FRANKLIN PIERCE, 14TH PRESIDENT - Franklin Pierce took the oath of office as President on March 4, 1853. Tragically, on his way by train to his inauguration, his son was killed when the train derailed. As a result of grieving over this loss, his wife was not able to continue and Pierce had to go alone to Washington, D.C. There, he stood up in his carriage to and from the U.S. Capitol to his inauguration. He was the first President to affirm the required presidential oath, rather than being sworn in. He also was the first President to not refer to any notes in delivering his inaugural address.