Hail To The Chief
US Presidents - History and Trivia
Neutral and Elementary Info Tidbits To Accompany Another Contrived Holiday
1st president (1789-1797)
Vice president: John Adams
George Washington had to borrow money to go to his own inauguration. George Washington who commanded the Continental Army as a four-star general was promoted posthumously to the position of six-star "General of the Armies of Congress" by order of Jimmy Carter, who felt America's first President should also be America's highest military official. When George Washington was elected President, there was a king in France, a czarina in Russia, an emperor in China, and a shogun in Japan. Only the office of President remains. Washington was the first President to appear on a postage stamp. Washington was one of two Presidents who signed the U.S. Constitution. George Washington was a half first cousin twice removed of James Madison, a second cousin seven times removed of Queen Elizabeth II, a third cousin twice removed of Robert E. Lee, and an eighth cousin six times removed of Winston Churchill. Washington was the only president elected unanimously, receiving all 69 of the electoral votes cast. At his inauguration, Washington had only one tooth. At various times he wore dentures made of human or animal teeth, ivory or lead -- never wood. Washington refused to wear a powdered wig, which was high fashion in the late 1700s. Instead, he powdered his red-brown hair and tied it in a short braid down his back. Washington carried a portable sundial. Washington's inauguration speech was 183 words long and took 90 seconds to read. It was hard for him to read because of his false teeth. The six white horses in Washington's stables had their teeth brushed every morning on Washington's orders. The nation's capital was located in Philadelphia during Washington's administration making him the only president who didn't live in Washington, D.C. during his presidency. Washington loved to help fight fires. Washington's favorite sports were fishing and fox hunting. George Washington was born on February 11, 1731. Over twenty years later, in 1752, Great Britain and its American colonies switched calendars from Julian to Gregorian. This switch eliminated eleven days from September of that year: September 2 was followed by September 14. At the same time, New Year's Day was changed from March 25 to January 1. Since then, historians have said that Washington was born in 1732, and the anniversary of his birth has been celebrated on February 22. Washington's face was scarred from smallpox. Washington was the first man in American history to be a Lieutenant General. Washington was the only president to die in the 1700s. George Washington had two ice cream freezers installed at his home in Mount Vernon. George Washington left no direct descendant. Though his wife Martha had four children by a previous marriage., Washington never sired a child to continue his line. He was probably named after George Eskridge, a lawyer in whose charge Washington's mother had been left when she was orphaned. Washington once issued an order that forbade swearing throughout the U.S. Army. Washington wore size thirteen boots. Washington used to take a boat from Mount Vernon to Washington, D.C. to get to work. He would often get his "e's" and "i's" mixed up, he would spell words like blue as blew, and oil as oyl. Washington's IQ was estimated to be about 125. He was a very loud snorer.
2nd president (1797-1801)
Vice president: Thomas Jefferson
Adams was the first Preisdent to live in the White House. Adams was one of two Presidents to sign the Declaration of Independence. John Adams was a second cousin to Samuel Adams, and a third cousin to his own wife, Abigail Smith Adams. Adams was one of three presidents to live beyond his 90th birthday. Adams was one of three presidents not to attend the inauguration of his successor. Not only was Adams disappointed in losing to Jefferson, he was also grieving the death of his son Charles. Adams was the great-great-grandson of John and Priscilla Alden, Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. The Adams' were the first residents of the White House. They moved in in November 1800 while the paint was still wet. When Adams and his family moved to Washington to live in the White House, they got lost in the woods north of the city for several hours. Mrs. Adams would hang her laundry in the East Room to dry. He was named after his father. His grandaughter Susanna Adams lived in the White House during the last four months of his term.
3rd president (1801-1809)
Vice presidents: Aaron Burr (1801-1805); George Clinton (1805-1809)
Jefferson was the first President to shake hands instead of bow to people. Thomas Jefferson was the first President to have a grandchild born in the White House. Jefferson was one of two Presidents who signed the Declaration of Independence. When he was sworn in as President, he returned to his boarding house for dinner. Every seat was taken, and no one stood to offer him a seat. After awhile, the wife of a Kentucky senator offered him her seat. Jefferson politely declined. Jefferson City, Missouri is named after Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was a second cousin once removed of John Marshall. Jefferson's library of approximately 6,000 books became the basis of the Library of Congress. His books were purchased from him for $23,950. Jefferson kept a mockingbird named Dick in the White House study, and let the bird ride on his shoulder whenever possible. President Jefferson even trained Dick to take bits of food that he held between his lips at meals! When Jefferson went upstairs, his faithful companion would hop up after him, step after step, never far from his side. Jefferson was the first president to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C. Bears brought back from Lewis and Clark's famous expedition were displayed in cages on the White House lawn. For years the White House was sometimes referred to as the "president's bear garden." Jefferson wrote his own epitaph without mentioning that he served as president of the United States. Thomas Jefferson was once given a 1,235 pound hunk of cheese, giving us the term "the big cheese." When Thomas Jefferson became President, in 1801, 20 percent of all people in the U.S. were slaves. (There were 5 million people in all) Jefferson played the violin. He suggested the decimal system of money we use. He wrote over 20,000 letters in his lifetime. Jefferson founded, designed and built the University of Virginia. He took a cold foot bath every morning for 60 years. Jefferson once ate a tomato in public to prove it wasn't poisonous. Jefferson owned 200 slaves. Among the vegetables in Thomas Jefferson's garden was the English pea, considered to be his favorite. He grew fifteen types of the English pea, and his frequent jottings on the vegetable in his Garden Book suggest that he paid particular attention to it, happily noting when 'peas come to table.' By staggering the planting of peas, Jefferson was able to eat them fresh from the garden from the middle of May to the middle of July. He was named after his grandfather, Thomas Jefferson II, a prominent landowner, militia captain, and justice of Chesterfield County, Virginia. While president, Jefferson wrote a book rejecting the divinity of Jesus, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, though it was not published until after his death.
4th president (1809-1817)
Vice presidents: George Clinton (1805-1812); Elbridge Gerry (1813-1814)
Madison was our smallest President, weighing 100 pounds, and standing 5 feet and
4 inches tall. Madison was the first President to wear trousers instead of knee
breeches. James Madison was one of two Presidents to sign the U.S. Constitution.
