Our nation was founded on the vision and the efforts – the ingenuity, really – of a number of individuals who recognized the thorn of tyranny and the blessings of liberty and decided to create a society that shunned the former and embraced the latter.
Many people contributed to the founding of this country. Some of them have names that are largely forgotten now, such as Lyman Hall, Stephen Hopkins, and George Ross, all of whom signed the Declaration of Independence. Others are of moderate familiarity, such as Robert Morris, John Hancock, George Mason, and Thomas Paine. But six men seemed to stand out above the others in terms of the sheer greatness with which they were endowed. These six men were the true pillars, and without them, the fragile republic would have faltered and eventually fallen. These six include Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton.
I wish to spend some time writing about these six, whom I refer to as Six Great Men. In this post I will share some very basic information about their lifespan, their geographic locale, their physical characteristics, and their family structure. Future postings will touch on other dimensions of their lives.
Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) was born in Boston but relocated to Philadelphia as a young man, and considered that great city his home. George Washington (1732 – 1799) was from Virginia. John Adams (1735 – 1826) was a Massachusetts man. Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) was, like Washington, from Virginia. James Madison (1751 – 1836) was also from Virginia. Alexander Hamilton (1757 – 1804) was born in the British West Indies, but made New York his home.
As for their family life, Franklin was married to Deborah Read and they had two sons and one daughter. Washington married a wealthy widow by the name of Martha Dandridge Custis, and while they had no children of their own, Martha had two children, a son and a daughter, from her previous marriage. John Adams married the lovely and intelligent Abigail Smith, who bore him three sons and three daughters. Jefferson married Martha Wayles and they raised five daughters. Madison married a little later in life. He eventually married a widow named Dolley Todd and thus became the instant parent to a stepson. Alexander Hamilton married the stunningly gorgeous Elizabeth Schuyler. They had six sons and two daughters.
What did these six great men look like? Benjamin Franklin was 5’9” in height with gray eyes, and light brown, wispy, shoulder-length hair. He was strong, but rather portly. He had gray eyes. Washington was very strong. He stood 6’ tall. He had red hair but we always see him in pictures with white hair because he powdered it white. While a strong physical specimen, he did have serious problems with his teeth, which plagued him his entire adult life. Adams was 5’7” with blue eyes. Like Franklin, he was portly. He also was bald on top. Jefferson was the tallest of the six, standing at just over 6’2”. Like Washington, he had reddish colored hair. He also had a lean frame, a pinkish complexion, and hazel eyes. Madison was the smallest of the six, standing at only 5’4” and weighing about 100 pounds. He had blue eyes and brown hair and tended to wear black. Hamilton was 5’7” and had deep blue eyes, reddish-brown hair, and fair skin.
This is meant to be a quick snap-shot of the six great men. In the near future I will write more substantive items about these towering giants.