The Corner

Presidential Descendants

Here’s a cool little story about what may be the only photo of Lincoln in front of the White House. It mentions that the photo had been owned by Grant and was sold last month to a photo collector by U.S. Grant VI. The sixth! I don’t ordinarily approve of junior, trey, and all that (I think a boy should have his own name), but I’ve always been struck that there isn’t more interest in presidential descendants. That may be because our greatest presidents have no issue: Washington was childless and Lincoln’s last descendant, his great-grandson Robert Beckwith, died in 1985.

But there are lots of descendants of other presidents. I’m sure Rick knows more about this, but there’s only one event I know of that recognizes them as such — the Cherry Blossom Festival. No, not the one in our nation’s capital; that would be too obvious, too appropriate. The Marshfield, Missouri, Cherry Blossom Festival! Last year they had descendants of Jefferson, Cleveland, Van Buren, Polk, Truman, Nixon, and a collateral descendant of Washington (I assume from one of his brothers).

Along those lines, Boston magazine years ago had a photo feature on descendants of Revolutionary War figures. Boston’s crawling with Adamses, so that’s not remarkable, but one that stuck in my mind was Nathan Shapiro — Nathan Hale Shapiro!


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