Madison, Wisconsin is named after James Madison. Madison was a half first cousin
twice removed of George Washington and a second cousin of Zachary Taylor. During
the War of 1812 Madison was under enemy fire. He was the first president to be
in that situation. (Some people may question whether this is true or not since
George Washington led troops during the Whiskey Rebellion, some say that he was
the first to be under enemy fire. Nevertheless, I added this fact because I read
it in several different places. Madison was younger than both of his vice
presidents, and both of his vice presidents died while they were in office. When
he was dying, Madison was offered drugs so that he might live until Independence
Day. He refused and died on June 28, 1836. Madison's inaugural jacket was woven
from the wool of sheep raised at his home in Virginia. Madison was diagnosed as
epileptic. Madison was the first U.S. Congressman to become president.
He was named after his father. His wife Dolley Madison served as Thomas Jefferson's White House hostess when James was his Secretary of State. As First Lady, she courageously rescued the famous portrait of George Washington by Gilbert when fleeing from the burning White House in 1812. That portrait is the only remaining possession from the original building.
5th president (1817-1825)
Vice president: Daniel D. Tompkins
The capital of Liberia is Monrovia, named after James Monroe. Monroe's daughter, Maria Monroe, was the first person ever to be married in the White House. In the election of 1820, Monroe received every electoral vote except one. A New Hampshire delegate cast his vote on an unknown because he wanted Washington to be the only president to be elected unanimously. Monroe's inauguration in 1817 was the first to be held outdoors. Monroe was the first president to ride on a steamboat. Monroe was the only president to serve in two different cabinet posts. He was Secretary of State and War. James Monroe was the first president to tour the country.
No one ran against Monroe when he ran for his second term in 1820. Monroe was the first U.S. senator to be elected president. Monroe was wounded during the Revolutionary War. Monroe's favorite foods were chicken, breads, and biscuits. The White House was still being rebuilt when he became president. On January 1, 1818, the president and his wife held a public reception marking the reopening of the White House. He sold his own furniture to the government because the White House was almost empty when he moved in. The charred remains of the mansion's interior were used to fill a pit on top of which Monroe planted his vegetable garden. Archaeologists unearthed the pit when President Ford's swimming pool was dug. The year he was elected, the White House was painted white.
John Quincy Adams
6th president (1825-1829)
Vice president: John C. Calhoun
His wife, Louisa Catherine Johnson, was the only foreign first lady. John Quincy Adams was a second cousin once removed of Samuel Adams and a third cousin once removed to his own mother, Abigail Smith Adams. Adams liked to take nude dips in the Potomac River almost every morning. Anne Royall, the first U.S. professional journalist, knew of his 5 a.m. swims. After being refused interviews with the president time after time, she went to the river, gathered his clothes and sat on them until she had her interview. Before this, no female had interviewed a president. John Quincy Adams was the only president to be elected to the House of Representatives after serving as President. Adams argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of slaves from the ship Amistad who mutinied during their journey from Africa. John Quincy Adams owned a pet alligator which he kept in the East Room of the White House. Adams had the first pool table installed in the White House. John Quincy Adams was the only president to name a son George Washington. Adams was the first president to be photographed. John Quincy Adams's favorite foods were corn and fresh fruits. He kept silkworms as pets. He was named after his great-grandfather John Quincy, Speaker of the Massachusetts Assembly, member of the Governer's council, and militia officer. He annually read the Bible from front to cover.
7th president (1829-1837)
Vice presidents: John C. Calhoun (1829-1832); Martin Van Buren (1833-1837)
Jackson was racist and sexist. He also believed that the earth was flat. Jackson was the only President to pay off the national debt. Jackson was the first President to ride in a train. On January 30, 1835, a mentally disturbed man named Richard Lawrence fired two different guns at Jackson from point-blank range. Both weapons failed to fire. The odds of this happeneing were put at 1:125,000. Jackson then chased after Lawrence and beat him with his cane. Jackson, Mississippi is named after Andrew Jackson. At his funeral in 1845, his pet parrot named Poll had to be removed because it was swearing! Jackson was the only President to have been held as a prisoner of war. This was during the Revolutionary War.
Jackson was only 13 years old. In 1806 Jackson had a duel with Charles Dickinson over some things that he said about Jackson's wife. Dickinson got the first shot, and hit Jackson directly in the chest, about two inches from his heart. Jackson didn't even fall down! Instead, he raised his gun and killed Dickinson! He then walked away. The bullet had lodged to close to his heart to be removed, so he carried it there for the rest of his life. Anyone could come to Andrew Jackson's public parties at the White House, and just about everyone did! At his last one, a wheel of cheese weighing 1,400 lbs. was eaten in two hours. The White House smelled of cheese for weeks. Andrew Jackson was orphaned at the age of 14. Jackson was the first president born in a log cabin. He was the only president to serve in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Andrew Jackson's favorite foods were wild turkey, partridge, venison, cheese, blackberries, and milk. Jackson owned five horses: Same Peaches, Emily, Lady Nashville, Bolivia, and Truxton (a champion race horse) as well as other ponies. He was named after his father. When John Quincy Adams lost to Andrew Jackson in the election of 1828, the town of Adams, New Hampshire, changed its name to Jackson. The town had been named in 1800 to honor the election of John Adams. He bought 20 spittoons for the East Room for $12.50 each. Some said it was a great waste of government money while others said it would save the White House carpets.
Martin Van Buren
8th president (1837-1841)
Vice president: Richard M. Johnson
Van Buren was the first president born after the Declaration of Independence was signed. This makes him the first president born as a citizen of the U.S. The term "It's O.K." came from Van Buren, who grew up in Kinderhook, New York. After he went into politics, he became known by the nickname "Old Kinderhook." Soon people were saying "Is it OK?" reffering to Van Buren, and the word okay was derived. Van Buren was the only incumbent President to run for re-election without a vice-presidential running-mate. Van Buren was a third cousin twice removed to Theodore Roosevelt. Van Buren made three unsuccessful bids for reelection. His autobiography does not mention his wife once. Van Buren took $100,000, the sum of his salary as president over four years, in a lump sum at the end of his term. The only president of Dutch ancestry, Van Buren and his wife spoke Dutch at home. Martin Van Buren's favorite foods were oysters, doughnuts, raisins, figs, and apples. Van Buren owned two tiger cubs as pets. Van Buren's favorite sport was riding horses. He was named after his grandfather, Martin Van Buren. When he was Vice President, he presided over the Senate with loaded pistols!
