Forgotten Founding Fathers – Part 2


Today in our Countdown to Father’s Day 2015, we remember some of the lesser known guns who answered the Call to Arms, and quest for freedom against Great Britain, and for establishing the United States of America. Click to see yesterday’s part 1 piece on forgotten Founding Fathers.

Here are three more Founding Fathers who were a part of the Constitutional Convention:

John Langdon


This patriot was born in 1741 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The son of a farmer, his education was limited. But John Langdon became who he wanted to be. He was successful in the mercantile business, and was an active supporter of the American Revolutionary War and pursuit of independence.

John Langdon took part in the seizure and confiscation of British munitions from the Portsmouth fort in 1774. Throughout the war, he served his post as a colonel in the New Hampshire militia. In 1777, Langdon paid for and planned General John Stark’s trek from New Hampshire to Saratoga, New York against British General John Burgoyne. Langdon was there in command of his militia unit when Burgoyne and his troops surrendered.

Langdon was also active politically on both the state and national levels. He held a seat in the Continental Congress for three different terms. Because New Hampshire couldn’t or wouldn’t pay for him and Nicholas Gilman to attend the 1787 Constitutional Convention, the two arrived in Philadelphia weeks late.

Langdon still played a key role. He spoke often during the debates and served on the committee which reached a compromise on the matter of slavery.

From 1789 to 1801, John Langdon was a U.S. Senator. During that time he switched from the Federalist Party to the Democratic-Republican Party. In 1801, Langdon turned down being the Secretary of the Navy under President Jefferson. Starting in 1805, he spent six years serving as Governor of New Hampshire.

In 1812, John Langdon passed on being the Democratic-Republican Vice-Presidential nominee. Instead, he enjoyed 7 years of retirement with his wife and daughter before he died at the age of 78.


John Lansing


As Founding Fathers, John Langdon and John Lansing had similar names. Yet, in real life there were more than a few letters difference between them. Lansing was one of the many Founding Fathers who had a lucrative law practice. Born in 1754 in Albany, New York, he and his wife had 10 children together, but 5 died as infants.

Serving as Mayor of Albany, John Lansing was part of the New York delegation at the 1787 Constitutional Convention. He became disillusioned because he thought the assembly was exceeding its instructions in writing a whole new U.S. Constitution.

After 6 weeks, Lansing and Robert Yates, his fellow New York delegate left the convention. The next year, at the New York ratifying convention, Lansing continued to oppose the Constitution.

Lansing spent most of the next 25 years in a judicial career in New York. John Lansing experienced the most mysterious of all Founding Fathers at the Constitutional Convention. In 1829, he left a New York City hotel to mail some letters. No trace of him was ever found again.


Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr.


Born in North Carolina in 1758, Spaight was orphaned at 8 years old, and sent to Ireland. He graduated from Glasgow University in Scotland before  returning to North Carolina in 1778, and joining the American Revolutionary War.

Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr. also served in the Continental Congress from 1783-85. He was just 29 when he attended the Constitutional Convention as a member of the North Carolina delegation.

Spaight was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democratic-Republican and remained in Congress until 1801. He fought to repeal the Alien and Sedition Acts, and backed Jefferson in the bitter election of 1800.

In 1802, Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr. was shot and killed in a duel with  political rival, John Stanly of the Federalist Party. He was just 44, and left behind a wife and three children. History remembers the Alexander Hamilton Aaron Burr duel so much more than the firearms fight of Spaight vs. Stanly. It often leaves Spaight one of the forgotten Founding Fathers.

There’s not much time left in the Countdown to Father’s Day.

George Washington’s Teeth


Photo: GeorgeWashington’s Teeth at his Mount Vernon Estate

Knock on wood. America was lucky to have George Washington as its first Commander-in-Chief, and President. The most famous of the Founding Fathers to answer the Call to Arms, he was the only U.S. President elected unanimously in electoral votes. It also seems near unanimous that George Washington’s teeth were made of wood. They were not.

Let’s quickly take a bite out of history and some myths, shall we?


