Sen. Robert Byrd—the oldest and longest-serving member of the Senate—celebrated the wrong birthday for decades. He was born Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr., in Wilkesboro, N. C., but his name was changed when he was adopted by his aunt and uncle.
His natural mother died Nov. 10, 1918, a victim of a national influenza epidemic, [Byrd aide Cindy] Huber said.
“When Sen. Byrd met one of his brothers — I think this was in the 1970s — he told him that his birthday was Nov. 20, not Jan. 15,” Huber said.
Since the Byrds in West Virginia had no children, they adopted the future senator but somehow confusion developed as to his actual birth date, the staff spokesperson said, and wasn’t cleared up until the brother came to see him. [Link]