Genealogy Trails

President Obituaries



Death of Thomas Jefferson!
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) July 12, 1826
Baltimore, July 7 -- The Post Master has received the following letter, containing the melancholy intelligence of the death of the venerable patriot Jefferson!

Charlottsville, 4th July, 1826
Sir – I give you a mere line to say that Mr. Jefferson expired today at 10 minutes before one o’clock. It is an event which has been hourly expected for three or four days past.
Your friend, P. Minor
John S. Seinner, Esq., Balt.


Thomas Jefferson is no more! On the fiftieth year of American Independence – on the recurrence of the very day on which his declaration of independence changed thirteen Colonies to thirteen States – he was summoned to the world of spirits! On that day he was invited by his fellow citizens of Washington to join in the celebration of the American Jubilee, an invitation which he declined by expressing his regret that ill health forbade the gratification of an acceptance. On that proud day it was destined that he should join the disembodies spirits of his revolutionary contemporaries.

He has witnessed for one half of a century the growth and prosperity of his country’s freedom and his last sentiments breathe the same effusions of his more youthful days. “All eyes (e exclaims in the letter to which we have just alluded) are opened or opening to the rights of man. The general spread of the lights of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others –for ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them. There is what may be called the sealing grandeur of death in such a departure. After a flight of fifty years, his spirit becomes emancipated from the body on the very day when a declaration from his pen gave political emancipation to his country.

On that very day, the President of the United States and all the heads of departments solemnized our National Jubilee – the name of Thomas Jefferson formed the burden of their panegyric and subscriptions were made to relieve the wants of the venerable patriot, headed by our first magistrate. The statesman, the man of science, the philanthropist, the patriot, is no more! But he has left us his fame as a legacy – his example and his virtues.

We do not wish to speak the language of eulogy; but it is the duty of those who venerate the name of the patriot to express by some public testimonial their admiration for this virtues and their sorrow for the bereavement of their country. Great and illustrious characters are canonized and sanctified by death. They then pass into the regions of pure and disembodied spirits and their virtues partake of their immortality. Strewed by the grave of the patriot with the sweetest flowers of the season! Freedom weeps over his mouldering remains, while the genius of our country guards his ashes. Well may it be said of Jefferson, in his own words that his life, his fortune and his sacred honor were pledged to support the independence of America! -- American


Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) July 19, 1826
The Committee of Arrangement for the celebration of the 4th of July at Washington, transmitted to each of the ex-presidents, an invitation to be present on the occasion. Mr. Jefferson’s reply is as follows:
“Monticello, June 24, 1826.
The kind invitation I receive from you on the part of the citizens of the city of Washington, to be present with them at their celebration of the 50th anniversary of American independence, as one of the surviving signers of an instrument pregnant with our own, and the fate of the world, is most flattering to myself, and heightened by the honorable accompaniment proposed for the comfort of such a journey. It adds sensibly to the sufferings of sickness, to be deprived by it of a personal participation in the rejoicings of that day. But acquiescence is a duty, under circumstances not placed among those we are permitted to control. I should, indeed, with peculiar delight, have met and exchanged there, congratulations personally with the small band, the remnant of that host of worthies, who joined with us, on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission and the sword; and to have enjoyed with them the consolatory fact that our fellow citizens, after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made. May it be to the world what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all), the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. The form which we have substituted restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others –for ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.

I will ask permission here to express the pleasure with which I should have met my ancient neighbors of the city of Washington and its vicinities, with whom I passed so many years of a pleasing social intercourse: an intercourse which so much relieved the anxieties of the public cares and left impressions so deeply engraved in my affections as never to be forgotten. With my regret that ill health forbids me the gratification of an acceptance, be pleased to receive for yourself and those for whom you write, the assurance of my highest respect and friendly attachments.
Thomas Jefferson
R. C. Wrightman, Esq.
Chairman, &c.”


Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) July 19, 1826
We cannot gratify our readers more probably than by the publication of the following extract of a letter from the University of Virginia dated on the 6th instant:

“Mr. Jefferson expired on the 4th, inst., at ten minutes before one o’clock in the afternoon after a confinement to his bed of little more than a week, though the disease of which he died (diarrhea) had been of long continuance. He suffered little bodily pain and apparently none at all in mind – spoke of his approaching and with the most perfect composure and indicated no solicitude except that his life should be prolonged to the fourth. We all rejoice here that his wishes were fulfilled. He was buried yesterday in compliance with his dying request, but very many attended the burying place at Monticello to see him interred. He left a memoir of his life, which, I believe will be put to press immediately and numerous papers that are intended for publication some years hence.”

