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    Americans owe a particularly great debt to this devoted New England couple, separated throughout their lives by service to their country.

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    In his later years, Jefferson recalled that marriage to Martha was a time of “unchequered happiness.” For three weeks following her death he did not emerge from his room, and it was reported that he fainted whenever he saw his children.

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    At his death, General Meigs was buried in Arlington Cemetery. In the shadow of his large white sarcophagus lies a surprisingly small bronze slab marking the grave of his heroic son, lying dead in the mud amid hoof-prints from the Confederate ambush that had killed him. So ends our tribute to the great but largely unsung U.S. patriot, engineer, inventor, architect, and indispensable hero of the Civil War — Genl. Montgomery C. Meigs.

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    When something had to be done, Washington was the man to do it. Behind the scenes, ALEXANDER HAMILTON wheedled and twisted arms to get the Southern states to agree to assume a larger share of the Revolutionary War debt by making it a federal, rather than a state, responsibility. In return, the new capital did not go to civilized New York or Philadelphia. No. It was to be built completely new, south of the Mason-Dixon line, on the Potomac River, at a site of Washington's choosing.

Welcome to Americana-DC

BETH SHERMAN is a history-minded DC native well-versed in her city’s local lore and national and international importance. She specializes in stories about DC residents and how the ideas and institutions that led to the founding of our Republic have evolved over time. History has always been her passion, although until recently her focus was on the more distant past.

She holds a Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago and lived in Cairo, Egypt for nearly five years, researching ancient biographies engraved on private statues and taking part in excavations in the Karnak Temple complex. She also holds a B.A. in English literature and art history from Oberlin College, speaks fluent French, and makes do in Arabic, German, and Spanish.

She has chiefly earned her living as a freelance writer, publishing on subjects ranging from climate change, to economics, to literature, to neuroscience. In addition to being a professional tour guide, Beth currently works part-time as a science writer for the National Institutes of Health.