The Other Faces on Mount Rushmore-Part Two
Which president's likeness is carved on Mount Rushmore between Washington and Roosevelt? Hint: his image also is on the $2 bill and the nickel. If you guessed Thomas Jefferson, you were correct.
Born in 1743, Jefferson served as president from 1801-1809. Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum chose Jefferson because our third president contributed to the growth of the United States. It was during his term that we acquired the Louisiana Purchase, nearly doubling the size of our country.
Jefferson was a man of many talents: a mathematician, horticulturalist and philosopher, in addition to being an inventor, lawyer and educator. He graduated from the College of William and Mary at age 18, just two years after enrolling. This gifted writer penned over 19,000 letters. Thanks to his invention then called the polygraph, which made copies of what he wrote, we have detailed records of his life and times.
As a credit to Jefferson’s engineering mind, he designed Monticello and the Virginia State Capital. He was the first president to be inaugurated in Washington DC, a city he helped plan.
Perhaps Jefferson’s most shining accomplishment, however, was authorship of our Declaration of Independence. This creative thinker spent 17 days in a rented room in Philadelphia, composing the original draft of the document.
Whether a coincidence or the hand of God no one can tell; however, an unusual event happened the day Jefferson died. Both Thomas Jefferson and his friend John Adams were the last living signers of the Declaration still alive in the year 1826. Jefferson was 83 years old and Adams was 90. Interestingly, both died on July 4, 1826, exactly fifty years to the day that our country declared her independence from England.
Unaware that Jefferson had expired a few hours previously, Adams’ last words were, “Thomas Jefferson still lives.” And in one way, he does. His memory is alive on the face of a granite mountain in South Dakota.
How about you? Any thoughts on Mount Rushmore or Thomas Jefferson? Feel free to comment below. Oh, and a trip to Mount Rushmore would make a unique family vacation.