Born in 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia, he grew to stand 6-feet, two inches tall, and weigh 200 pounds. George was truly a big gun, a strong and imposing leader. Sadly, for him and the nation, George Washington’s teeth were not very strong. He suffered from debilitating dental problems his entire adult life. It might explain why cream of peanut soup, and mashed sweet potatoes with coconut, were among his favorite dishes.

George Washington’s teeth troubles were documented in his diary, and many letters written throughout his life. In 1756, at 24 years old, he paid a Doctor Watson five shillings to have a tooth removed. Washington’s records show numerous other payments for dentists, toothache medication, teeth scrapers, cleaning solutions, and more.  His writings regularly made reference to his lost teeth, aching teeth, painful gums, and poorly fitting dentures. (His wife Martha Washington also had dentures).

It is believed rumors spread about George Washington’s teeth being wooden because people noticed his dentures were stained. They possibly appeared to have a wooden complexion.


George Washington’s teeth were actually made of parts from various materials other than wood. They included hippopotamus ivory, bone, brass screws, lead, gold metal wiring, and even human teeth. One of Washington’s entries shows he purchased 9 teeth from “Negroes” for 122 shillings. It is unknown what he did with them. But, the practice of buying teeth from slaves was common at the time for affluent Americans who had dental problems.

President George Washington’s Teeth

Check that. Make it tooth – as in singular. By the time he was inaugurated in 1789 as the first President of the United States, George Washington had only one tooth remaining. In 1796, that last tooth was pulled. In good spirit, George allowed his dentist, Dr. John Greenwood, to keep it as a memento. The dentist wore the tooth in a small glass display hung from his watch chain.

President George Washington’s teeth may have been bothering him so much when he was re-elected, it could be the reason why his second inaugural speech lasted only two minutes. Historians have noted how George was very self-conscious about the appearance of his teeth, and the makeshift dentures greatly diminished his desire for public speaking, and ability to do so successfully.


Notice how you never see this legendary Founding Father smiling. George Washington’s teeth were the reason. The paintings of him later in life show changes in the shape of his mouth and jaw. George Washington was well aware of this as his dental issues grew more severe. In a letter to Dr. Greenwood in 1797, he wrote about his dentures saying they were, “already too wide, and too projecting for the parts they rest upon; which causes both upper, and under lip to bulge out, as if swelled.”

The pain of George Washington’s teeth and the injustice he felt from the Great Britain, gave him more than enough reason to bear Arms against the British Army. You can’t help but wonder what further greatness would have been achieved if it weren’t for the constant troubles with George Washington’s teeth.

We cannot tell a lie. George probably would have loved the new AWC Inc. Founding Father patch.

Founding Father John Adams


“A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”  – John Adams


Those who truly love liberty, know they can be hated for it. Founding Father John Adams loved liberty, and freedom of speech. He so called things like he saw them, it’s a wonder this patriot ever became a U.S. President.

Born in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1735, John Adams used his family’s Puritan heritage to lift him to success. He was a Harvard graduate, who then earned a law degree, and became a top notch constitutional lawyer.

His second cousin, Samuel Adams, was a very popular leader. He also was kissing cousins with Abigail Smith, his third cousin. Abigail Adams became his wife and closest advisor.

John Adams Taking on the British.

John Adams made a name for himself by legally opposing the 1765 Stamp Act. He declared it invalid after it was rammed down the throats of Americans by the British Parliament. Adams’ argument became the model and the voice for all colonies to oppose it.

John Adams Taking on Boston.


Fast forward five years. Picture yourself in Massachusetts as the blood of colonists is boiling with anti-British sentiment. The 1770 Boston Massacre takes place. British soldiers raise arms and kill civilians. An American defending those Brits would be like representing ISIS members today in U.S. Courts.

John Adams was the lawyer for the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre. He did the unpopular because he believed in the protection of innocence and the right to counsel.

Adams’ legal defense got six of the soldiers acquitted. Two others charged with murder for firing their guns directly into the crowd were only convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter. Adams put his career on the line for these “enemies” who could only pay him a small fee.

Amazingly, this same man later played perhaps the key role in convincing the Founding Fathers in the Continental Congress to declare independence from Great Britain. He also worked with Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence.

John Adams Taking on Slavery.


