This is the first of two houses toured and they reflect a contrast in social station. This ranger-led tour is free but reservations must be made at the Independence Visitors Center. The other house is the Bishop William White house, which is just around the corner. The house has been completely restored in a manner consistent with a middle-class family of the 1790s.
This was the home of John & Dolley Todd and their two sons Payne and William. John was a lawyer and one of the rooms on the ground floor is set up as his office. The dining room and kitchen are also on the main floor.
The second floor consists of two smaller bedrooms as well as the much larger master bedroom, which has been fully dressed as it might have been when the Todds lived here.
Disaster struck in 1793, just 3 years into their marriage, when John and 3-month-old William died from the yellow fever epidemic. Dolley was left a widow at age 25. The next year, in this very house, she received a formal introduction to 43-year-old James Madison, the man who would become her husband and eventually the 4th President of the US.
The staircases are very narrow, steep and curving. If mobility is an issue this may not be the tour for you.
The ranger was quite knowledgeable and informative and happily answered whatever questions we had.
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