Polk was a strong president successfully negotiating with Britain for much of the Oregon Country. He had campaigned on annexing Texas, and when Mexico refused, he led the nation to a swift victory in the Mexican-American War. Polk also campaigned on serving one term, a promise he kept. At the end of his term Polk was exhausted. His time in office had taken its toll on his body. Polk left office on March 4, 1849, weak and most likely battling cholera, which he was thought to have contracted during a visit to New Orleans, Louisiana.
Polk retired to his newly built Nashville, Tennessee, home dubbed, Polk Place. Just 103 days after leaving the White House, Polk died at 3:15 pm on June 15, 1849.
Polk’s last words were, “I love you, Sarah. For all eternity, I love you.” His last thoughts were not about the power he had wielded as president, or the service he had rendered to the nation, but only of his love for his wife.
Polk was buried first at his home, Polk Place. When his wife Sarah Childress Polk died on August 14, 1891, she was buried next to her husband. When their home, Polk Place, was demolished their tomb was moved to its present location on the Tennessee Capitol grounds in Nashville, Tennessee.
Other famous last words:
“Friends applaud, the Comedy is over.” Ludwig van Beethoven
“Get my Swan costume ready.” Anna Pavlova
“All my possessions for a moment of time.” Queen Elizabeth I
“I’m dying as I have lived, beyond my means.” Oscar Wilde
“Let me go quietly, as I cannot last long.” George Washington
“If this is dying, I don’t think much of it.” Lytton Strachey