Opinion

The Five Spot: 5 reasons being named for President Pierce is depressing

U.S. President Franklin Pierce sits for his official Five Spot portrait.
U.S. President Franklin Pierce sits for his official Five Spot portrait. Ron Coddington

Five tragic Presidents Day facts about Pierce County’s namesake president, Franklin Pierce.

1 As an officer in the Mexican-American War, he earned the lifelong nickname “The fainting general” (aka “fainting Frank”) after he was incapacitated by a groin injury on horseback.

2 As president-elect, he endured the death of his 11-year old son in a freak train accident.

3 As president, he notoriously set the stage for Civil War by helping overturn the Missouri Compromise, thus allowing slavery to move West.

4 In his lifetime, he was never privileged to visit the beautiful county in Oregon Territory (now Washington state) that was named for the newly elected president in 1852.

5 Nearly a century and a half after his death, a Western Michigan rock band called The Fainting Generals bills itself as the world’s greatest Franklin Pierce tribute band.

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