Wife: Sarah Childress (1803-1891), on January
Pets: A horse
Bio: James Knox Polk, (1795-1849), was the 11th
President Of The United States. Born on a farm in Mecklenburg
county, North Carolina, on Nov. 2, 1795, he was the
oldest of ten children. James' great-uncle Thomas Polk
was the most prominent leader in the community. His
maternal grandfather was James Knox, a Revolutionary
War hero. He attended the University of North Carolina,
and graduated at the head of his class in 1818. He was
admitted to the bar in 1820. On Jan. 1, 1824, he married
Sarah Childress. They never had children.
In 1825, Polk entered the U.S. House Of Representatives,
holding his seat in Congress for 14 years with only
occasional challenges. When his good friend and political
ally Andrew Jackson was elected to president in 1828,
Polk became a prominent administration spokesman in
the House and gained more recognition in Washington.
He was elected as Speaker of the House in 1835, and
went on to run for and win the election for governor
Although he was then defeated twice while running for
successive terms, he was still a strong candidate for
president in the campaign of 1844. Whether to annex
Texas or not was the defining issue of this campaign.
Polk supported the annexation and as it turned out so
did the voting public. He won with 170 electoral votes
to 105 for his opponent, Clay. He became one of the
strongest and most successful presidents of the 19th
century. Polk supported legislation to reduce tariffs
substantially and restored the independent treasury
Major accomplishments included winning a war with Mexico,
which allowed the US to annex New Mexico and California.
In December 1848, Polk announced that gold had been
By the end of his term, Polk was exhausted from the
tremendous amount of work he did, and settled into retirement
in Nashville Three months after leaving office, he became
ill and died on June 15, 1849.