Baseball great Ted Wiliams was such a notorious tightwad that when he shopped he often paid by check, hoping the store owner would keep the check as a souvenir, thus saving Williams the money not deducted from his bank account. It is not clear how many of our presidents were also cheapskates, but we now know that a good many of them also paid by check. Last year workers at an Ohio bank discovered a trove of checks collected by a former executive decades ago. The checks were last seen in 1983 after a takeover and presumed lost in the ensuing decades. All told, there are about seventy written by twenty-four presidents and other luminaries such as Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Thomas Edison. One was written by George Washington in 1799, the year he died; Lincoln wrote a check for $800 to “Self” on April 13, 1865, the day before he was mortally wounded at Ford’s Theater and two days before he died. Some speculate he cashed the funds to pay debts incurred by Mary Lincoln. For several months the bank displayed the items on a rotating basis at various branches in the six states where it does business. They are currently on display at the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum through February 28th. Bank officials are considering donating these fascinating documents to a repository such as the Smithsonian.
These are the things that remind us that historical figures were real people who lived real lives, even performing that types of mundane tasks we each do every day.. Pics here.