SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Residents of Scotch Plains-Fanwood are among the hundreds of millions of Americans celebrating the Fourth of July today. All across the country there will be barbecues, parades and fireworks displays to mark America's 240th birthday.
We all learned in school that the members of the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, to adopt the final version of the Declaration of Independence. Here are some little known Facts about the Fourth:
- Most signers of the Declaration of Independence did not sign the document until Aug. 2, 1776.
- Calvin Coolidge, our nation's 30th President, was the only one born on July 4 (in 1872).
- Three Presidents died on the Fourth of July: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two architects of the Declaration, both died on the same day in 1826, the 50th anniversary of the document. James Monroe, another Founding Father, died five years later on July 4, 1831.
- Thomas Jefferson was the first U.S. President to host a Fourth of July celebration at the White House.
- Fireworks were first used to celebrate July 4, 1777, the one-year anniversary of its signing.
- The Fourth of July did not become a legal federal holiday until 1870.
- 2.5 million people lived in the British Colonies when the Declaration was signed.
- Initially drafted on July 2, 1776, the final version of the Declaration of Independence was not adopted until July 4.
- "The Star Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812, and not officially become the national anthem until 1931.
- Because of its crack, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846.
- Eight signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in Britain.
- The average age of the signers of the Declaration of Independence was 45. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest at 70, and Edward Rutledge was the youngest at 26.