US Presidents #MysteryMonday

Hey, everyone. My Mystery Monday posts have been sparse this year, and now that the book tours for House of Sorrow and Cold Dark Night are over, I thought it was a good time to revise this monthly series.

Last Sunday was Independence Day, and America celebrated its two hundred forty-fifth birthday. Since the official holiday was on Monday, July 5, I decided to delay this post a week.

A few of my past Mystery Monday posts are what I call “strange coincidences.” I think this one fits that category.

“Thomas Jefferson survives.” It’s rumored those words were among the last of our second president, John Adams, as he lay on his deathbed in Quincy, Massachusetts. However, unknown to Adams, Thomas Jefferson died hours earlier at his Monticello home in Virginia.

Some might not think the deaths of our second and third presidents on the same day to be unusual. However, it only happened once in history. Not only that, Adams and Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, American’s fiftieth birthday.

As both men signed the Declaration of Independence, it seems almost fitting they would die on the anniversary of the approval of the document.

In the weeks that followed, many Americans thought the deaths went beyond coincidence. Representative Daniel Webster of Massachusetts delivered a eulogy that suggested the deaths were a sign that God was protecting our nation.

Another theory is both men willed themselves to hold on to life until that important date. However, when our fifth president, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, many agreed there was a religious significance.

James Monroe was a teenager who dropped out of college in 1776 to fight in the Revolution, enlisting in the 3rd Virginia Regiment. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Many historians consider Monroe the last president from the Founding Fathers.

In 2005, historian Margaret P. Batten suggested six possibilities regarding the deaths.

  • Coincidence.
  • Devine intervention.
  • “Hanging on” to life to ensure they died on July 4.
  • Caused to die at the hand of others. (Like today, there were also conspiracy theories in those early years of our country.)
  • Allowing oneself to die.
  • Causing oneself to die.

While three presidents have died on Independence Day, only one was born on this date. Calvin Coolidge, the twenty-ninth president, was born July 4, 1872.

What do you think? Coincidence? Conspiracy? Devine intervention? Something else? Please share in the comments.