By a strange coincidence Jefferson and his old rival John Adams both died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence—July 4, 1826. On the evening of July 3, Jefferson was in bed, his life ebbing rapidly. “This is the Fourth?” he whispered to a young friend watching by his bedside. The man couldn’t bring himself to say that it was not yet, so kept silent. Jefferson repeated the question, and this time the friend nodded. A look of deep satisfaction came over Jefferson’s face, he sighed deeply, lay back, sank into a deep sleep, and died shortly after noon on the Fourth.