- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

GREENSBORO, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Historical Commission is using Valentine’s Day to celebrate a war hero who became known as “America’s Most Kissed Man.”

Lt. Richmond Pearson Hobson was one of eight men who attempted to sink the USS Merrimac in 1898 to block Cuba’s Santiago Harbor during the Spanish-American War. Their goal was to trap the Spanish fleet in the harbor.

The Naval Academy graduate and others were captured in the effort. After their release about a month later, the Navy sent the young, handsome war hero on a national tour, where women flocked to see the “Hero of the Merrimac.” Newspaper accounts say one public kiss led to another until he reportedly kissed as many as 500 women at one stop. The stories about “America’s Most Kissed Man” grew and one account estimated he had kissed 10,000 women. The Historical Commission said he soon had a candy named after him called “Hobson Kisses.”

The Historical Commission owns and operates Hobson’s Greek Revival home, Magnolia Grove, in Greensboro. To celebrate him, the commission says it is giving a candy treat to anyone touring the home between Valentine’s Day and Memorial Day.

Magnolia Grove is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month.

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