Dead Presidents #1A


I found the announcement of James Madison’s death in the Hartford Courant. It was in the July 4th edition of that paper. News travelled slower back then. It wasn’t a separate story. Instead, it was included with a couple of other dispatches from that part of the country. One of the other ones involved a son of Francis Scott Key.

His son Francis was a midshipman at Annapolis. But he was expelled for killing another USNA student in a duel. I never heard that story before. I had heard about his brother, Philip Barton Key. Philip took Tersa Sickles as his lover. When her husband Daniel found out, he shot Key dead. At the trial, Sickles pled temporary insanity. He was the first in the United States to use this defense. He was acquitted and went on to become a general in the Civil War; thanks to political connections. He wasn’t exactly a military mastermind.

Finally, I got a note from my friend Chris Jaffe about yesterday’s entry.

The last Founding Fathers were James Madison and John Marshall, with Madison outlived Marshall by almost a year.

The only possible F.F. to outlive them both was Aaron Burr. His Founding claim to fame was involvement in the 1775 invasion of Quebec. Pretty much everyone else of note from that period was dead by then.

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