Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Independence Day
1 Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S president) and John Adams (2nd president of the United States) both died on July 4th 1826, the 50th anniversary of the of the Declaration of Independence.
2 John Adams argued that Independence day should be July 2nd not July 4th as that was the day the Continental Congress voted for independence from Great Britain.
4 In pre-Revolution years, colonists held celebrations with ringing of bells, bonfires, and festivities in honor of King George’s birthday but by 1776 this all changed. The celebration of the day began with a mock funeral for King George III.
6 Philadelphia may have been the first place to celebrate Independence day with fan fair. On July 4th 1777, they marked the occasion with bells, bonfires and possibly for the first time—fireworks.
7 July 4th was not made a federal holiday until 1938.
8 July 4th, 2012 the 1st Irish-America Day was celebrated in New Ross, Ireland in recognition of friendship between Ireland and the United States. The ties to New Ross in particular include John F Kennedy’s great grandparents. Thousands of more Irish men and women left the shores of New Ross during famine times in the 1840s. Many more fought in American wars including the Revolutionary War.
10 The 1st printer of the Declaration of Independence also was Irish, John Dunlap from Strabane, County Tyrone. He was also the founder of the 1st daily American newspaper.
Brighid O’Sullivan writes about Irish and American history. Her books 100 Things You Didn’t Know About Ireland and Petticoat Rebels of 1916 are available from Amazon.com.