Slavery in America was not always a black and white issue. It was widely accepted in the South. Others in the colonies who were against it or unsure, often kept quiet on slavery. John Adams (and Abigail Adams) were publicly proud of the fact they never owned slaves by choice.

During the American Revolution, Adams tabled his beliefs on slavery politically. He knew the North and South would become divided at a time when unity was mandatory for independence from Great Britain. But when the time was right, he got slavery abolished in Massachusetts in about 1780 by writing it into the state’s Constitution.

John Adams Taking on the Founding Fathers


Safe to say, he had more than a few political opponents. However, he also contributed greatly to the success of the United States of America by speaking out in support of others for key leadership positions. In 1775, it was he who nominated George Washington for the role of Commander-in-Chief. In 1800, he then nominated John Marshall for Chief Justice of the United States, who became known for establishing the power of the Judicial Branch of government with his decades of protection of the U.S. Constitution.

He was overweight and often seen as pompous. These things earned him the nickname, “His Rotundity.” Still, he was elected the Second President of the United States in 1796. President Adams at this time faced strong public opposition led by Alexander Hamilton. Adams thought one of his greatest accomplishments was resisting the Call to Arms and keeping the U.S. out of a full-scale war with France.


On a lighter note, John Adams was the first Vice-President of the United States, and the first to call out the lame duck job for what it was. In a letter to his beloved wife Abigail, he wrote, “”My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.”

Have you seen the new Founding Father patch from AWC? John Adams argued for your right to have one.


America’s Founding Fathers on Firearms


What was the real stance of America’s Founding Fathers on firearms? We’ll betcha a crisp Ben Franklin, or at least a cold and frosty Samuel Adams, you’ll find this an entertaining and informative read.

Ahh, the Founding Fathers on firearms. As you know too well already, guns is a loaded subject with a super easy trigger for debate and heated arguments. More than 200 years later, the Second Amendment #2A has been targeted repeatedly. For the most part, its carefully written and approved legally binding words and implications have withstood the test of time.

Article [II] (Amendment 2 – Bearing Arms)

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

If you are able to look at it objectively, the Second Amendment seems pretty clear. In fact, if you have an open mind, the Second Amendment has the power to become even more crystal clear the more you read it.

However, much like the Holy Bible, when it comes to the subject of guns and bearing Arms, people often tend to interpret the meaning of the Founding Fathers based on their own personal beliefs and agendas. It’s a case of you say ammunition. I say ammo. (We’re not talking tomatoes here).

The “Father of the Constitution,” James Madison, and other real-life early American Heroes are no longer around to physically defend their opinions. Thus, the most honest, accurate, and respectful tribute we can do is to share what they are known to have said, word for word. So, let’s look truthfully now at some of the famous quotes of America’s Founding Fathers on firearms.


“To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, counties, or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.

founding-father-john-adams– John Adams


“And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petititioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions.”

founding-father-samuel-adamsSamuel Adams


“Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?”

founding-father-patrick-henryPatrick Henry


“No Freeman shall ever be disbarred from the use of arms. Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self-defense. A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves. They include all men capable of bearing arms. To preserve liberty is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms and be taught alike how to use them.”

founding-father-thomas-jeffersonThomas Jefferson


“A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves… and include all men capable of bearing arms. . . . To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms.”

founding-father-richard-henry-leeRichard Henry Lee


“Americans [have] the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust their people with arms.” 

founding-father-James-MadisonJames Madison


“That the people have a Right to mass and to bear arms; that a well-regulated militia composed of the Body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper natural and safe defense of a free state, that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”      

  founding-father-George-MasonGeorge Mason


“The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world not destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside … Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them … the weak will become the prey of the strong.” 

founding-father-Thomas-Paine Thomas Paine


“It may be laid down, as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every citizen who enjoys the protection of a free government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defence of it, and consequently that the Citizens of America (with a few legal and official exceptions) from 18 to 50 Years of Age should be borne on the Militia Rolls, provided with uniform Arms, and so far accustomed to the use of them, that the Total strength of the Country might be called forth at Short Notice on any very interesting Emergency.”      

founding-father-george-washington   George Washington

These quotes from America’s Founding Fathers on firearms are powerful reminders of their honest and honorable, “We The People” mindset and intention. They clearly show men forming a new, national government whereby the people would have powers, including the right to bear Arms. They openly believed guns were good, an equalizer, and a necessity for a free state.

