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anartist's avatar

Truth or fiction: An apocryphal[maybe] tale told by an historian.

Asked by anartist (14781points) May 27th, 2010

George Washington died in a closet. After a serious night of drinking and carousing in Alexandria. When he came home, Martha was so angry she locked him in a closet. He died in the closet.

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12 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

That sounds ridiculous, you already used the word ‘apocryphal’ lol….

“On December 12, 1799, Washington spent several hours inspecting his farms on horseback, in snow and later hail and freezing rain. He sat down to dine that evening without changing his wet clothes. The next morning, he awoke with a bad cold, fever, and a throat infection called quinsy that turned into acute laryngitis and pneumonia. Washington died on the evening of December 14, 1799, at his home aged 67, while attended by Dr. James Craik, one of his closest friends, Dr. Gustavus Richard Brown, Dr. Elisha C. Dick, and Tobias Lear V, Washington’s personal secretary. Lear would record the account in his journal, writing that Washington’s last words were ”‘Tis well.” Modern doctors believe that Washington died largely because of his treatment, which included calomel and bloodletting, resulting in a combination of shock from the loss of five pints of blood, as well as asphyxia and dehydration”.

lloydbird's avatar

I hope not. It calls to mind the demise of Elvis. Allegedly closeted.
One’s heroes should not be so sullied.

anartist's avatar

@lloydbird Elvis died with his head in the toilet, puking up drugs. I think he drowned when he passed out.

BTW US Presidents [sitting and former] do the damndest things, much like the rest of the world.

Primobabe's avatar

A urban myth is always so much more interesting than the mundane truth.

Washington had pneumonia. Modern physicans believe that it was his medical treatment, rather than the actual malady, that killed him. He was given mercurous chloride, which is toxic (mercury poisoning), and he was subjected to bloodletting. Washington probably died of shock and dehydration.

Also, Washington didn’t become ill because of carousing in Alexandria. He’d spent several hours inspecting his farmlands in snow, freezing rain, and sleet, and he developed a severe cold and fever.

I live in the city of Alexandria and, indeed, have gone carousing on more than one occasion. But, Washington’s death wasn’t connected to such things!

filmfann's avatar

Elvis died, not in a closet, but a water closet. He was sitting on the toilet.

There is a wonderful story of Washington, just as he was about to cross the Delaware. As he was climbing into the boat, he told another General “Hey, George. Move your fat ass over, but be careful not to swamp the boat.” That tells me more about the man than many history books.

anartist's avatar

@filmfann and where did you get your wonderful story? Not from the same historian I hope.

mammal's avatar

Sounds like he lived and died like a rock star, doubt it somehow, maybe the historian got muddled up with Edger Allen Poe or something.

filmfann's avatar

@anartist I think that came from the book “Don’t Know Much About History”.

anartist's avatar

@mammal @filmfann Actually I think he was shamelessly fulling my leg in the most straight-faced fashion. I have been known to be gullible.

A historian I once knew at a ‘no-such-agency’ type place, who was also a conceptual artist, used to create fake documents [very well, with all appropriate ;logos,seals, and stamps] “from his files.” He showed a couple of us at the museum where I worked a letter from a very young Fidel Castro writing from his Cuban parochial school offering to show President Franklin Roosevelt where all the mineral deposits in Cuba were for “ten dollars green.”

Historians can be strange.

lloydbird's avatar

@anartist Re: Elvis, like I said, closeted.

anartist's avatar

@lloydbird ah WC! lol, I’m a little slow sometimes . . .

ItsAHabit's avatar

Think you know a lot about George Washington. Take the George Washington Quiz:

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