The Saddest President

Published on February 17, 2009

The song is “Pastoral” by Moondog.

I first read about the sad, sad Pierces in a book of Presidential profiles I got at a used bookstore. The book, upon further research, got a key detail wrong. I SO wish it were right, though: the way I first learned the story, Benny Pierce gets killed on the way to the inaugural. So, they’re on their way from New Hampshire; Jane is convinced that they are tempting the wrath of God; the train stops in Baltimore and Benny dies, proving it; she gets off the train; Franklin has to keep going because he’s about to be inaugurated as President of the United States. An epic, if apocryphal, story. Damn facts…

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