William Henry Harrison
9th president (1841)
Vice president: John Tyler
William Henry Harrison was the first president to die in office, about 32 days after he was elected. Boxer Jack Dempsey was named after President William Henry Harrison. His full name was William Harrison Dempsey. Harrison was the first President to study medicine. When Harrison was elected President in 1840, the Indian leader Tecumseh placed a curse on him, saying that every president elected in a year that ends with a 0 will die while in office. Harrison died while in office, as did Lincoln, elected in 1860, Garfield, elected in 1880, Mckinley, elected in 1900, Harding, elected in 1920, Roosevelt, elected in 1940, and Kennedy, elected in 1960. Reagan, elected in 1980, broke the curse, but was almost assassinated while in office. Harrison was one of two presidents to have double letters in his first and last names. He was the only President to have been born in the same county as his Vice President, Charles City County. Harrison had a pet goat named "His Whiskers." Harrison was the first president to recieve over one million popular votes.
10th president (1841-1845)
Vice president: None, as Tyler succeeded Harrison after his death
Tyler was playing marbles when he learned that he was to be President. Tyler was the first President to have a veto overridden. John Tyler was the President to have the most children. He had 15. He made the most cabinet changes of any single-term President. John Tyler joined the Confederacy twenty years after he was in office and became the only President named a sworn enemy of the United States. Tyler didn't make an Inaugural Address. Tyler was a great-uncle of Harry S Truman. Five years after leaving office, Tyler was so poor he was unable to pay a bill for $1.25 until he had sold his corn crop. He had a horse named "General," a pet canary named "Johnny Ty," and an Italian greyhound named "Le Beau." Tyler's second wife initiated the practice of playing "Hail to the Chief" whenever a president appears in public. He was named after his father. Tyler played the violin. He was the first President to marry while in office.
James K. Polk
11th president (1845-1849)
Vice president: George M. Dallas
Polk was the only president who was also the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Polk was the first President to have his inauguration reported by telegraph. A week before he died, Polk was baptized a Methodist. Polk was the first president to voluntarily retire after one term. Polk survived a gallstone operation at age 17 without anesthesia or antiseptics. Polk was a great-grandnephew of John Knox, founder of Scottish Presbyterianism. He spent only 37 days away from his desk during his four years as president. He was named after his grandfather, James Knox, a militia captain during the American Revolution. During his term, gaslights were first installed in the White House.
12th president (1849-1850)
Vice president: Millard Fillmore
When Taylor was inaugurated in March 1849, he would not take the Oath of Office on a Sunday. The offices of President and Vice President were vacant at the time, so someone had to be the president, but who? David Rice Atchison, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, was sworn in as president. He did not do much, when asked, he said, "I went to bed. There had been two or three busy nights finishing up the work of the Senate, and I slept most of that Sunday." Taylor was a second cousin of James Madison, a fourth cousin once removed of Robert E. Lee, and a fourth cousin three times removed of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Taylor's body was recently exhumed because some thought that his death was caused by murder instead of natural causes. Taylor spent July 4, 1850, eating cherries and milk at a ceremony at the Washington Monument. He got sick from the heat and died five days later, the second president to die in office. Taylor, the 12th president of the U.S. didn't vote until he was 62 years old and didn't even vote in his own election because he was a soldier & moved so often he couldn't establish legal residency until he retired. Taylor refused all postage due correspondences. Because of this, he didn't receive notification of his nomination for president until several days after. Taylor kept his old warhorse named Whitney on the White House lawn. People would pluck hairs from it for souvenirs. Taylor chewed tobacco and was famous for never missing a spittoon when he spat. Taylor never held a political office before he was president. Taylor's daughter, Sarah Knox Taylor, married Jefferson Davis. Taylor commented on the ordeal, "Iíll be damned if another daughter of mine will marry into the army!" Taylor rode his horse sidesaddle whenever he went into battle. Abraham Lincoln gave the eulogy at his funeral.
Millard Fillmore13th president (1850-1853)
14th president (1853-1857)
Vice president: William R. King
Franklin Pierce was the first President to have a Christmas tree in the White House. Franklin Pierce is the only President to have said "I promise" instead of "I swear" at his Inauguration. Pierce died of cirrhosis of the liver as a result of years of heavy drinking. Pierce was arrested while in office for running over an old woman with his horse, but his case was dropped due to insufficient evidence in 1853. One of the Democratic party's slogans during Pierce's campaign for president was: "We Polked you in 1844; we shall Pierce you in 1852." Pierce installed the first central-heating system in the White House. Pierce always insisted that grace be said before a meal. During his second year at Bowdoin College in Maine, Pierce had the lowest grades out of anyone in his class. He changed his study habits, and graduated third in his class. Among his class mates were Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Pierce was wounded during the Mexican War. Pierce was an avid fisherman. He defeated his old commanding officer from the Mexican War, Winfield Scott, when he was elected president. Pierce was the first president born in the 19th century.
15th president (1857-1861)
Vice president: John C. Breckinridge
Buchanan had the opportunity to buy Cuba for only $90,000,000, but Congress wouldn't let him because they thought he would steal the money and run away! Buchanan was the only president to never be married. His niece Harriet Lane acted as First Lady. He is said to have the neatest handwriting of all the presidents. When England's Prince of Wales came to visit the White House in 1860, so many guests came with him that Buchanan had to sleep in the halls! Buchanan was farsighted in one eye and nearsighted in the other. His left eye also sat higher in its socket than his right. He tipped his head to the left and closed one eye when talking to people. He sent a note to newly elected Abe Lincoln saying, "My dear sir, If you are as happy on entering the White House as I on leaving, you are a happy man indeed." James Buchanan was the first president to send a transatlantic telegram. It was sent to England's Queen Victoria. He was named after his father.
