Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Presidential Deaths: Part One

OK, so I realize this is a little bit morbid, but I'm going to be focusing on the deaths of all our beloved Presidents. Some have gone out with a bang (no pun intended), and some went quietly  So, I'm basically going to give the name, date, age, the cause of death, place of burial, and last words (if there were any).

President: George Washington
Date: December 14th, 1799
Age: 67
Cause of Death:  Pneumonia/Throat infection. Washington had been out riding around his plantation for hours in the snow and freezing rain. He later ate supper that night without changing out of his clothes. He woke up in the morning with a severely sore throat. As was the practice at the time, he was bled several times by doctors. He died shortly after from his ailment.
Last Words: The last words written in his journal are: "'Tis Well."
Place of Burial: Mount Vernon, Virginia

President: John Adams
Date: July 4th, 1826
Age: 90 (he held the record for longest living President until Ronald Reagan)
Cause of Death: Being incredibly old. He had a heart attack probably caused by arteriosclerosis.
Last Words: "Thomas Jefferson survives." Jefferson did not live, he had died a little before Adams.
Place of Burial: United First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachusetts.

President: Thomas Jefferson
Date: July 4th, 1826
Age: 83

Cause of Death: Jefferson was basically stuck in bed for the last year of his life, suffering from various illnesses. His death is attributed to either dehydration from dysentery or complications from pneumonia.
Last Words:  "Is it the fourth yet?" It was. Jefferson died within the hour. Both Adams and Jefferson, the best of friends and the worst of enemies died on the 50th anniversary of the signing of The Declaration of Independence. Spooky.
Place of Burial: Monticello, Charlettsville, Virginia. The epitaph on Jefferson's grave says nothing of his tenure as President, just lines about him being the writer of the Declaration of Independence, the father of the University of Virginia, and lover of the separation of church and state. Everything Jefferson owned had to be sold off since he died poor as dirt. He didn't spend money wisely and often bought lavishly for interior decorating.

President: James Madison
Date: June 28th, 1836. Madison was the last of the Founders to die.
Age: 85
Cause of Death: Old age/heart attack
Last Words: "I always talk better lying down."
Place of Burial: Montpelier, Virginia

President: James Monroe

Date:  July 4th, 1831
Age: 73
Cause of Death: Combination of heart failure and TB. No, not Taco Bell...Tuberculosis. I wouldn't mind dying by Taco Bell, though.
Last Words: His last words were actually about James Madison. "I regret that I am about to die without again beholding him."
Place of Burial: Originally buried at the New York City Marble Cemetery, he was later transported to the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

President: John Quincy Adams
Date: February 23rd, 1848
Age: 80

Cause of Death: Two days earlier he had been in the House of Representatives who were discussing if they should present swords to honor officers of the Mexican-American War. While everyone yelled out "ayes" in favor of this, Adams, who was completely against this, stood up and shouted "No!" He then had a massive stroke and fell into his fellow House member's arms. He died two days later. So, I guess you could say that he was struck down by God for being a jackass.
Last Words: "I hate every single one of those lousy Mexican-American war veterans! I'll give them a sword straight up their...*cough* *cough* *wheeeeeze* *eye's rolling back*." OK, that wasn't really it, but I'm sure it entered his head a few times after the stroke. His real last words were: "This is the last of earth. I am content."
Place of Burial: United First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachusetts. Same as his father.

President: Andrew Jackson
Date: June 8th, 1845
Age: 78
Cause of Death: Jackson was one of the more sickly Presidents. He had a bullet stuck in his lung from a duel and it caused him to have terrible headaches and a chronic cough. He eventually died of a combination of chronic tuberculosis, dropsy, and heart failure. Geez, talk about overkill.
Last Words: "Oh do not cry, and be good children-we will all meet in Heaven."
Place of Burial:  The Hermitage, Nashville, Tennessee.

President: Martin Van Buren
Date: July 24th, 1862. Van Buren outlived his four successors.
Age: 79
Cause of Death: Heart failure and bronchitis. Ain't nobody got time for that.
Last Words: "There is but one reliance."
Place of Burial: Kinderhook Cemetery, Kinderhook, New York

President: William Henry Harrison
Date: April 4th, 1841. Remember, he died a month after he was elected. Bad luck.
Age: 68
Cause of Death: Harrison developed a cold a few weeks after his inauguration and it got worse from there. The popular theory that he got the cold from his lack of coat and hat at his freezing inaugural address is apparently untrue. He died nine days after getting sick, officially of pneumonia and jaundice.
Last Words: Spoken to his doctor, but probably meant for John Tyler: "I wish that you could understand the principles of government. I ask them to be carried out. I ask nothing more." The doctor was probably like, "Yep, I'll get right on that."
Place of Burial: North Bend, Ohio

President: John Tyler
Date: January 18, 1862
Age: 71
Cause of Death: He suffered from continuous bouts of dysentery at the end of his life, but most believe he died from a stroke.
Last Words: "Doctor, I am going. Perhaps it is best."
Place of Burial: Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia. Fun Fact: Tyler is the only President to not have his death recognized in Washington. Tyler allied himself with the Confederacy in his old age even going so far as to join their House of Representatives, thus he was basically disowned by the U.S. government at the time. Jefferson Davis had a memorial for him instead.

