Wednesday, December 7, 2011

This Day in History December 8, 1792

Are you ready for this day in history?  Are you really ready?  This one just may rock your world, you know. It may change the course of your life today.  And you probably think I am being sarcastic.  Yes, I am, but you never know when what I tell you today might be the winning answer on a game show.  You might win a million dollars!

As you probably can figure out, this day in history has something to do with the picture above.  Let me introduce you to Henry Laurens, a South Carolinian merchant, rice planter, and a political leader during the Revolutionary War.  He was sent as a delegate to the second Continental Congress.  He succeeded John Hancock as president of the Congress.

The story of his life is quite fascinating.  He was arrested for high treason by British authorities and sent to the Tower for a good year.  They eventually let him go because his arrest was an embarrassment.  And the authorities were worried about retaliation.

He had a great fear of being buried alive.  In fact, his infant daughter once was nearly buried alive when a doctor said she had died of smallpox.  Just before the burial commenced, the doctor noticed his mistake, and the infant was rescued.  It is possibly this fear that led him to instruct his son to have his body cremated after his death.

It was on this date in 1792 that Henry Laurens died and seems to have been the first official person to be cremated in America.  His wish was for his ashes to be interred at his estate.  I was surprised to find that records were actually kept of things like this.  But I guess when you have a new country, those kinds of things do become important.

I would definitely recommend reading about his life, if you are interested:


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