In February, there are several birthdays of people important to America’s past. Today is the birthday of George Washington, our first President.
George was born in 1732 and died on December 14, 1799, of a disease almost unknown today, epiglottitis, which is an infection of the small tissue flap at the back of the throat. Thanks to antibiotics, this is not a big problem in today’s world. However, in 1799, epiglottitis was often fatal because the swollen epiglottis blocked air from getting to the patient’s lungs resulting in suffocation.
President Washington did leave a Will instructing that all his slaves be freed after the death of his wife Martha Washington. He also left a $30 annuity to his personal servant, William. His funeral was fairly extravagant for its day and the funeral expenses were as follows:
Cake, $ 7.00; Funeral Shroud and Pall, $12.00; 12 Mourning Suits, $78.00; Delivery, $2.50; Mahogany Casket, $88.00; and Coach, bier & horse, $11.25 (Sunday rates).
That’s right. Under $200 to bury the President of the United States! I can’t even begin to imagine what the cost of a Presidential funeral is on today’s market.
Anyway, Happy Birthday, George, you were a great President!