George Washington was a founder of the United States and finished his second term as its first president in 1797. He then retired to his plantation home, Mount Vernon, in Virginia. On December 13 1799, Washington spent much of the day on horseback in the freezing cold and hail, supervising various activities around his plantation home. He remained in his wet clothes all through dinner that evening, before retiring to his library to read and write. He woke in the early hours of the morning, around 2 am, with a shortness of breath and severe pain in his chest. His wife, Martha, sent Washington's aide, Colonel Tobias, to fetch the doctor, James Craik, and the estate's overseer, George Rawlins.
By 6 am, Washington had developed a fever and intense pain in his neck which made breathing extremely difficult. At 7:30 am, Rawlins, who was well-experienced in bloodletting, removed 12 to 14 ounces of blood from Washington's body. Washington requested that he remove even more and this was followed by a tonic of molasses, butter vinegar. Over the course of the day, Washington's doctors removed blood from his body three more times and also administered a treatment called Spanish fly, designed to irritate his throat and draw out any deadly humors. None of these treatments, however, were able to save Washington and he died at home at 10 pm on December 14 1799, from what many believe to be a throat infection.