11 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Sam Adams

His name comes up in lots of conversations about beer, but Samuel Adams was an American patriot and a huge influence on the Revolutionary War. Here are a few things you may not know about this founding father.

1. Samuel Adams came from a prominent family.

The Adams clan was a very politically active family in Boston; John (destined to become the second president of the United States) and Samuel Adams were second cousins.  The family was also very large: Samuel was the 10th child out of 12. Unfortunately, only two siblings survived past childhood. 

2. Adams’ education was paid for with flour and molasses.

Adams spent his time at Harvard learning law, philosophy, and Latin. His mother did not want her son to be a lawyer and discouraged the pursuit. Instead of choosing law, the fresh graduate decided to try apprenticing as a merchant, but found he did not have a head for business and quickly abandoned it— his real calling was politics.

3. His father was a founding member of the Boston Caucus.

The Boston Caucus was a political organization that helped spark the American Revolution. The group had enormous sway in government and would often handpick political figures— Boston Caucus-favored candidates rarely lost. Samuel Adams was an active member of all the various branches. The group also worked closely with the Loyal Nine and Sons of Liberty, other patriot organizations.

4. Sam Adams didn’t brew beer.

Despite popular belief, the Founding Father never brewed beer. He did, however, work for his father’s malt house. The business simply made malt that was then sold to breweries. After his father passed away in 1748, Adams took over the family business. Opponents would use this information to tease Adams, and call him a “maltster.”

5. He was not great at being a maltster.

Unfortunately for the malt company, Adams still wasn’t much of a businessman and instead gave the majority of his attention to politics. The malthouse closed shortly after he took over.

6. He wasn’t very committed to being a tax collector, either.  

From 1756 to 1764, Adams worked as a tax collector. As tax rates mounted, it became more difficult for colonists to foot the bill. Ever the ally of the underdog and always a poor businessman, Adams decided to look the other way. By not collecting debts, Adams earned the undying affection of taxpayers, even when the government ran out of money.

Political opponents tried to use the deficit as a means to discredit Adams. Eventually, his friends ended up paying off the majority of the shortfall, while a town meeting cleared away the rest. It was decided that the uncollected debts were unavoidable, and Adams’ reputation emerged relatively unscathed.

7. He wasn’t great at sticking to a budget.

Adams’ financial struggles weren’t limited to his professional life as a tax collector and malthouse operator—he struggled to manage his own money as well. As such, his family was often on the brink of poverty. Thankfully, his second wife, Elizabeth Wells, was resilient and found creative ways to keep the home comfortable with a low income.

8. He started his own newspaper.

Adams and his friends started a newspaper called the Independent Advertiser in 1748. The publication consisted of anonymous essays written about colonial politics. Adams’ own writing was heavily influenced by John Locke and argued for reform in government.

9. He was called the “Father of America.”

Although he usually wasn’t the leader or at the top of the chain of command, Adams was often chosen to be rebellious colonists’ spokesperson. He was not very attractive and had a weak voice, but was said to move audiences by sheer intelligence and passion. Despite his unglamorous disposition, after the Boston Tea Party the city celebrated him as hero. Thomas Jefferson called him “truly the Man of the Revolution.” 

10. He might not actually be the man on the beer label. 

Although a popular beer shares his name, it may not share Adams’ face. Adams grayed at an early age, dressed sloppily, and had dull, washed-out eyes. John Adams once described him, "in common appearance he was a plain, simple, decent citizen, of middling stature, dress, and manners.” In other words, not exactly a looker!  

11. The grave of Samuel Adams is viewed more than any other American patriot. 

This has more to do with geography than popularity. The simple metal disk marking his resting place is smack in the middle of Boston’s Granary Burying-Ground; you can peer through the fence to see it. Since the graveyard is in such a central location, and you can view the grave without leaving the curb, many tourists can see it as they walk by. 

This Gorgeous Vintage Edition of Clue Sets the Perfect Mood for a Murder Mystery

WS Game Company
WS Game Company

Everyone should have a few good board games lying around the house for official game nights with family and friends and to kill some time on the occasional rainy day. But if your collection leaves a lot to be desired, you can class-up your selection with this great deal on the Vintage Bookshelf Edition of Clue for $40.

A brief history of Clue

'Clue' Vintage Bookshelf Edition.
WS Game Company.

Originally titled Murder!, Clue was created by a musician named Anthony Pratt in Birmingham, England, in 1943, and he filed a patent for it in 1944. He sold the game to Waddington's in the UK a few years later, and they changed the name to Cluedo in 1949 (that name was a mix between the words clue and Ludo, which was a 19th-century game.) That same year, the game was licensed to Parker Brothers in the United States, where it was published as Clue. Since then, there have been numerous special editions and spinoffs of the original game, not to mention books and a television series based on it. Most notably, though, was the cult classic 1985 film Clue, which featured Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, and Lesley Ann Warren.

As you probably know, every game of Clue begins with the revelation of a murder. The object of the game is to be the first person to deduce who did it, with what weapon, and where. To achieve that end, each player assumes the role of one of the suspects and moves strategically around the board collecting clues.

With its emphasis on logic and critical thinking—in addition to some old-fashioned luck—Clue is a masterpiece that has stood the test of time and evolved with each decade, with special versions of the game hitting shelves recently based on The Office, Rick and Morty, and Star Wars.