The singular coincidence of the moment of this great man’s death with that of the Jubilee, is rendered yet more extraordinary by the fact of the life of the patriarch being prolonged, apparently , by a great effort of the mind, for a few days wresting with Death, so as to extend to the fourth of the month and to be precise moment when the question may be supposed to have been taken on his report of the Declaration of Independence, in the Hall of Congress on the Fourth day of July 1776. Perhaps there never was, unless on the field, a more decided illustration of “the ruling passion strong in death.” Jefferson lived for his country and his last thought was of her.

The information that the venerated sage has left a Memoir of his Life for posthumous publication is full of interest. We hope it will not be withheld from the press. – Nat. Intel.

John Adams
Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) July 19, 1826
Last week we announced the death of Thomas Jefferson, which took place about 10 minutes before one o’clock on Tuesday the 4th inst. While printing our last paper we heard a rumor which was subsequently continued that John Adams also had died about 6 o’clock in the evening of that day! The committee which reported the Declaration of Independence to the Congress of 1776, consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. That Messrs Adams and Jefferson, two members of that committee who had each successively been Vice-President and President of the United States should die on one day – and that day, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence – which was celebrating with “pomp, shows, games, sports, guest bells, bonfires and luminaries – from one end of the continent to the other” – is a coincidence so extraordinary, so remarkable, that though it is undoubtedly a fact, it appears almost incredible. The occurrence will be so generally noticed in the records and publications of our county as to convince the most skeptical: otherwise it would in all probability be considered a fabulous tale, a century or two hence.

Thomas Jefferson was in the 84th years of his age – having been born on the 14th of April, 1743. There is a difference of one year in the accounts as to the age of John Adams – some saying he was in the 91st and others in the 92d year. We believe however, he was in the 91st – having been born on the 31st of October, 1735.


Death of John Adams
John Adams is no more – he departed this life on Tuesday afternoon. The angel of death seems to have been walking with him for some months but was not permitted by Omnipotence to call him away until the Jubilee of American Liberty had fully come and not then, until his soul had been checked by the loud acclamations of joyous People for the blessing of the day. The trumpet had sounded through the land – the morning honors had been paid – the noontide was past – and, with the descending sun, the good old patriarch departed on his journey to enjoy the everlasting rest prepared for those who use their talents to the acceptance of their Master.

Fifty years ago, John Adams spoke freely and confidently within the walls of Congress upon the independence of his country and such was his boldness, eloquence and argument that the wavering were fixed, the timid encouraged and all were resolved to support it on the pledge of their fortunes and sacred honor. In this hour of terror, distress and darkness, his genius penetrated the gloom and rapt into future times. He foretold the coming glories of his county – and, rate felicity – he was suffered to witness at the extent of half a hundred years, the verification of his prophecy. It has fallen to the lot of but few men of any age of the world to have witnessed so many happy changes as he has. He has seen the People of this country pass through four wars, and multiply from two million to twelve – seen what were frontiers once, made (?ridlands now” and numerous cities blossom in the wilderness around him, and throw a surplus population into the ranks of civilization on its march to the West. He has lived twelve years beyond the bounds of human life. He was born on the 19th of October, 1735, graduated 1755, commenced the practice of law 1759 and continued engaged in his profession until 1774 when his reputation for talents, independence and Roman energy caused the public to demand his services and since that period his history had been blended with that of his country and is known in some measure to all. I would at this moment be impossible to give even a scanty chronicle of his services. This must be left to his biographer who will have an ample field for his labors. The materials for a monument more durable than brass lie all at hand for the workman. The patriot, statesman and Christian is gone. There is no tear to be shed at his exit; for the gratitude to heaven for preserving him so long and that he died at such a moment, has drank it full. Had the horses and the chariot of fire descended to take up the patriarch, it might have been more wonderful, but not more glorious.

