Very few people know the name of Thomas Fitzsimons. He was one of the least well-known Founding Fathers of the United States who usually played a subordinate role to some other key figure such that historical glory has proved elusiveness.
Nevertheless, Fitzsimons could claim to be one of the most prosperous of all the founding fathers, building an estate much larger than that of his peers George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and even Benjamin Franklin.
Fitzsimons was born in Ballykilty, in County Cork, Ireland in 1741. This was the worst time to be born into the world in the entire history of Ireland. The history books recall this great famine as “The Year of the Slaughter” (or the “Biliain an Air”) because the potatoes failed to an oomycete infection, the grains frosted, the milk spoiled, and the lakes were both frigid and contaminated. These conditions resulted in the death of over a third of Ireland’s population.