J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

Follow by Email


Sunday, December 02, 2012

The 2013 Wall Calendar Contest

I find myself with an extra Colonial Williamsburg wall calendar for 2013. It’s about 8 inches by 11, with a color photograph for each month and notations of major holidays and events at the museum. (Colonial Williamsburg sells a larger wall calendar; I think this one is printed as a promotion.)

Back in 2010, I ran a contest to give away an extra copy of a book, so I decided to do the same with this wall calendar.

Since we’re finishing an election year, here are five questions about early American politics.

1) What office(s) in the government of the United States of America did John Hancock hold and when?

2) Gouverneur Morris was never a governor, alas, but he was a member of the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the U.S. Senate. From where?

3) In 1789 Alexander Hamilton took office as the first Secretary of the Treasury, but he was ineligible to be President. Why?

4) What Pennsylvanian did George Washington appoint as Postmaster General?

5) Of the first seven Presidents of the United States, which men had publicly acknowledged biological sons as heirs when they were in office?

If you want to play along, put your best answers in a comment on this posting by Friday, 7 December, at 8:00 P.M., Boston time. I’ll screen all those Blogspot/Blogger comments so they’ll remain hidden until. Include a name or unique pseudonym with your answers. (If you comment on Facebook, your answers will be visible to some people—but I still don’t understand how to make Facebook work.)

Since we’re in the age of Wikipedia and Google, I won’t be surprised to see more than one Boston 1775 reader respond with a complete set of correct answers. In that case, I’ll number all the comments that contain the correct answers and pick one winner randomly. After posting the answers here on Saturday, I’ll contact that winner by email to get a surface-mail address for the calendar. Hey, it worked once before!


Ben said...

1. John Hancock served as President of the Continental Congress of the nascent Untied States having been unanimously elected by the delegates in Philadelphia May 1775. The role was somewhat of a figurehead position––lacking a cogent job description––and for the most part he presided over meetings and delegating his correspondence duties to clerks who reported the details of the events to important political bodies elsewhere.

2. Gouverneur Morris was born and raised in New York and served as a U.S. senator from that State from 1800-1803. He was a New York delegate to the Continental Congress in 1778 but a Pennsylvania delegate to the Constitutional Convention (he moved to Philadelphia in 1779).

3. Hamilton was ineligible for this nation’s highest office because he was born in the West Indies and thus it would have violated the “natural born citizen clause” of the Constitution.

4. Though originally hailing from Salem, Massachusetts, Timothy Pickering moved to Pennsylvania before serving in a convention there held to consider ratifying the Constitution. Washington later appointed him Postmaster General in 1791.

5. John Adams would have been my only guess, but since your question is worded “men” I suppose I shall choose JQA as well because I am pretty sure he is the only other president of the first seven that had a live biological son while in office.

Mike Barresi said...

You can probably tell, but I did not use Wikipedia/Google or any of the interwebs

1) none

2) Pennsylvania

3) Not born in the US. Barbados?

4) Ben Franklin

5) John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Monroe,

Anonymous said...

Hi Jon, not a contest entry, but a comment on your very aptly worded second question. We recently stayed at the Westin in Morristown, NJ, formerly the Gouverneur Morris Hotel, now renamed by them the Governor Morris. I'd like to think that your question is directed to the "turkey" (our stay was for Thanksgiving) in their PR office who decided to recast the name.
Caroline Sloat

J. L. Bell said...

Thanks for the chuckle, Caroline. Perhaps the problem for the hotel was that in this era of keyword searches people were looking for "Governor Morris" and—unlike in an alphabetical phone book—not spotting the correct name just below.

GSGreatEscaper said...

Just off the top of my head...

1. None
2. PA
3.Born in West Indies (Jamaica?) not the US
4. Biddle?
5. John Adams...John Q. 2.

Phillip Blancher said...

1) President of the Continental Congress - 1775-77
2) Was in the Continential Congress representing New York and then served as a Senator for New York in 1800.
3) he was born in the British West Indes and did not qualify under the Naturalization Act of 1790.
4) Timothy Pickering
5) George Washington. He and Martha Washington had kids from her previous marriage, she was a widow.

Phillip Blancher - Ogdensburg NY - pblancher@gmail.com

Nathan C Traylor said...

From The History Tavern (Nathan C Traylor)

1) Twice the President of the Continental Congress

2) Gouverneur Morris was Senator from New York during Jefferson's Administration

3) Alexander Hamilton was born in Nevis in the British West Indies which makes him ineligible being born outside the United States

4) Timothy Pickering, who transitioned from there to Secretary of War then Secretary of State

5) The answer is none