Category Archives: Dead Presidents

Dead Presidents #2


Thomas Jefferson is on the $2 bill. A certain gangster-owned legitimate business near me likes to hand them out as change for some reason. Jefferson was no fan of doctors. He would gaze upwards for a buzzard whenever he saw three physicians together. He especially distrusted the practice of bleeding and purging.

He had urinary problems in his last months, possibly from an enlarged prostate. But what most likely killed him dehydration resulting from amoebic dysentery.

Jefferson became comatose on July 2, 1826. On the third he awakened and asked his doctor, Robley Dunglison, “Is it the fourth?” He died 50 minutes into the next day, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, a few hours before his onetime rival John Adams.

Jefferson was buried at Monticello. Monticello still stands today thanks to Uriah P. Levy, a Jewish Naval officer who admired Jefferson’s contributions to religious liberty and who believed that Monticello should be preserved as a monument.

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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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Dead Presidents #1


I guess that this is ostensibly a baseball blog. I love baseball and enjoyed driving through the eastern part of the state yesterday afternoon while listening to the Red Sox – Giants game on the radio, but the baseball muse hasn’t been inspiring me lately, but that’s okay.

I got the idea for writing what may turn out to be a new series from Alice Cooper. I was listening to “Nights With Alice Cooper” Friday and he mentioned some presidential trivia. One of the things he mentioned was that Teddy Roosevelt died of a tooth infection. This sparked my interest. I had a nasty one three weeks ago. Good thing I had it treated, no? I went to further research this on Whiskeypedia, but it wasn’t mentioned there. However, a further Google search revealed a couple of sites that discuss presidential health and demise.

Today marks the 174th anniversary of the death of James Madison. He was one of the last of the surviving Founding Fathers if not THE last. Most know that Adams and Jefferson died ten years earlier on the Fourth of July. His successor James Monroe also died on the on the Fourth in 1831. According to Dr. Zebra, “…(H)e refused the requests of friends’ to take stimulants in order to prolong his life until July 4, the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. . … Finally, one morning, a few days before the 4th, Madison was found dead in his bedroom, sitting in front of his untouched breakfast tray. ” His last words were “Nothing more than a change of mind, my dear. I always talk better lying down.” A niece had asked him what was wrong.

He was buried in the Madison family gravesite at their estate Montpelier in central Virginia.

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