Ben Franklin Ate Tofu, And Other Weird Facts About The Founding Fathers

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Just in time for the fourth of July, we bring you some astonishing facts about the Founding Fathers. Think how impressive you’ll be at your holiday barbecue sharing these wonderful tidbits!

Big Ben

Most people know Benjamin Franklin as the brilliant inventor and political writer who helped to spark the Revolution. But he can also be remembered for some lesser know, but more intriguing, facts.

For example, in 1770 Franklin wrote a letter to a friend in which he mentioned a new delicacy known as Tau-fu. He called it “soybean cheese.” Yes. Franklin was the first American known to have eaten tofu.

Franklin was also one the first well known abolitionists in America. He began to advocate for the abolition of slavery in the 1730’s. One of his last public acts, in 1790, was to write a letter to Congress urging the end of slavery in the United States.

And did you know that in 1781, Mr. Franklin wrote a letter to the scientists at the Royal Academy of Brussels? He suggested that the learned gentlemen dedicate themselves to discovering a medication that could be added to food to make human farts smell better.

The Adams Family

John and Abigail Adams are well known for the lengthy, thoughtful and often romantic letters  they wrote to each other. They are known for having raised six children, including their son John Quincy Adams, who later become President.

But did you know that while they served as President and First Lady of the new United States, they lived with two mixed breed dogs? One of them was named Juno. The other? His name was Satan.

Mac And Monticello

Thomas Jefferson was famous for all kinds of things. He wrote the Declaration of Independence, among other achievements.

But he was also responsible for bringing mac and cheese to the shores of North America. After a trip to France, Jefferson was so enamored of the pasta dishes there that he brought home recipes and a pasta machine. He even served mac and cheese at one state dinner.

Jefferson was no doubt brilliant, but the study of ancient animals was still new when he was in power. While organizing the Lewis and Clark expedition to study the far west, Jefferson told the men to be on the watch for giant sloths and mastodons.

And Death By Whalebone

You may not know the name Robert Morris, but the British born businessman was key to the Revolution. He was known as the first American capitalist. He financed much of the war. He signed the Declaration of Independence.

But the strange fact is about his death. Poor Morris developed a serious urinary tract infection leading to a very painful blockage of the penis. He tried to clear it with a whalebone from his wife’s corset.

It didn’t work. He died.

So there you have it. While other people are lighting off fireworks, you can regale the party guests with stories of whalebones, Satan and tofu. Don’t you feel so well informed?

Featured image by Donkey Hotey via Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)


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