A shot at history

On February 11, 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney shot Harry Whittington, a 78-year old Texas attorney, in the face during a hunting outing on a private ranch in Texas.  Cheney shot Whittington in the face, neck, and chest with bird shot mistaking his hunting companion for a quail. 

Cheney, however, was not the first Vice President to shoot another person.  That honor goes to Vice President Aaron Burr.

Aaron Burr was Vice President serving under President Thomas Jefferson from 1801 to 1805.  After many years of animosity between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, Burr finally challanged Hamilton to a duel, even though, dueling was outlawed in New York (punishment was death) where they both lived.  Dueling was also outlawed in New Jersey but the punishment was less severe.  So, on July 11, 1804, Burr and Hamilton paddled across the river and met on the riverbank outside of Weehawken, New Jersey. When the smoke cleared, two shots had been fired but only one had hit its target.  Hamilton was mortally wounded.  He was loaded into a small boat and taken to a nearby friend’s house where he died.

Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, New Jersey

In spite of a long public career as a soldier, lawyer, and politican, serving in the New York State Assembly, as the New York State Attorney General, as a United States Senator, and Vice President of the United States, Aaron Burr is largely remembered for dueling and killing his political oponent Alexander Hamilton.

Burr is buried in the Princeton Cemetery, in Princeton, New Jersey.  His father, Aaron Burr, Sr. co-founded the College of New Jersey (which became Princeton University) and was its second president.  His maternal grandfather, Jonathan Edwards, noted American theologian, was the third president of the college, Burr is buried next to Edwards’ grave.  Burr’s gravestone is a plain white marble segmented-top tablet set on a foundation.


BORN FEB. 6TH, 1756

DIED SEPT. 14TH, 1836




STATES, FROM 1801 TO 1805.

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1 Response to A shot at history

  1. I love this!

    Just a bit of clarification from someone who spent years in wildlife conservation. Cheney didn’t mistake Whittington for a quail. 🙂 Cheney swung on a quail and Whittington was in his shotpath. It was Cheney’s responsibility to know everyone’s position to avoid such an accident. Typically, hunters will station themselves where they can’t swing on each other, but in this instance folks were careless. I recall that Cheney said that Whittington’s injuries were minor and never publicly apologized. I saw a photo of Whittington later, and he was peppered pretty hard and could easily have been blinded. I believe he carries shot in his body.

    I’m not on topic, I know.

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