President: James K. Polk
Date: June 15, 1849. Polk had the shorted retirement from the presidency at 103 days. He is also the youngest President to die in retirement.
Age: 53

Cause of Death: Polk entered the presidency full of life and left it with little left. He is probably the only President that made a list of goals for his presidency and actually accomplished all of them. This had its drawbacks, however. He contracted cholera in New Orleans during a goodwill tour in the South and it gradually got worse.
Last Words: "I love you, Sarah. I love you for all eternity." Awww...too bad he too was speaking to his doctor. Just kidding....I think.
Place of Burial: State Capital grounds, Nashville, Tennessee

President: Zachery Taylor
Date: July 9th, 1850
Age: 65
Cause of Death: This one is sort of a mystery. Taylor had been consuming a ton of cold milk and cherries during a holiday celebration, and he became very ill a few days later. He most likely died from cholera, severe diarrhea, or perhaps even a severe case of gastroenteritis. He was the second President to die in office.
Last Words: "I regret nothing, but I am sorry that I'm about to leave my friends."
Place of Burial: Zachery Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky

President: Millard Fillmore
Date: March 8, 1874
Age: 74
Cause of Death: Stroke, paralysis.
Last Words: Being fed soup: "the nourishment is palpable."
Place of Burial:Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New York

President: Franklin Pierce
Date: October 8th, 1869
Age: 64
Cause of Death: Pierce was quite the drinker. By that, I mean he was enough of one to die of cirrhosis of the liver.
Last Words: "I'm not as think as you drunk I am." That's my best guess, as nobody knows what his last words were.
Place of Burial: Old North Cemetery, Concord, New Hampshire. He also allied himself with the Confederacy during the war, but was still honored in Washington at the time of his death, seeing as the war was over.

President: James Buchanan
Date: June 1st, 1868
Age: 77
Cause of Death: Buchanan caught a cold and it worsened due to his advanced age. He died of respiratory failure.
Last Words: "I shall carry to my grave the consciousness that at least I meant well for my country. Oh, Lord God, as thou wilt." Buchanan was fully aware history would not look back kindly on his presidency. He had received threatening letters from the time he left office til his death, mostly for not doing anything to stop the war.
Place of Burial: Woodward Hill Cemetery, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

President: Abraham Lincoln
Date: April 15th, 1865
Age: 56
Cause of Death: Lincoln was shot in the back of the head by John Wilkes Booth while watching Our American Cousin at the Ford's Theater. Lincoln was the first President to be assassinated.
Last Words: "She won't think anything of it." Lincoln had been asked by his wife, Mary Todd, whether it was alright that they hold hands, since Miss Harris could see it. Cute and incredibly sad.
Place of Burial: Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois

President: Andrew Johnson
Date: July 31st, 1875
Age: 66
Cause of Death: Johnson had a few strokes and died from complications.
Last Words: Uttered to his daughter after having a stroke and falling out of his chair: "My right side is paralyzed. I need no doctor. I can overcome my troubles."
Place of Burial: Andrew Johnson National Cemetery, Greensville, Tennessee

President: Ulysses S. Grant
Date: July 23rd, 1875
Age: 63
Cause of Death: Grant loved to smoke a good cigar. So much so that it gave him throat cancer. Yikes.
Last Words: "I hope that nobody will be distressed on my account."
Place of Burial: Grant's Tomb, Manhattan, New York City, New York. It is the largest mausoleum in America, and one of the largest in the world. If anyone asks you who is buried in Grant's Tomb, say no one, since both Grant and his wife are entombed, not buried. Ha, ha, Groucho, we get it.

President: Rutherford B. Hayes
Date: January 17th, 1893
Age: 70
Cause of Death: Heart failure.
Last Words: "I know that I'm going where Lucy is." His wife, "Lemonade" Lucy, had died four years before, and after that point, Hayes basically wrote that there was nothing left for him in life.
Place of Burial: Spiegel Grove State Park, Fremont, Ohio

President: James Garfield
Date: September 19th, 1881
Age: 49
Cause of Death: Garfield was shot twice in the back by Charles Guiteau, a insane office-seeker. Garfield would have survived the wounds, but his doctors poked around his insides too much and he got an infection. The infection later caused a heart attack, so I guess that's technically his cause of death.
Last Words: "My work is done."
Place of Burial: Garfield Memorial, Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio

President: Chester A. Arthur
Date: November 18th, 1886
Age: 57
Cause of Death: Arthur suffered from Bright's Disease, a kidney disease now known as chronic nephritis, which caused him to feel slow and tired. People thought he was lazy, but it wasn't that, he was just slowly dying. He died shortly after his presidency of the disease.
Last Words: Unknown
Place of Burial: Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, New York

President: Grover Cleveland
Date: June 24th, 1908
Age: 71
Cause of Death: Cleveland was one of our more heftier presidents and this didn't serve him well in his old age. He eventually died of heart failure.
Last Words: "I have tried so hard to do right."
Place of Burial: Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, New Jersey

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