Everyone learns about George Washington’s apple tree and Benjamin Franklin’s experiment with a kite and a key as they grow up. It turns out that many of the things “everyone knows” about our Founding Fathers are wrong, and the things most people don’t know are actually scary. There are many strange and shocking facts about the Founding Fathers that your history books probably left out on purpose.
Who are the Founding Fathers? They were some of the most important people in American history, and almost all of them were much drunker and less moral than most people remember. We often look back on the American Revolution with rose-colored glasses, but the truth is that these men weren’t always so good. It’s not easy to start a country from scratch, and the dark history of these Founding Fathers shows that better than anything else.
The Bones Found In Benjamin Franklin’s London Home
When it comes to Benjamin Franklin, the phrase “skeletons in the closet” means something very literal. In 1998, when Franklin’s London home was being fixed up, workers found 1,200 pieces of human bone. The pieces came from different parts of the body and about 15 people, six of whom were children.
On the surface, it might look like Ben Franklin was the first Jack the Ripper, but experts say it’s much more likely that he helped an underground anatomy school get bodies from the graveyard and gallows. Back in the day, people thought it was morally wrong to study dead bodies, so the first people to do so often had to get them in secret.
The Urinary Tract Blockage That Ended A New York Senator
Many of the Founding Fathers died poor, sick, or in other terrible ways, but none of them died as badly as New York Senator Gouverneur Morris. During his life, Morris helped write the preamble to the Constitution and walked on a peg leg. The word on the street was that he got this deformed leg when he jumped out of the bedroom window of a married woman he was sleeping with to get away from her angry husband.
Morris died in 1816 when he was 64 years old. He had been trying to treat a blockage in his urinary tract.
George Washington took advantage of legal loopholes to keep people as slaves for good.
George Washington got his first slaves when he was 10 years old. Throughout his life, even as abolition spread through the North, he used legal loopholes to keep people in chains. He found a way to get around the Gradual Abolition Act of 1780, which said that slaves who lived in Pennsylvania for more than six months were free. He did this while he was living in Philadelphia.
Washington would send slaves on secret trips outside the state every six months to keep the clock from running out and make sure they were not legally free.
They drank more than twice as much alcohol as people do today.
On average, a modern American drinks about two gallons of alcohol each year. Back then, the average colonist drank seven gallons of alcohol per year and had already had a few beers by lunchtime.
Besides the fact that starting a country is a stressful job, there are a number of theories about why the Founding Fathers liked to drink so much. Some of these ideas are that there wasn’t enough clean water, that water was bad for you, and that only poor people drank water. Beer and cider did not count as alcohol back then, either. And no one stopped them, because a revolution is the worst time for an intervention.
The Oldest Founder Hid From The British By Living Outside In The New Jersey Winter.
“Honest John” Hart, who was 65 years old, was the oldest person to sign the Declaration of Independence. Because of his patriotism, he faced especially bad consequences. He started to lose everything in 1776. In the months after he signed the Declaration of Independence, his wife of 36 years died, and the British forced him and his 13 children to leave their home in New Jersey. He gave the youngest kids to neighbors to live with.
The story goes that Hart hid from the British for a long time by living in caves, fields, and the forest. As this old man worked outside in the weather, the British stole his things, killed all of his animals, and damaged part of his house.
Dr. Benjamin Rush tried to treat yellow fever by making people throw up and draw blood, which made Philadelphia’s outbreak worse.
In the summer of 1793, thousands of people died from yellow fever in Philadelphia. Even though the doctors in the city were some of the best in the world, they didn’t know how to treat or stop the disease. Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush was one of the most well-known medical pioneers of his time. He thought that bloodletting and forcing patients to vomit would clean out the body and heal them. As it turns out, these fluid-based treatments didn’t help patients. If anything, they probably made their conditions worse.
His peers were very critical of him, and historians still argue about whether he is a hero or a villain in the history of Philadelphia. Even though a lot of doctors openly criticized his methods, Dr. Rush wouldn’t stop making sick people bleed and throw up.
Thomas Paine’s Remains Were Stolen.
In 1809, Thomas Paine, a Founding Father best known for his pamphlet Common Sense, died. Less than 10 people went to the funeral of the once-famous Thomas Paine. Paine lost his fame because he was against the church. At the end of his life, Paine was almost broke, so he was buried in a small grave on his farm, even though he had asked to be buried somewhere else.
Ten years later, William Cobbett dug up Paine’s body to bring him back to London for a more proper burial, but this grave-robbing turned out to be a bad idea. Paine’s body parts were eventually given to Cobbett’s family, who sold them piece by piece. Paine’s fans try to give him a proper burial in New York all the time, but it is still impossible to find all of the pieces of his body. Today, people say that Paine’s head is in Australia and the rest of his body is at the four corners of the world.