But our feelings must not be (?) at present. In some future day it will be better to recount his services and sum up his merits – to dwell upon his manly thoughts, and the productions of his vigorous pen and trace him from the cradle to the grave. Then the little bickering which follow a politician’s path will be forgotten and the little frailties of human nature which necessarily belong to man, will lie buried beneath the ponderous weight of his virtue.

[Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) July 19, 1826 - Submitted by Nancy Piper]


Philadelphia, July 11.
The President of the United States arrived in this city yesterday morning in the steamboat on his way to Quincy, the late residence of his father. The President wore a light grey cloth coat; and on his left arm and round his white hat, black crape. It is stated in an evening paper that he did not hear of the death of his venerable father until he approached Baltimore. Having heard at Washington of the increasing illness of the latter, he immediately set out in order if possible, to receive his last breath. His journey is continued from impulses that do honor to the filial piety which has always shone in his conduct.


Andrew Jackson
Death of Gen. Jackson
Gen. Andrew Jackson died at the Hermitage at 6 o'clock, P.M., on Sunday the 8th instant. His funeral takes place today at 11 o'clock. - He breathed his last quietly, calmly, and with entire resignation, amidst the beloved members of his family and a few intimate friends who were present. Death had no terrors for him - he met him with composure, and with a full confidence that he was prepared for a better world. Death could not have taken him by surprise at any moment for more than a year - he has been ready at all times to obey the dread summons. When the messenger finally came, the old soldier, patriot and Christian was looking out for his approach. He is gone, but his memory lives, and will continue to live.
[The Weekly Nashville Union, (Nashville, TN) Wednesday, June 11, 1845; Issue 2; col A - transcribed by Amanda Jowers]

Andrew Jackson
Mr. Waldo informs us that he received a letter from his brother, dated August 12, 1845, which contained the intelligence that our beloved and venerable ex-president of the United States, Andrew Jackson, died at his residence, the Hermitage, in June last. Andrew Jackson was born at Waxsaw, S. Carolina, March 15, A. D. 1767. His father, mother, and two brothers, came from Ireland in 1765. His brothers were killed in the battles of the revolution for the independence of the United States. At 15 years of age he had no relative living in America; in 1788, he went to Nashville with Judge McNair and commenced the practice of law.
It is not our object to attempt a panegyric of General Jackson. “History will transmit to generations yet unborn truths, and speak of his merit.” He defended and preserved the great emporium of the whole western country against the veteran troops of the enemy, by whom it would have been sacked, and their dwellings inveloped in flames over the heads of their beloved families. He gave peace to the defenceless portion of the south and west, and chastised the ferocious savage foe, and the perfidious incendiaries and felons by whom they were excited and counselled to the perpetration of their cruel deeds. He opened additional territory to the rich and growing population which they now enjoy in peace and tranquility; he maintained, for the use of the whole western country, the free navigation of the Mississippi, at the hazard of his life, health and fortune; he gave glory and renown to the arms of his country throughout the civilized world, and taught the tyrants of the earth the salutary lesson that, in defence of their soil and independence, freemen are invincible. He was elected president of the United States in 1828, and inaugurated 4th March, 1829; waged war against the bank of the United States and all monopolies – also against a system of internal improvement by the general government – was sustained by the people, and upon these issues, re-elected president of the United States in 1832, and re-inaugurated 4th March, 1833; and on the 4th of March, 1837, retired to the sweets of private life, and has now paid the last debt of nature. Whatever may be the opinion of others, we shall not hesitate to say, in the language of the sage of Monticello, “honor and gratitude to him who has filled the measure of his country's honor.”
["Oregon Spectator" (Oregon City, OT) – Thursday, March 19, 1846 - Sub. by Jim Dezotell]


