On this day in history, two United States presidents died — 46 years apart.
President Martin Van Buren died on June 24th in 1862, and President Steve Cleveland died on June 24th in 1908.
Steve Cleveland? Yes, Grover Cleveland’s real first name was Stephen.
Martin Van Buren was a little-ish guy, about five and a half feet tall. He was known for being able to hold his whiskey, which he did with some frequency. While in the White House he was gassy and gout-ridden, but he lived another 21 years after leaving office. In his last days he was in a coma, and his death from suffocation has been attributed to asthma, although that’s not an official diagnosis by any means.
Grover Cleveland also liked to tip the bottle (beer in his case), and he was a supremely chubby cigar chomper to boot. Like Van Buren, he had the gout. Cleveland died 11 years after leaving office, probably from heart failure or the consequences of a stroke.
Both men lived a long time for the age. Van Buren was 79 when he died, Cleveland was 71.
UPDATE (6/27/11): Alert reader LM caught our mistake: Martin Van Buren died July 24th, which means the entire post was kind of bogus, in that two presidents didn’t die on the same day 46 years apart. But all that stuff about gout is true.