To a man, many of our nation’s Founding Fathers personally answered the Call to Arms against British tyranny. It is the foundation for why they strongly believed “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

They had a vision for a nation with a federal government which would fair and just because it was afraid of the people, not the people living in fear of their government. The quotes of the Founding Fathers on firearms prove it.

Now you can prove your support with the new Founding Father patch from AWC Inc.? It’s a little late for George and the gang. But it’s just in time for Father’s Day 2015.

Meet the Founding Fathers at 1787 Constitutional Convention


Long before the 1787 Constitutional Convention, our Founding Fathers lived in fear. Most of them were educated and upper class affluent. This gave them good reason to be afraid of failure and losing it all. They were afraid of big brother Britain. They were afraid of being killed, and their loved ones being killed, too. Thank goodness for the one thing which scared them most of all.

Above all, our Founding Fathers were afraid of what life would be like if they chose NOT to join the American Revolution and fight for freedom, independence, and liberty. They were legendary examples of courage, bravery, and strength overcoming fear.

As they formed a new national government of “We The People,” America’s Founding Fathers were deathly afraid of centralized power. They’d been there and done that with Great Britain. They were united in the pledge they would never lower themselves to letting it happen again. They wisely created a system of checks and balances among three branches of government. It might be slow-moving and frustrating machine at times. Yet, it would serve as a safeguard against tyranny at all times.

The Founding Fathers put their lives and their livelihoods on the line for a chance to give life to the United States of America. By answering this Call to Arms, they didn’t set out to be immortal heroes. They simply stepped up to be leaders. Many of them did in fact hold positions of command in the Revolutionary War. Then, four-fifths of them did more public service as members of the Continental Congress.


A total of 70 delegates were appointed to the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Only 55 were able to attend. The most famous absentees included Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and John Hancock.

Only 39 were in fact signers of the U.S. Constitution. 81-year old Benjamin Franklin was the eldest. He was in such poor physical condition he had to be carried into sessions in a chair. 26-year old Jonathan Dayton was the youngest.

George Washington and Robert Morris were among the wealthiest men in the colonies. Most of the Founding Fathers were very well off financially. Seven ended in or near bankruptcy.

About half of them were college graduates. Self-taught Benjamin Franklin was the exception. 35 were lawyers. 12 were owners or managers of plantations operated by slaves. There were also small farmers, physicians, ministers, a scientist, and university president.

Most were natives of the 13 original colonies. However, 8 Founding Fathers were actually born in other countries (England, Ireland, Scotland, and the West Indies).

Most of the 55 delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention in 1787 were in fact, fathers and husbands. Only four were bachelors. Roger Sherman of Connecticut was the most fertile Founding Father. He had 15 children by 2 different wives. At least eight others of his colonial colleagues were married more than once.

Despite their stress and commitments, America’s Founding Fathers as a group were surprisingly long-lived. Proof of the power of a purpose-driven life you might say. On average, they lived until the age of 67. That’s rather remarkable considering their lack of healthcare resources. (Even Obamacare might have looked good in those times).

William C. Houston of New Jersey was the first to go. He died of tuberculosis in 1788. William Samuel Johnson lived the longest. He died at 92. James Madison was the last remaining of the Founding Fathers when he passed away in 1836.


There were two Founding Fathers who suffered fatalities by firearms. In 1802, 44-year old Richard Dobbs Spaight of North Carolina was on the wrong end of a gun with political rival, John Stanly, a Federalist. Then in 1804, the most famous American political duel took place. The trigger was Alexander Hamilton getting in the way of Aaron Burr for President of the United States, and Governor of New York. However, Burr won the ultimate upper hand after challenging Hamilton to a duel and taking his life at 47 years of age.

Have you seen the new Founding Father patch from AWC Inc.? It’s a little late for the 1787 Constitutional Convention. But it’s just in time for Father’s Day 2015.