William Henry Harrison
Never, since our connexion with the public press, have we, with as much reluctance, taken up our pen, to announce any occurrence, as we now do, to inform our readers, that WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, is no more! JOSEPH L. WILLIAMS, direct from Washington, brings us the sad tidings of his death - he died at his residence in that place, about half past 12 o'clock, on Sunday morning, the 4th instant - just one month from the day of his Inauguration, as President of these United States! News of the indisposition of the PRESIDENT, had reached us through the Washington papers, but we were not prepared to hear the melancholly tidings of his death, so soon after his attack. He was attacked on Saturday the 27th of March, by a severe Pneumonia, or billious pleurisy, and continued in a very precarious situation, till the 4th inst., being the ninth day after his attack, when he breathed his last.
A fair opportunity now presents itself, however, of paying just tribute, to the memory of a man, whose whole course of conduct in life, shines with increased lustre. Beside, biographical memoirs of great and good men, in addition to being a just and merited tribute of respect to their virtues, serve to illustrate the mysterious providence of God, in the dispensations of his mercies towards his creatures, and also the economy of his grace, towards a Nation, within whose system of operations, their talents and services, have been rendered available in the cause of civilization, humanity and religion. We repeat, that this solemn dispensation of Divine Providence, so deeply interesting to the American people, and especially to that great and powerful party, by which the deceased was recently crowned with the greatest honors, which a nation of freemen can bestow, has afforded us an opportunity of testifying our respect for one, who, amidst all the vicissitudes which marked the history of his long and truly eventful career, undeviatingly adhered to those principles of Republicanism and morality, by which all patriotic and good men, have been distinguished.
We by no means deem it requisite, for us to give a minute and detailed account of the early years, and of the civil and military services, of Gen. Harrison; nor is it indeed necessary. There are very few men, the incidents of whose lives, from boyhood to old age - aye, to the hour of death, are as thoroughly, and generally understood, as are those of the late lamented President of the United States. For the last twelve months, his name has been prominently before the American people, and his deeds have been the subject of praise or censure, in every county, town and neighborhood, on this continent, as malise might prompt, or virtue dictate. But Gen. Harrison no more! - he is gathered unto his fathers - he sleeps in the silent mansion of the dead - and God has wiped all tears from his eyes. He will sorrow no more - his generous heart will never more be grieved by the unmerited lashes of the tongue of slander - he has gone where the patriotic services, the moral worth, the honesty and virtues, of a good man, are duly appreciated - he is, we trust, in the bosom of his God.
In speaking of the worth of this man, and especially in a national point of view, we must confess, we know not where to begin. Truly a great man has fallen in Israel! He was a man worthy of the confidence of a powerful nation, - a man whom the spirit of PARTY never defiled; - a man who fought the battles, and cultivated the soul of his country; - who assisted in making our laws, and was qualified to preside over their execution; - a man who, for a short period, dignified the highest station within the gift of the most powerful nation on earth, and for half a century, honored the walks of private life; - who has shown himself, at one and the same time, the worthy companion of the great, and the POOR MAN's FRIEND; - a man whose transcendant virtues, secured him the approbation of the good, of every class, and exposed him to the slanders of the infamous - who was too modest to sound aloud his own good deeds, but too generous to avenge his wrongs; - a man whose whole concern has been for their welfare, and who, called from the shades of private life, to the arduous and responsible duties of official station, and to preside over the destinies of this Republic; - who with a contempt of pleasure, rest, and case, and familiarized by habit, to dangers and difficulties, obeyed his country's summons, and left the companion of his bosom, in ill health, and in the midst of his career of usefulness, found an untimely grave! Reader, think of the death of a man with a good hear - a clear and penetrating mind - sound and vigorous intellect - calmness of temper for deliberation - invinscible firmness and preserverance in what he undertook - incorruptible integrity and unvarying patriotism - and then reflect, that the terrors of DEATH, have seized upon him, as their "SPOILS OF VICTORY" - and if you possess a heart attuned to the soft chord of human sympathy, you must weep over a Nation, widowed of her greatest pride, and rifled of her best earthly friend. In the death of WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, you behold all these calamities - a sight which must make an angel weep; a sight which must touch the heart, and overflow the eyes of multiplied thousands; a sight which should move the compassion of even the vilest enemies of our race. How full the tide of grief and sorrow, that swells the hearts of all good man, and lovers of their country, when they find themselves constrained to admit the fact, that this venerable man is no more! - a calamity by which so many are made to mourn - by which not only the tenderest earthly connexions have been severed, but by which our common country has been bereaved. And again, we say, a great public calamity has befallen this nation, in the death of the President of the United States.
[The Whig, (Jonesborough, TN) Wednesday, April 14, 1841; Issue 47; col D - transcribed by, Amanda Jowers (errors are original to the work, not the fault of the transcriber)]



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