If you've read Huckleberry Finn, you know about the King and the Duke. They're the two con men who latch onto Huck and Jim, claiming to be European nobility.
About the same time Huck and his companions were going down the Mississippi, the young city of Chicago had its own version of the King and the Duke. His name was David Kennison. He said he was the last survivor of the Boston Tea Party.
David Kennison spelled his name various ways--"Kinniston" is just one of the variations. He was a veteran of the War of 1812. He came to Chicago about 1845.
Those are the facts historians accept. Now for Kennison's version.
He said he was born in 1736. Besides taking part in the Boston Tea Party, Kennison claimed to have been a dispatch runner for George Washington, and to have been present at most of the important events of the Revolutionary War--the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Surrender of Cornwallis, and so on. He'd even been "near West Point" when Benedict Arnold's betrayal was discovered.
Chicago welcomed Kennison with great joy. Nobody seems to have questioned his stories. For a growing frontier town, it was quite an honor to have such a distinguished resident. Many people were eager to help him, and he lived comfortably.
Kennison died at the reported age of 115 on February 24, 1852. His funeral the next day was the most spectacular Chicago had yet seen. The mayor and the city council were there, along with an army detachment, several companies of militia, volunteer firemen, and a brass band. Most of the city's 40,000 people lined the streets to watch the cortege pass.
David Kennison was laid to rest in City Cemetery with full military honors. Then Chicago went back to work.
Some years later, City Cemetery became Lincoln Park. The bodies were removed and reburied elsewhere. By then Kennison's grave had been lost. In 1903 a marker was placed at a probable location near Clark and Wisconsin. It's still there, though an aluminum plate has replaced the original bronze one.
Presumably, David Kennison's remains are still somewhere in the park. And presumably, if they're ever found, scientific testing can determine whether he really was 115 years old when he died. Of course, that wouldn't prove he had taken part in the Boston Tea Party.
By the way, did I ever tell you how I'm related to the last czar of Russia?