Clue Vintage Bookshelf Edition

'Clue' Vintage Library Edition.
WS Game Company

The Vintage Bookshelf Edition of Clue is the work of the WS Game Company, a licensee of Hasbro, and all the design elements are inspired by the aesthetic of the 1949 original. The game features a vintage-looking game board, cards, wood movers, die-cast weapons, six pencils, an ivory-colored die, an envelope, and a pad of “detective notes.” And, of course, everything folds up and stores inside a beautiful cloth-bound book box that you can store right on the shelf in your living room.

Clue Vintage Bookshelf Edition is a limited-release item, and right now you can get it for $40.

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8 Facts About the Stonewall Riots

Monica Schipper, Getty Images for Airbnb
Monica Schipper, Getty Images for Airbnb

A pivotal moment in civil rights took place the week of June 28, 1969. That day, police raided a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn in New York City's Greenwich Village. The move was a clear condemnation by law enforcement officials of the city's gay population. The volatile riots that followed sparked a new sense of urgency about demanding tolerance for persecuted communities.

1. The Stonewall Inn was operated by an organized crime organization.

In the 1960s, homosexuality was under fire from all directions. Because it was perceived as being amoral, individuals caught engaging in so-called "lewd behavior" were arrested and their names and home addresses were published in their local newspapers. Homosexual activity was considered illegal in most states.

As a result, being part of the LGBTQ community in New York was never without its share of harassment. Several laws were on the books that prohibited same-sex public displays of affection; a criminal statute banned people from wearing less than three “gender appropriate” articles of clothing. Commiserating at gay-friendly bars was also problematic, because officials often withheld liquor licenses from such establishments.

This kind of persecution led to members of the mafia purchasing and operating gay-friendly clubs. It was not an altruistic endeavor: The mob believed that catering to an underserved clientele by bribing city officials would be profitable, and it was. The Genovese crime family owned the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, which became known for welcoming drag queens and giving homeless teenagers and young adults a place to gather. Often, these places got tipped off before a raid took place so they could hide any liquor. But the June 28 raid at the Stonewall Inn was different: No one was tipped off.

2. Police had to lock themselves inside the Stonewall Inn to barricade themselves from the crowd.

During the June 28 raid, police (who were alleged to have targeted Stonewall for its lack of a liquor license and the owners' possible blackmail attempts on gay attendees) confiscated alcohol and arrested 13 people in total, some for violating the statute on inappropriate gender apparel. After some patrons and local residents witnessed an officer striking a prisoner on the head, they began lashing out with anything within arm’s reach—including bottles, stones, and loose change. A number of people even pulled a parking meter from the ground and tried to use it as a battering ram.

The police, fearing for their safety, locked themselves inside the Stonewall Inn as the angry mob outside grew into the thousands. Some were attempting to set the property on fire. Reinforcements were eventually able to get the crowd under control—for one night, at least.

3. The situation got worse on the second night of the Stonewall riots.

After getting the crowd to disperse, police likely thought the worst of their problems was over. But on the second night, the Stonewall Inn reopened and another mob formed to meet the police response. Both sides were more aggressive on the second night of the Stonewall Uprising, with residents and customers forming a mob of protestors and police using violent force to try and subdue them.

“There was more anger and more fight the second night,” eyewitness and participant Danny Garvin told PBS’s American Experience. “There was no going back now, there was no going back … we had discovered a power that we weren’t even aware that we had.”

4. Protestors set their sights on The Village Voice.

Tempers flared again days later when The Village Voice published two articles using homophobic slurs to describe the scene at the Stonewall Inn. Angry about the demeaning coverage, protestors once again took to the streets, with some descending on the offices of the Voice, which were located just down the street from the Stonewall.

5. Not all of the protests were violent.

During the demonstrations—which some observers later referred to as an “uprising”—some protestors opted for a nonviolent approach in order to be heard. Eyewitnesses reported residents forming Rockettes-style kick lines that performed in front of stern-faced policemen. Others sang or participated in chants like “Liberate the bar!”

6. The Stonewall Riots led to New York’s first gay rights march.

Once the riots had subsided, protestors were filled with motivation to organize for their rights. A year after the riots, residents began marching on Christopher Street and Sixth Avenue. The date, June 28, was dubbed Christopher Street Liberation Day. Thousands of people marched the streets while thousands of other people lined up alongside them to protest the treatment of the LGBTQ community at the hands of law enforcement officials and society at large.

Some members of a New York Police Department who had confronted protestors during the Stonewall Riots one year before were now being ordered to protect those same protestors during the walk. Other marches took place in other cities, marking the country's first widespread demonstration for gay rights.

7. The Stonewall Inn is now a national monument.

Since the events of 1969, the Stonewall Inn has been considered an important and historic venue for the new era of gay rights. On June 24, 2016, President Barack Obama made that official when he designated the Stonewall Inn and the surrounding area a National Historic Landmark under the care of the National Park Service. Many credit the Stonewall Uprising with the subsequent surge in gay rights groups. One participant, Marsha P. Johnson, started Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) the following year, an organization devoted to helping homeless LGBTQ youth.

8. The Stonewall Inn is still standing.

Following the riots, the Stonewall’s patrons were still faced with police harassment and were growing uncomfortable with the mob affiliation. Months after the event, the Stonewall became a juice bar before subsequent owners tried operating it as a bagel shop, a Chinese restaurant, and a shoe store in the 1970s and 1980s. New owners renovated the building in 2007.

Today, the Stonewall is once again operating as a bar and club at 53 Christopher Street in Manhattan. Naturally, everyone is welcome.

Note: An earlier version of this article misidentified Marsha P. Johnson's organization as Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries. The correct name is Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries.