John Payne Todd
1792 – 1852
Who was John Payne Todd?
John Payne Todd, also known as Payne Todd, was the first son of Dolley Payne and John Todd Jr. His father and younger brother died in the 1793 Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic, which killed nearly 10 percent of the city's population. His mother remarried the following year, to the older James Madison, the future president of the United States.
Madison adopted Todd at age 2 and tried to help him in what developed as a difficult life. Believed to be alcoholic, Todd was repeatedly jailed for shooting incidents, and ran up debts in gambling. His parents bailed him out of debtors' prison, mortgaging Madison's Montpelier to raise the money. His stepfather had him manage Montpelier at one point, but Todd was unsuccessful. Todd died of typhoid fever less than three years after his mother's death of old age.
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