illegible or no gravestones or who like Jane rested in unmarked coffins with family crypts were buried anonymously in the mass grave mound seen behind this memorial.

Jane Contee Hanson descended from French nobility and was the Great-Great-Granddaughter of the High Sheriff of London. She presided over one of the nations great estates, witnessed her husband's ascent to the presidency, sacrificed two sons in the Revolution, served in the first presidential mansion as the nations original first lady., and outlived twelve of her thirteen children. They and her grandchildren were elected to the United States Senate, House of Representatives and Maryland General Assembly; Served as chancellor of Maryland, Electors of George Washington, and college presidents, Chief Justice John Marshall and a Governor of Maryland

Renowned sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez conceived of this dual-bust memorial to reunite Jane and John Hanson after their 231 years apart. He also created the John Hanson National Memorial.

This plaque sits under the bust of John Hanson.

President John Hanson, 1715-1783

No presidential couple suffered more tragic fates than did Jane and John Hanson. Jane's husband served the 1781-82 term as the first president of the original United States government under the Articles of Confederation. He was interred in a family crypt at Oxon Hill Manor in Prince George's County where he died November 22, 1783. The crypt was illegally destroyed during land development in the 1980s. The fate of John Hanson's body remains a mystery.

The John Hanson National Memorial is located at the Frederick County Courthouse a few blocks north of here.

The Jane Hanson National Memorial was donated by the John Hanson Memorial Association to this cemetery in 2014.


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