Dear friends, I would like to wish you all a very happy President’s Day! Allow me to share with you my holiday salute to all the oath-swearing, veto-wielding, armed-forces-commanding players of the Executive Branch gang, including:
As you might already know, I’m a big ol’ U.S. presidents buff (and have been since 5th grade when I memorized all of the presidents’ names, you know, for fun). So how does a guy like me celebrate this most exciting of holidays? By not going to work, for one thing. (Thank the Maker for bank holidays.) Also, by posting a list of random but totally interesting facts about U.S. presidents. Nothing too heavy here. Just a few of my favorite bits of presidential trivia. It’s geeky holiday fun for the whole family. So read, learn, and above all, enjoy!
Did you know that:
George Washington wore dentures made of hippopotamus tusk.
John Adams died on the 50th anniversary of American independence: July 4th, 1826. His reported last words were, “Thomas Jefferson Survives.” But he was incorrect, as Jefferson died on the exact same day, several hours earlier.
Thomas Jefferson ordered a list of his major accomplishments to be inscribed on his tombstone. This inscription omits the fact that he had been president for eight years.
Jamesadison was the shortest U.S. president, at 5 feet 4 inches tall.
James Monroe was the last president of the Founding Fathers Generation, and in 1830 he became the third (and, to date, the last) president to die on the Fourth of July.
John Quincy Adams was known for routinely skinny dipping in the Potomac River.
Andrew Jackson is said to have exchanged pistol-fire in anywhere from a dozen to over 100 duels throughout his life. The future president famously killed expert marksman Charles Dickinson in their 1806 “interview.”
William Henry Harrison had the shortest presidency, dying from pneumonia 32 days after he was sworn in.
John Tyler was elected to the Confederate Congress during the Civil War. He died in 1862, in open rebellion against the nation over which he had once presided.
Zachary Taylor was the father-in-law of Confederate president Jefferson Davis.
James Buchanan was the only president to have never married.
Abraham Lincoln created the U.S. Secret Service – to combat rampant counterfeiting – on the day of his assassination in 1865. The agency assumed presidential-protection duty in 1902 in response to the assassination of William McKinley.
Ulysses S. Grant, heroic Union general of the Civil War, couldn’t stand the sight of blood.
James A. Garfield was ambidextrous, and could write simultaneously in Greek with one hand and Latin with the other.
Grover Cleveland had part of his upper jaw surgically removed early in his second term. For the purpose of secrecy, the operation took place aboard a friend’s private yacht as it sailed off of the coast of Long Island.
Theodore Roosevelt, while campaigning for a third presidential term in 1912, delivered a 90-minute speech only moments after taking a would-be assassin’s bullet in the chest.
William Howard Taft became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after leaving the presidency. As such, he was the only president to administer the oath of office to subsequent presidents (Coolidge and Hoover).
Woodrow Wilson was the only president to hold a Ph.D. (in political science, from Johns Hopkins University).
Calvin Coolidge was the only president born on Independence Day (1872).
Herbert Hoover, a native of Iowa, was the first person born west of theississippi River to become president.
Franklin D. Roosevelt married his fifth-cousin, Eleanor, who opted to keep her maiden name: Roosevelt. At their wedding, Eleanor was given away by her uncle, then-president Theodore Roosevelt.
Harry Truman was the last president to have never attended college.
Dwight D. Eisenhower had never voted prior to running for president in 1952.
John F. Kennedy was the youngest person to be elected president, winning the office at age 43. (Teddy Roosevelt became president at 42, but only by succeeding his assassinated predecessor, WilliamcKinley.)
Lyndon B. Johnson had a wife, two daughters, and a dog, all with the initials LBJ (Lady Bird, Luci Baines, Lynda Bird, and Little Beagle Johnson).
Richard Nixon was the only president to be succeeded by an appointed (rather than elected) vice president – Gerald Ford.
Gerald Ford was the longest-lived president, dying at the age of 93 years and 165 days. (Reagan was a close second, living only 45 fewer days).
Ronald Reagan was the only president to have been divorced. He split from
Did you also know that …
Presidents of the land, I salute you!