First and foremost on July 4th 1826 Thomas Jefferson (Third President of United States) and John Adams (Second President of United States) an earlier political rival, and later one of his closest friend’s both died.
On June 24, 1826, Thomas Jefferson sent a letter to Roger C. Weightman, declining an invitation to come to Washington, D.C., to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. It was the last letter that Jefferson, who was gravely ill, ever wrote.
On July 4, 1826 he died on the same day as John Adams, and exactly 50 years (emphasize ours) after he had written the Declaration of Independence. The death notices of the two friends appeared side-by-side in the July 8, 1826, issue of the Post. Jefferson’s read: The venerable patriarch and sage, the immortal author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, Esq. expired at his seat, at Monticello, on the fourth of July, at ten minutes before one o’clock, just fifty years since the promulgation, in the Halls of Congress, of the Liberties of this country. His death had been looked for two or three days before it took place, as he was confined to his bed during that time by severe indisposition. He was sensible of his approaching dissolution, and prescribed the mode of his interment. Well might he have exclaimed in the language of the psalmist, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for my eyes have seen thy salvation.”…
Thomas Jefferson apparently “knew” two or three days ahead of time that he was going to die on July 4, 1826. Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years from the signing of the Declaration of Independence, within a few hours of each other! His last words were “Is it the Fourth?” [Doctor Robley Dunglison: (his physician) “It soon will be.”] “I resign my spirit to God, my daughter to my country.”
John Adams died on July 4, 1826, the same day as Thomas Jefferson. The following comment on the significance of this coincidence appeared in the July 8, 1826, issue of the Post: “A gentleman arrived from the Eastward, last evening, informs, that the venerable John Adams, died at his seat at Quincy, near Boston, on the fourth of July, about five o’clock, P.M. but a few hours after the sage of Monticello!-United in the grand political concerns of life, thus in death they are not divided! Oh, yes; it is the glorious Fourth of July. It is a great day. It is a good day. God bless it. God bless you all. He then lapsed into unconsciousness; he awakened later, and mumbled “Thomas Jefferson still survives…” not knowing that Jefferson had preceded him in death by a few hours.
James Madison died 5 years later on July 4, 1831.
Independence Day was first celebrated in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776
The Liberty Bell sounded from the tower of Independence Hall on July 8, 1776, summoning citizens to gather for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.
June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress, looking to promote national pride and unity, adopted the national flag. “Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.
The first public Fourth of July event at the White House occurred in 1804.
The first Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi occurred at Independence Creek and was celebrated by Lewis and Clark in 1805.
The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence did not sign at the same time, nor did they sign on July 4, 1776. The official event occurred on August 2, 1776, when 50 men signed it.
The names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were withheld from the public for more than six months to protect the signers. If independence had not been achieved, the treasonable act of the signers would have, by law, resulted in their deaths.
Thomas McKean was the last to sign in January, 1777.
In 1941, Congress declared 4th of July a federal legal holiday. It is one of the few federal holidays that have not been moved to the nearest Friday or Monday.See also: Eulogy of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams by Daniel Webster