Jonathan Edwards and the Famous Dueling Death

It sounds like the title of a Hardy Boys mystery.

I’ve combed through Marsden’s hefty Jonathan Edwards: A Life, and surprisingly couldn’t find any reference to it.

Aaron Burr, a grandson of Jonathan Edwards, was the third vice president of the United States. At File:Hamilton-burr-duelthe time, dueling was a fairly common practice.

He and Alexander Hamilton (a former Secretary of the Treasury) and Burr (then the sitting vice president) were involved in a political dispute. They met outside Weehawken, NJ for a duel. Both men fired shots, with Burr hitting Hamilton in the leg. Hamilton eventually bled to death.

I originally read about this deadly duel in a fascinating book by Roland Bainton called Yale and the Ministrynow out of print. (Bainton was also the author of the still popular and excellent book Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther.) Reading about the incident, I discovered a Wikipedia page devoted to this famous duel (which of course I knew nothing about), which they describe as one of the “most famous personal conflicts in American history.”

Then it dawned on me: in a roundabout way, Jonathan Edwards, by means of his grandson Aaron Burr, was involved in a famous deadly duel.

So next time you need a little Jonathan Edwards trivia to impress your friends while at the local watering hole, now you have it.

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