JAMES BUCHANAN, 15th President of the United States (d. 1868); The nation’s only bachelor chief executive, for fifteen years in Washington D.C., prior to his presidency, Buchanan lived with his “close friend,” Alabama Senator William Rufus King (see Gay Wisdom, April 6). King became Vice President under Franklin Pierce. He took ill and died shortly after Pierce’s inauguration, and four years before Buchanan became President. Buchanan and King’s close relation prompted the surly and genocidal Andrew Jackson to refer to King as “Miss Nancy” and “Aunt Fancy,” while Aaron V. Brown spoke of the two as “Buchanan and his wife.”

Further, some of the contemporary press also speculated about Buchanan and King’s relationship. Buchanan and King’s nieces destroyed their uncles’ correspondence, leaving some questions as to what relationship the two men had, but the length and intimacy of surviving letters illustrate “the affection of a special friendship”, and Buchanan wrote of his “communion” with his housemate . The circumstances surrounding Buchanan and King’s close emotional ties have led some to speculate that he was America’s first homosexual president. Historically, until the Bush administration, Buchanan was generally considered the “worst President of all time.” He is now unequivocally #3. [formerly #2/updated 4/23/2020]