On this day in 1924, Woodrow Wilson, born in Staunton, died not far away in Washington, D.C. (He is the only president to be buried there.) Wilson had never been particularly healthy, suffering from the flu and attacks of asthma as president and then, in 1919, the stroke that paralyzed him on the left side and slurred his speech. On January 31, 1924, he experienced indigestion that was enough to bring his doctor home from vacation, only to find Wilson near death. On February 1, the former president said, “I am a broken piece of machinery. When the machinery is broken …” He fell silent for a moment, then added: “I am ready.”
These were his last words.
Also on the day, in 1807, the future Confederate general Joseph Eggleston Johnston was born at Longwood House near Farmville. That the State Teachers College at Farmville would change its name, in 1949, to Longwood College is perhaps not a coincidence.
IMAGE: Woodrow Wilson caricature, 1915 (Library of Congress)