16th president (1861-1865)
Vice-presidents: Hannibal Hamlin (1861-1865); Andrew Johnson (1865)
Lincoln was seeing the play "Our American Cousin" when he was shot. Lincoln was the first president to wear a beard while in office. Lincoln, Nebraska was named after Abraham Lincoln. Abe Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, died when the family dairy cow ate poisonous mushrooms and she drank the milk. A plot was developed to steal Lincoln's body, so a secret society to guard his tomb was formed. During the Civil War, telegraph wires were strung to follow the action on the battlefield. But there was no telegraph office in the White House, so Lincoln went across the street to the War Department to get the news. Lincoln was the tallest president. He was 6 feet and four inches tall. Lincoln once had a dream right before the fall of Richmond that he would die. He dreamt that he was in the White House, he heard crying and when he found the room it was coming from he asked who had died. The man said the President. He looked in the coffin and saw his own face. A week later Lincoln died. Lincoln was shot on Good Friday. Robert Todd Lincoln arrived too late to stop three seperate presidential assassinations. He met his father, President Abraham Lincoln, at the theatre after John Wilkes Booth had fired the shot. He went to a Washington train station to meet President Garfield, arriving only minutes after he was shot. And, he traveled to Buffalo, New York to meet President Mckinley, but got there after the fatal shot had already been fired. Lincoln had a cat named "Bob," a turkey named "Jack," and a dog named "Jib." He was the first president to be photographed at his inauguration. John Wilkes Booth (his assassin) can be seen standing close to Lincoln in the picture. Lincoln was the only president to receive a patent, for a device for lifting boats over shoals. Lincoln's brother, half-brothers, and brothers-in-law fought in the Confederate Army.
Lincoln's favorite sport was wrestling. Lincoln worked as a deck hand on a Mississippi flatboat. Lincoln had a wart on his right cheek, a scar on his thumb from an ax accident, and a scar over his right eye from a fight with a gang of thieves. Abraham Lincoln grew his beard out of the suggestion of an 11 year old girl. John Wilkes Booth's brother once saved Abraham Lincoln's son's life. Lincoln is the U.S. president most frequently portrayed in films. The contents of his pockets on the night of his assassination weren't revealed until February 12, 1976. They contained two pairs of spectacles, a chamois lens cleaner, an ivory and silver pocketknife, a large white Irish linen handkerchief, slightly used, with "A. Lincoln" embroidered in red, a gold quartz watch fob without a watch, a new silk-lined, leather wallet containing a pencil, a Confederate five-dollar bill, and news clippings of unrest in the Confederate army, emancipation in Missouri, the Union party platform of 1864, and an article on the presidency by John Bright. He was named after his grandfather. Lincoln and his wife held seances in the White House. They had great interest in psychic phenomena. Lincoln loved the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Abraham Lincoln was the first president to be born outside of the original thirteen colonies. He was born in Kentucky. Called two-faced by a rival, Lincoln responded, "If I had another face, do you think I'd wear this one?" Lincoln was shot at twice before John Wilkes Booth killed him. Both times were while he was on his way to the Soldier's Home and Lincoln joked about them and ordered that they not be publicized.
17th president (1865-1869)
Vice president: None, as Johnson succeeded Lincoln after his death
Johnson was drunk at his inauguration for Vice President. He was the only president elected to U.S. Senate after his presidential term. Andrew Johnson was a self-educated tailor. He is the only President who made his own clothes as well as his cabinet's. He didn't make an inaugural address. His wife was only 16 years old when they were married. He was the first president to be visited by a queen. Queen Emma of the Sandwich Islands came to America on August 14, 1866. Johnson was buried beneath a willow he had planted himself with a shoot taken from a tree at Napolean's tomb. His head was rested on a copy of the Constitution.
Ulysses S. Grant
18th president (1869-1877)
Vice president: Schuyler Colfax (1869-1873); Henry Wilson (1873-1875)
Grant was one of three presidents to graduate from a military academy: West Point. He finished his memoirs only a few weeks before his death from cancer. The book brought in $500,000 for his family after his death. While president, Ulysses S. Grant was arrested for driving his horse too fast. He was fined $20. His real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant. He changed it because he didn't want to enter West Point with the initials H.U.G. Grant was a fourth cousin once removed of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a sixth cousin once removed of Grover Cleveland, and a first cousin three times removed to Judy Garland. Grant ate a cucumber soaked in vinegar for breakfast each day. Grant was the first president to have both parents alive when he took office. Witness to some of the bloodiest battles in history, Grant could not stomach the sight of animal blood -- rare steak nauseated him. Some historians say that Grant smoked around 20 cigars a day. He acquired the habit during the battle of Fort Donelson in 1962. A reporter wrote that Grant liked cigars, and people started to send him cigars. He received over 20,000. Ten years after he was president, Grant was stricken with throat cancer. He regularly swabbed his throat with cocaine and he became addicted to it. Grant once said that he knew only two songs, "One was Yankee Doodle, and the other wasn't." Grant was the second man in American history to be a Lieutenant General. Ulysses S. Grant had the boyhood nickname 'Useless'. His original name was Hiram Ulysses Grant. He was named Hiram after his grandfather, and Ulysses after the hero in Greek mythology.
Rutheford B. Hayes
19th president (1877-1881)
Vice president: William A. Wheeler
Hayes was the first President to use a telephone while in office. The first telephone was installed in the White House in 1879. Of the five presidents who served in the Civil War, Hayes was the only one to be wounded. He won the presidency by only one electorial vote. Hayes was the first president to visit the West Coast while in office. His wife, Lucy Hayes, banned alcohol, smoking, dancing, and card playing from the White House. She was the first presidential wife to be called "First Lady of the Land." Hayes and his wife conducted the first Easter egg roll on the White House lawn. It was held April 2, 1879. The presidential tie to the egg roll began when Congress abandoned its own long Easter Monday children's festival and declared in 1878 that the western slope of Capitol Hill and the Capitol's lawns and terraces could no longer be used as "playgrounds or otherwise." Then on Easter Monday in 1879, Capitol police refused to admit the children to the grounds. They went to the grounds of the National Observatory and the White House, apparently at the invitation of the president. He was named after his father, Rutherford Hayes, and his mother, Sophia Birchard. Hayes never knew his father, who died a few months before he was born.
