"Peggy O'Neal" - a.k.a. Margaret Eaton (nick name Pot-House-Peggie) (1779-1879)|
Peggy was the daughter of a tavern-keeper in Washington D.C. When her 1st husband died at sea, she married John H. Eaton, a Tennessee senator and close friend of Andrew Jackson. Shortly after their marriage, John was appointed secretary of war by newly elected President Jackson.
Peggy's low social origins led to her being snubbed by Vice-President John Calhoun's and other cabinet members' wives. President Jackson sided with the Eaton's and this led to a split within his party's leadership. Finally Eaton resigned his post (1831) and was sent to govern Florida and finally named ambassador to Spain (1836), where Peggy enjoyed great social success.
Following Eaton's death (1856) Peggy (77 at the time) married Antonio Buchignani, a 19-year old dance instructor. He defrauded her of her fortune, divorced her in 1866, and eloped with her granddaughter. Peggy died at the age of 100 as humbly as she began.
Vignettes: Peggy greeting Jackson and John Eaton defending Peggy's honor.