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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Factoids on Famous 4th of July people

Its Wednesday... one day away from the 4th..

Can feel the excitement in the air can't you? -- Picnics, BBQs, Fireworks..   So we won't get too bogged down in anything too deep today..

Market is up.. Ehh..  Just a bunch of rats and other vermin positioning themselves for Friday's release of the June jobs report... as if that really matters one way or another.

If its super, then the market will probably drop hard..  If the jobs numbers are poor, the market will spike..
You know this by now.. whatever ensures more QE..

Bad is Good.. Good is well.. it depends doesn't it..

So that's that..  onto other things..

We thought we'd focus on some individuals in American History who are quite famous around the Fourth of July yet forgotten the rest of the year; their backgrounds and lives a bit obscure to most..

So here are some interesting factoids:
Betsy Ross

*  Her birth name was Elizabeth Griscom (Jan 1, 1752); born in Philadelphia

*  She is widely credited for sewing for the first American flag but no archival evidence that the story is true

*  She was born into a Quaker family but after falling in love with an Episcopalian and eloping with him at the age of 21, she was expelled from the Quaker congregation

*  She was married three times.. John Ross being the 1st husband
*  During the war, Betsy worked in the upholstery business repairing uniforms and making tents and blankets and stuffed paper tube cartridges with musket ball for the Continental Army

*  She had no children with her first two husbands and five children with her third, John Claypoole.  Many years later, after her husband died and retiring from her upholstery business, she left Philadelphia to live with one of her daughters in a nearby town called Abington.

* For the last three years of her life, Ross was completely blind and ultimately died at the age of 84 (Jan 30, 1836)
Thomas Paine

*  Born in England on January 29, 1737

* Most famous for writing the influential pamphlet 'Common Sense' in 1776

* Paine came to America in 1774 with the assistance of Ben Franklin; he barely survived the trip due to typhoid fever and took six weeks to ultimately recover.

*  Paine lived in France for most of the 1790s, becoming deeply involved in the French Revolution, writing the Rights of Man (1791), in part a defense of the French Revolution against its critics.
*  Paine was arrested by Robespierre during the 'Age of Reason' but was ultimately spared the guillotine.  He seemed to believe Washington conspired with Robespierre to imprison him and later on went out of his way in an open letter in 1796, to try (unsuccessfully) to smear Washington's good name and reputation.

* Paine designed the Sunderland Bridge of 1796 over the Wear River at Wearmouth, England. It was patterned after the model he had made for the Schuylkill River Bridge at Philadelphia in 1787.  The Sunderland arch became the prototype for many subsequent voussoir (wedge shaped) arches made later on for other bridges
*  Paine bought his only house in 1783 in Bordentown City, New Jersey (located at Exit 7 of NJ Turnpike) and he lived in it periodically until his death in 1809. This is the only place in the world where Paine purchased real estate

*  In 1802, he returned to America where he died seven years later on June 8, 1809 in Greenwich Village, NYC.  Only six people attended his funeral as he had been ostracized for his ridicule of Christianity.  He was 72.
John Hancock

*  Was born on January 23, 1737 in Braintree, Mass.

*  Best remembered for his large and stylish signature on the United States Declaration of Independence, so much so that the term "John Hancock" became, in the United States, a synonym for signature.

*  Was a merchant, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first and third Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
*  Before the war, Hancock was one of the wealthiest men in the Thirteen Colonies, having inherited a profitable mercantile business from his uncle.  As tensions between colonists and Great Britain increased in the 1760s, Hancock used his wealth to support the colonial cause.

*  According to legend, Hancock signed his name largely and clearly so that King George could read it without his spectacles, but is mere story originating years later.

* Contrary to popular mythology, there was no ceremonial signing of the Declaration on July 4, 1776. After Congress approved the wording of the text on July 4, a copy was sent to be printed. As president, Hancock signed the document that was sent to the printer but no other member had.

Six months later, a second printing was issued six months later with all of the signers listed.
*  Hancock was put forth as a candidate in the 1789 U. S. presidential election.

As custom in an era where political ambition was viewed with suspicion, Hancock did not campaign or even publicly express interest in the office; he instead made his wishes known indirectly. He knew Washington would be President but Hancock was angling for VP; he only received four electoral votes.

* Hancock died  on October 8, 1793, at 56 years of age

Happy Fourth of July to you all..  We'll be back on Friday~