James A. Garfield
20th president (1881)
Vice president: Chester A. Arthur
His mother attended his inauguration. James Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other. A book published in 1940 contained 370 proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem, including one by Garfield. Garfield was the second president shot in office. Doctors tried to find the bullet with a metal detector invented by Alexander Graham Bell. But the device failed because Garfield was placed on a bed with metal springs, and no one thought to move him. He died on September 19, 1881. Garfield was our first left-handed president. He was the first president to campaign in more than one language. Garfield was the last of seven presidents to be born in a log cabin. Garfield juggled clubs to build his muscles. He was named after his older brother James, who died in infancy, and his father, Abram Garfield. Garfield was the only president to have been a preacher.
Chester A. Arthur
21st president (1881-1885)
Vice president: None, as Arthur succeeded Garfield after his death
Arthur sold twenty-six wagons full of White House furniture for about eight thousand dollars. He did not know was that the furniture was priceless. Arthur changed his pants several times a day. He had over 80 pairs! He didn't make an Inaugural Address. His favorite food was mutton chops. Arthur was the first president to take the Oath of Office in his own home. Arthur's citizenship was questioned when political opponents alledged that he was born across the Vermont border in Canada. Arthur denied this and continued on with his term.
Arthur destroyed all of his personal papers before his death. He often took his friends on late night walks around Washington D.C. as early as three or four in the morning. He seldom went to bed before two o'clock. Arthur was a skilled fisherman. He belonged to the Restigouche Salmon Club, a group of New York anglers who fished in Canada. He was named after Dr. Chester Abell, the physician who delivered him, and his grandfather, Alan Arthur.
22nd and 24th president (1885-1889; 1893-1897)
Vice president: Thomas A. Hendricks (1885); Adlai E. Stevenson (1893-1897)
He was the only president to be elected to two nonconsecutive terms. Cleveland was the first executive movie star. In 1895, Alexander Black came to Washington and asked Cleveland to appear in "A Capital Courtship", his photoplay. He agreed to be filmed while signing a bill into law. "A Captial Courtship" was a big hit on the Lyceum Circuit. Cleveland was the only president to be married in the White House and was the first to have a child born there. The Baby Ruth candy bar was named after Cleveland's baby daughter, Ruth. He acted as executioner while sheriff of Erie County, New York. He personally pulled the hanging trap on two convicted murderers. He and the first lady would shake hands with as many as 8,000 callers at a New Year's Day reception. Crowds entered through the doors and the East Room windows! Cleveland used his veto powers 584 times during his two terms. This is the highest total of any president except Franklin Roosevelt, who served three terms. Grover Cleveland went sailing during July 1893 for what people thought was a fishing trip, but he was really having surgery for a strange growth in his mouth. The operation was kept so secret that nobody found out about it until 1917! Cleveland answered the White House phone, personally. "Death and Destruction" was the name that Grover Cleveland gave to his favorite hunting rifle. Cleveland was a draft dodger. He hired someone to enter the service in his place, for which he was ridiculed by his political opponent, James G. Blaine. It was soon discovered, however, that Blaine had done the same thing himself! He was named after the Reverend Stephen Grover, whom Cleveland's father has succeeded as minister in Caldwell, New Jersey.
23rd president (1889-1893)
Vice president: Levi P. Morton
Harrison is the grandson of William Henry Harrison. He was the first president to use electricity in the White House. After he got an electrical shock, his family often refused to touch the light switches. Sometimes they would go to bed leaving all the White House lights on! When North and South Dakota were admitted to the Union. Harrison covered the tops of the bills and shuffled them so that he could only see the bottom. He signed them and we will never know which state was the 39th or the 40th! He was known as the "Human Iceberg" because he was stiff and formal when dealing with people. Harrison once made 140 completely different speeches in 30 days. The wearing of kid gloves to protect his hands from skin infection earned him the nickname of "Kid Gloves" Harrison. He was named after his uncle, Dr. Benjamin Harrison, and his great-grandfather Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
25th president (1897-1901)
Garret A. Hobart (1897-1899); Theodore Roosevelt (1901)
McKinley was the first President to ride in an automobile. He rode in an electric ambulance to the hospial after he was shot. After being shot, he saw the shooter being beaten to the ground, he then cried, "Don't let them hurt him!" McKinley was the first president to campaign by telephone. His wife, Ida, couldn't stand the color yellow. She banned all yellow things from the White House, and even ordered all the yellow flowers in the garden to be uprooted! McKinley always wore a red carnation in his lapel for good luck. McKinley's commanding officer in the Civil War was Rutherford B. Hayes. He was the only clean shaven president between Andrew Johnson and Woodrow Wilson. He moved to Poland, Ohio when he was young. He often joked that he was the only president from Poland. As a boy, McKinley almost drowned in Mosquito Creek in Niles, Ohio. McKinley's favorite plays were those by Shakespeare, and Rip Van Winkle. He was named after his father. McKinley kept a parrot in the White House that could whistle "Yankee Doodle." McKinley would whistle the first part, and the bird would finish it.
26th president (1901-1909)
Vice president: Charles W. Fairbanks (1905-1909)
Roosevelt wanted the motto "In God We Trust" removed from the new $20 gold coin designed in 1907. Roosevelt felt it was blasphemous to use the Lord's name on coins that were so often used to buy "worldly" goods and services. After a huge public outcry, Congress passed a law requiring "In God We Trust" be returned to all United States coinage at once. He was the first President to ride in an airplane. He flew for four minutes in a plane built by the Wright Brothers on October 11, 1910. Theodore Roosevelt was our youngest president(He was younger than Kennedy at the time that McKinley was shot and he was inaugurated). In 1912, Roosevelt took a drink of coffee and exclaimed, "That coffee tastes good, even to the last drop!" Maxwell House got their motto from this. Roosevelt was the first president to leave the continental U.S. while in office. He went to Panama in 1906. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his role of peacemaker in the Russo-Japanese War. He was the first American to ever win the award. Theodore Roosevelt was shot on October 14, 1912 just before giving a speech during his run as "Bull Moose" candidate. Even though the bullet entered his lung, he still gave the speech! Roosevelt's wife and mother died on the same day, February 14, 1884. He war a ring containing a lock of Abe Lincoln's hair to his inauguration. The teddy bear is named after Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt was a third cousin twice removed of Martin Van Buren, a fifth cousin of Franklin D. Roosevelt, an uncle of Eleanor Roosevelt, and a great-uncle of Joseph and Stuart Alsop. Roosevelt was blind in his left eye. He lost his eyesight when he was boxing. His favorite word was "bully" meaning great. Roosevelt had a photographic memory. He could read a page in the time it took anyone else to read a sentence. He was the first president to be popularly reffered to by his initials, TR.
William H. Taft
27th president (1909-1913)
Vice president: James S. Sherman
Taft is the only President to also serve as Chief Justice in the Supreme Court. Taft was the first president to throw the first baseball of a season. He was the first president to own a car. He had the stables converted into a four-car garage. William H. Taft is one of two presidents who is buried in the Arlington National Cemetary. Taft was the last president to have facial hair. He called the White House "the loneliest place in the world." His funeral was the first to be broadcast on the radio. Taft was our heaviest president, weighing 332 pounds. He once got stuck in the White House bath tub, so a new one was installed, big enough to hold four grown men! William Howard Taft was a seventh cousin twice removed of Richard Nixon and a distant relative of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Taft was tone deaf. Taft needed to be nudged when anyone was playing the national anthem because he was tone deaf. Taft's nickname in high school was "big lub." Taft never wanted to be president. He wanted to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but his wife wanted to be the first lady. She talked him into running for office. He finally got his wish in 1920 when he was appointed Chief Justice. Taft fractured his skull in a carriage accident at age 9. Taft kept a cow on the White House lawn to supply him with fresh milk. He was the last president to do so.
28th president (1913-1921)
Vice president: Thomas R. Marshall
Wilson was the first president to hold a press conference. Famous folk artist Woody Guthrie was named after Woodrow Wilson. His full name is Woodrow Wilson Guthrie. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1920 for his efforts in seeking peace after World War I and supporting the League of Nations. Wilson detonated the final explosives to clear the Panama Canal. He sent the signal all the way from New York! A flock of sheep was raised on the White House lawn during Wilson's term. The wool was used to raise money for the Red Cross during World War I. Wilson was the first and only president to have earned a Ph.D. He was the first president to cross the Atlantic Ocean while in office. Woodrow Wilson had a sheep named "Old Ike" that chewed tobacco and grazed on the lawn of the White House. His wife, Edith Wilson, was his connection with the outside world after he suffered a stroke which paralyzed his left side. She is considered the most powerful first lady there ever was. An avid golfer, Wilson used black golf balls when playing in the snow. His second wife, Edith, was a great-grandaughter of Pocahontas, seven times removed. Wilson couldn't read until he was 9 years old. Wilson was the second president to personally address Congress. In 1895 he suffered a retinal hemorrhage which left him blind in his right eye. Wilson is the only president buried in Washington D.C.
Warren G. Harding
29th president (1921-1923)
Vice president: Calvin Coolidge
Harding was the first president to speak over the radio. He was the first president to visit Canada. He stopped in Vancouver on his way to Alaska. He was also the first president to visit Alaska. He suffered nervous breakdowns at the age of 24 and had to spend some time in a sanitarium. He had a pet canary named "Bob" and a dog named "Laddie Boy." Harding played poker at least twice a week. He once gambled away an entire set of White House china, dating back to Benjamin Harrison's time. His advisors were given the nickname of the "Poker Cabinet" because they all played poker together. Harding was the first president to ride to his inauguration in a car. Harding was the first president to have a radio. Both of Harding's parents were doctors. He was also the first newspaper publisher to be elected into the presidency. Warren G. Harding was the first president to have a public golf course named after him. His mother called him "Winnie." He was named after his great-uncle the Reverend Warren Gamaliel Bancroft, a Methodist chaplain at the Wisconsin State Prison. Out of all the presidents, Harding had the biggest feet. He wore size fourteen shoes. He was the first President to be survived by his father.
30th president (1923-1929)
Vice president: Charles G. Dawes (1925-1929)
Coolidge's family spoke in sign language when they did not wish to be overheard. Calvin Coolidge, a man of few words, was so famous for saying so little that a White House dinner guest made a bet that she could get the president to say more than two words. She told the president of her wager. His reply: "You lose." Coolidge had an electronic horse installed in the White House which he rode almost every day. Calvin Coolidge was sworn into office by his own father, who was a justice of the peace, at 2:47 in the morning. Coolidge then went back to sleep. Coolidge had numerous dogs and cats, as well as a donkey named "Ebeneezer," a goose that had starred in a Broadway play, and a raccoon named "Rebecca."
Coolidge was sometimes found walking around the White House with Rebecca on his shoulder. He liked to be photographed while wearing Indian headdresses and Boy Scout uniforms. When governor of Massachusetts, Coolidge was once punched in the eye by the mayor of Boston. Coolidge's last will and testament, executed in December 1926, was just 23 words long: "Not unmindful of my son John, I give all my estate, both real and personal, to my wife, Grace Coolidge, in fee simple." He was named after his father. Coolidge refused to use the telephone while he was in office. He once said, "If you don't say anything, you won't be called on to repeat it." He also once said, "Four-fifths of all our troubles in this life would disappear if we would only sit down and keep still." His Vice President, Charles Dawes, earned a Nobel Peace Prize. He kept his dog's drinking bowl in the White House's State Dining Room.
