Monday, December 22, 2008
Franklin's Fir a First--Fact or Fallacy?
With a great deal of trepidation, I bring up an aspect of the Presidency of Franklin Pierce heretofore not explored on this blog. Lugubrious Drollery is dedicated to stamping out misinformation wherever it rears its ugly head. With this in mind, the author has tirelessly posted righteously indignant comments at as many as three or four other blogs guilty of repeating the story of President Franklin Pierce running over an old woman (see also LD's previous post "Franklin Pierce Runs Over Woman--Not!").
I know I am risking my reputation as a champion of truth, justice, and the American Way by posting an unsubstantiated bit of Presidential trivia here. In this Christmas season, I feel I must point out that they say (ah, the omniscient, omnipresent they!) that Franklin Pierce was the first President to decorate the White House with a Christmas tree. There! I've said it! Let the Devil take the hindmost and Bob's your uncle!
I have searched high and low for contemporaneous documentation of this momentous event in holiday decorating, but so far this effort has come a cropper. Sometimes they say the tree was erected in 1853, but others say the date was 1856. Some accounts throw in a visit from a Sunday school class from a Washington Presbyterian Church for good measure.
Well, until someone can show me a shred of evidence, I remain skeptical that Handsome Frank decked the halls of the White House.