Ellen Louise Axson Wilson

By Felicia Davis

Ellen Louise Axson was born on May 15, 1860 in Savannah, Ga. She married Thomas Woodrow Wilson (who later became President of the United States) on June 23, 1885. Mr. and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson had three lovely daughters. Ellen Wilson was a talented artist, well known for her art work. Before her marriage, Ellen Lousie Axson  resided in Rome. She graduated from the Rome Female College, which stood on Lumpkin Hill.  Her father, Rev Samuel Axson was the minister of Rome's First Presbyterian Church.  She later studied art at The Art Students League in New York. Some of her artwork was exhibited at the Chicago Art Institute, Women Arts in New York and many other places.  She established a scholarship at Berry Schools in memory of her brother and sold many of her paintings to fund it.  She was also known for helping Woodrow Wilson with his political career. She is also responsible for the creation of the Rose Garden at the White House and did much work to improve the living conditions of the Washington's poor.  It is believed that she contracted tuberculosis of the kidneys in the slums of Washington.  In March, she slipped on a polished floor in one of the bedrooms of the White House and began to experience many health problems. Because of this fall, she had to have minor surgery on her legs.  Later on, after discovering that she had Brights disease, life began to take a toll on her. On August 6, 1914, she died in the White House, at the age of fifty-four. Mrs. Ellen (Axson) Wilson was buried at the Myrtle Hill Cemetery, in Rome, Ga.

*Felicia Davis is a student at Floyd College in the summer writing class of Pamela Kinchloe, July 1999.