31st president (1929-1933)
Vice president: Charles Curtis
Hoover was the first president to have an asteroid named for him. His Secretary of State, Henry L. Stimson won a Nobel Peace prize. The Hoovers spoke in Chinese when they didn't want to be heard. Herbert Hoover was one of three presidents to live past his 90th birthday. Hoover had never held an elected office prior to becoming president. The Hoovers held many parties at the White House. As many as 4,000 invitations would be loaded on a truck and hand delivered around Washington. Herbert Hoover was an eighth cousin once removed of Richard Nixon. Hoover worked in Australia at the turn of the 20th century as a mining engineer. Hoover was the first president born west of the Mississippi River. Hoover approved "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem. Hoover was the first president to donate his salary to charity. During their first three years in the White House, the Hoovers dined alone only three times, each time on their wedding anniversary. He was the youngest member of Stanford University's first graduating class. One of the most honored presidents, Hoover received 84 honorary degrees, 78 medals and awards, and the keys to dozens of cities. During Prohibition Hoover would visit the Belgian Embassy in Washington D.C. for drinks. It was considered foreign soil, so drinking was legal there. From his youth he was known as Bert to friends. He was the first President to serve in a Cabinet position other than Secretary of State or War.
32nd president (1933-1945)
Vice presidents: John N. Garner (1933-1941)
Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945)
Harry S. Truman (1945)
As a boy, Roosevelt visited president Grover Cleveland who told him never to become president. Roosevelt was the first president to appear on television. There was an assassination attempt on Roosevelt in February of 1933. Roosevelt was unharmed, but Anton Cermak, mayor of Chicago, was killed. Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office longer than any other president. He served three consecutive terms and died during his fourth. His Secretary of State Cordell Hull won a Nobel Peace Prize. Roosevelt's mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt, never entrusted her son with managing the family's money because she didn't think he was up to the task. Even though Roosevelt had presided over at least eight annual budgets of the largest fiscal entity on earth. He was the first president to have a presidential aircraft. All five of his children have been divorced. Franklin D. Roosevelt was a fifth cousin once removed of his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, and a seventh cousin once removed of Winston Churchill. Roosevelt's favorite food was fried cornmeal mush. He was the first president whose mother was eligible to vote for him. Roosevelt had a dog named "Fala" who was with him all the time. He also had a German sheperd named "Major" that was famous for biting several politicians. Roosevelt was related by either blood or marriage to eleven other Presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Ulysses Grant, William Henry Harrison, Benjamin Harrison, James Madison, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Zachary Taylor, Martin Van Buren and George Washington. Franklin D. Roosevelt's favorite sport was swimming. Roosevelt's birthday is a legal holiday in the Virgin Islands. The American destroyer USS William D. Porter accidentally fired a live torpedo at the battleship USS Iowa during a practice exercise on Nov.14, 1943. As if this weren't bad enough, the Iowa was carrying President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Secretary of State Cordell Hull and all of the country's World War II military brass to 'the big three' conferences in Cairo and Tehran. Fortunately, the W.D. Porter's warning allowed the Iowa to evade the speeding torpedo which exploded in the wake of the Iowa.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
34th president (1953-1961)
Vice president: Richard M. Nixon
He switched his first and middle names around to avoid confusion between he and his father. Eisenhower was one of three presidents to graduate from a military academy. He went to West Point. He had a putting green installed on the White House lawn. Eisenhower was the first president of all 50 states. He was the first president to appear on color television. Eisenhower was superstitious. He carried three coins with him for good luck: a silver dollar, a five-guinea gold piece, and a French franc. He was also a wonderful cook, who specialized in barbecued steaks. His favorite dessert was prune whip. Eisenhower was the first president licensed to pilot a plane. In their married life, the Eisenhowers moved 28 times before their retirement in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He was the only president to serve in both World Wars. He graduated from West Point sixty-fifth in a class of 165. He was named after his father. All six of the Eisenhower boys were at one time or another nicknamed Ike. He was responsible for putting 'under God' into the Pledge of Alliegence. His son John graduated from West Point on June 6, 1944 :the day Eisenhower led the D-Day invasion during World War II.
John F. Kennedy
35th president (1961-1963)
Vice president: Lyndon B. Johnson
Kennedy was the first President to hold a press conference on television. He was the first president to also be a Boy Scout. John F. Kennedy was the first president to use the desk that was a present from Queen Victoria. Kennedy was the first and only Roman Catholic president. He was the youngest man elected president, but not our youngest president, Teddy Roosevelt was younger at the time of his inauguration. John F. Kennedy is one of two presidents that is buried in Arlington National Cemetary. One of his favorite poems was "I Have a Rendezvous With Death" by Alan Seeger. His father said "I will not pay for a landslide." during his campaign. Kennedy was the first president born in the 20th century. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his book "Profiles in Courage." Kennedy was the only president to appoint their brother to a cabinet post. Kennedy commissioned Pierre Salinger to buy and stockpile 1,500 Havana cigars on the eve of signing the Cuban trade embargo. Kennedy was a very fast random speaker, with upwards of 350 words per minute. His right leg was 3/4 of an inch longer than his left, so he wore corrective shoes to make up for it. Kennedy canceled all White House subscriptions to the New York Herald Tribune. When a copy of the Tribune was used to line a box for newborn puppies in the White House, JFK reportedly commented ďItís finally found its proper use.Ē John F. Kennedy had a sister, Rosemary, who was mentally retarded. Kennedy was the first president who had served in the U.S. Navy. Kennedy was called Jack by his friends. He was named after his grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald.
Lyndon B. Johnson
36th president (1963-1969)
Vice president: Hubert H. Humphrey
Johnson was the only President to take the Oath of Office on an airplane. He was also the only President to take it from a woman. When approached by a reporter and asked a question he didn't like, he replied, "Why do you come and ask me, the leader of the Western world, a chicken-shit question like that?" Almost every Johnson family member's name was initialed LBJ- Lyndon Baines, Lady Bird, Lynda Bird, and Luci Baines. Lyndon B. Johnson was the youngest senate majority leader. Johnson loved the soda Fresca so much that he had a fountain installed in the Oval Office that would dispense the soda at the push of a button! His favorite foods were canned green peas and tapioca. Lyndon Johnson died one mile from the house he was born in. He had two pet beagles named "Him" and "Her." Him's paw prints are imprinted in cement on the walkway leading to the White House press room. J. Edgar Hoover gave him another beagle named "Edgar." He liked to take visitors on 90 mph rides around his Texas ranch in his Lincoln Continental. Johnson and his wife, "Lady Byrd", were married with a $2.50 wedding ring bought at Sears. He rejected his official portrait painting, saying it was "the ugliest thing I ever saw." Lyndon B. Johnson was once engaged to the daughter of a Texas Ku Klux Klan leader. He broke it off when he heard what her father had said about him. "I wonít have my daughter marrying into that no-account Johnson family. Iíve known that bunch all my life, one generation after another of shiftless dirt farmers and grubby politicians. Always sticking together and leeching into one another so the minute one starts to make it, the others drag him down. None of them will ever amount to a damn." He was named after W.C. Linden, a lawyer and family friend. He was the first President to name an African American cabinet member. He was the first President to confer with a pope in the United States. He spoke to Pope Paul VI while he was visiting New York in 1965. His birthday August 27 is an official holiday in Texas.
