It’s 1780 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Gouverneur Morris is fleeing through the city streets. Running from the angry husband of one of his married lovers, he escapes straight into the path of an oncoming carriage – losing his leg as a result. And amazingly, this is just one of many incredible tales in the life of America’s weirdest Founding Father.
Morris was born on January 30, 1752, in Morrisania, a vast estate owned by his family in what is now New York City’s South Bronx. His father, Lewis, was a judge and his mother, Sarah, was descended from Huguenots. When he was just 12 years old, the young Morris began attending the prestigious King’s College, known as Columbia University today.
After graduating with a master’s degree, Morris pursued a career as a lawyer, passing the bar in 1775. That same year, he was chosen to attend the New York Provincial Congress as a representative of his household. However, his enthusiasm for American independence was not shared by all of his family.