With the Presidential election now less than two months away, I thought it would be appropriate to devote some posts to the stranger candidates who have run for President over the years. First up we have "Live Forever" Jones.
Leonard "Live-Forever" Jones
: July 3, 1797. A resident of Louisville, Kentucky.
Jones was something of a perennial candidate, declaring himself a candidate for President in every election between the late 1840s and 1860s. But his ambitions were not limited to the Presidency. He declared himself to be a candidate for every high office, both State and Federal. When, in 1867, he failed to be elected Governor of Kentucky (he received no votes), he declared himself to be the rightful Governor. He considered himself vindicated when the elected governor, John Larue Helm, died five days into his second term. Similarly, he considered Lincoln's assassination to be divine punishment for the nation's failure to elect himself.
: Live-Forever Jones was a member of the "High Moral" party. In fact, he was its only member. The central doctrine he promoted was the belief that immortality could be achieved through a regimen of prayer and fasting. Naturally, he considered himself to be immortal. Thus, his name. He had an unusual manner of speechifying on behalf of his views. He would jump up and down while banging a hickory cane on a table to emphasize his points. Often he would bang so loudly that he would drown out his own voice.
Sadly but predictably, Jones failed to live up to his name. He caught pneumonia, refusing any medical aid because he insisted his sickness was moral, not physical. He died on August 30, 1868.
Despite his odd behavior, he was one of Louisville's favorite eccentrics. Politicians humored him by actually filing the ballots he presented to them, and when he spoke he drew huge crowds who applauded wildly at all his schemes and assertions.
Source: Keven McQueen, Offbeat Kentuckians