37th president (1969-1974)
Vice president: Spiro T. Agnew (1969-1973)
Gerald R. Ford (1973-1974)
Nixon was the first to address the Russians on Russian television. His Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, won a Nobel Peace Prize. He had the White House swimming pool filled in to give the press more room to stand when covering White House events. Nixon was a second cousin twice removed of Jessamyn West, a seventh cousin twice removed of William Howard Taft, and an eighth cousin once removed of Herbert Hoover. He was the first president to visit China while in office. Nixon suffered from motion sickness and hay fever. Nixon's mother wanted him to become a Quaker missionary; Nixon wanted to be an FBI agent. He parted his hair to the right to hide a large scar resulting from a childhood accident. Nixon's favorite sport was football. Before Super Bowl VI, Nixon called Miami Dolphins coach, Don Shula, to recommend a play. The play never did work. Milhous was his mother's maiden name. He was our only president to resign from office. His letter of resignation was as follows: "Dear Mr. Secretary: I hearby resign the office of the President of the United States. Sincerely, Richard M. Nixon."
38th president (1974-1977)
Vice president: Nelson A. Rockefeller
Except in formal signature, he signs his name Jerry Ford. Gerald Ford had two attempts on his life in California during the month of September, 1975. Both attempts were by women. Ford was once a male model. He became Vice President and President without being elected to either office. Ford had another swimming pool dug after he became president because Richard Nixon had had it filled in. Ford was on the University of Michigan football team from 1931 to 1934. He was offered tryouts by both the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. In 1977 he had a hole-in-one at the Memphis Classic. He is right-handed, but he writes with his left hand. Ford was the only president to serve without being chosen in the national election. When Ford proposed to to his wife, he was wearing one brown & one black shoe Ford was the first President to have been an Eagle Scout. Ford's daughter Susan held her senior prom at the White House. Ford was the head boxing coach and assistant football coach at Yale University. Ford was one of the members of the Warren Commission appointed to study the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. after his biological father. He was renamed after his adoptive father. He was the first President to visit Japan while in office.
39th president (1977-1981)
Vice president: Walter F. Mondale
Carter was the first president to be born in a hospital. Carter was one of three presidents to attend a military academy. He went to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis where he studied nuclear physics. His daughter, Amy Carter, was arrested on two occasions as a student activist. She was later dismissed from Brown University for academic reasons. Jimmy Carter is a speed reader. He has been recorded reading 2000 words per minute. His favorite foods are mixed nuts and peaches. In 1953 he returned to Georgia to take over the family peanut farm. He improved production and became a millionaire in the peanut industry by 1979. Carter was the first president sworn in using his nickname, Jimmy. He was the first president to send his mother on a diplomatic mission. When he conducted the first presidential phone-in, over nine million people tried to call. Carter only had one testicle. He was named after his father. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, making him the third President to win. At the age of 9, he bought 5 huge bales of cotton for 5 cents a pound. He stored the cotton and sold it a few years later when the price had more than tripled. He had a dog named Grits. During his Inauguration Day parade, there was a giant peanut shaped balloon.
Ronald Reagan40th president (1981-1989)
George Herbert Walker Bush41st president (1989-1993)
42nd president (1993-2001)
Vice president: Al Gore
Clinton was the first president to both be sued for sexual misconduct and forced to give a deposition while in office. Bill Clinton was the first and only president to have been a Rhodes Scholar. Bill Clinton is the only President ever to be elected twice without ever receiving 50% of the popular vote. He had 43 percent in 1992 and 49 percent in 1996. Clinton's favorite sandwich is peanut butter and banana and his favorite ice cream flavor is mango. He had a cat named "Socks." Bill Clinton plays the tenor and soprano saxophone. He played his saxophone during his campaign at many appearances, namely on "The Arsenio Hall Show." Clinton was mauled by a sheep when he was about eight years old. Clinton called it "the awfullest beating I ever took." Bill Clinton is the first left-handed American president to serve two terms. Bill Clinton was a brother of Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity. President Clinton, having returned from a visit to Romania, sent a note to thank for the presents received, among which was a 'poncho'. Not being aware of having given Mr Clinton a poncho the Romanian government checked the list of presents and found they had given the President a Romanian flag. After having turned over the communist regime the communist signs were cut out of the middle of the Romanian flag by means of protest. Apparently Mr. Clinton mistook this flag for a poncho. Bill Clinton signed into effect a law specifying Lake Champlain (between New York and Vermont) as the sixth Great Lake. Clinton's first automobile was a 'Henry J.' He was born William Jefferson Blythe, 4th, after his late father. He legally changed his last name to that of his stepfather when he was 16. Clinton is allergic to dust, mold, pollen, cats, certain greenery (Christmas trees), and dairy products. His biological father, William Jefferson Blythe, 3d, was killed a few months before he was born in a car accident. Blythe wasn't hurt badly in the crash, but was knocked unconscious and landed in a deep puddle of water face down, and drowned. His wife Hillary is the first "First Lady" to attain an elected office. She was elected a New York senator.
George W. Bush
42nd president (2001-)
Vice president: Dick Cheney
He succeeded his father as President, making him one of two Presidents to do so. Bush was one of two managing general partners of the Texas Rangers baseball club from 1989-1994. Of the 6 million votes cast in Florida in the 2000 election, Bush won the state's 25 electoral votes by 537 votes. Bush was the first president to hold Little League baseball tryouts on the White House lawn. Bush has two dogs, Spot and Barney, and one cat, India. Bush invented the word "strategery."
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