Happy Presidents Day! Here’s Some Presidential Fun Facts

Alright, here’s a list of cool presidential fun facts and worthless presidential trivia that you are sure to impress your friends with at the big annual Presidents Day Party. These are all from the first 25 presidents. I’ll post the 20th century president facts a little later.

  • When he was inaugurated, George Washington was down to his last real tooth.
  • John Adams last words were, “Thomas Jefferson still survives!” Unbeknowest to Adams, Jefferson had died hours earlier.
  • Thomas Jefferson was the first president to shake hands instead of bowing to people. He died deeply in debt, and Monticello was sold off. It went unoccupied for almost 100 years, falling into a sad state of disrepair before it was made into a monument in the 1920s.
  • James Madison was 5’4″ tall, and weighed 98 pounds.
  • In the election of 1820, the immensely popular James Monroe received every electoral vote but one, and ran for president unopposed. The one elector voted against him so that Washington would be the only president elected unanimously.
  • John Quincy Adams had a pet alligator, and had a pool table installed at the White House.
  • Andrew Jackson was a chronic drooler, and suffered from the hives. He was orphaned at age 13. Early in life he had smallpox and dysentery. Later in life he had tuberculosis and dropsy. His wife had a nervous breakdown.He was shot in a duel (he killed the guy who shot him), and since the bullet wasn’t able to be removed, he had an infection for the rest of his life.
  • William Henry Harrison’s inaugural address was two hours long, despite the fact that it took place in a freezing downpour. He refused to shorten his speech or even put on a coat. He quickly developed a cold, which then became pneumonia, and was dead within a month. His is still the longest inauguration and shortest presidency.
  • Martin van Buren’s autobiography doesn’t mention his wife once.
  • 20 years after being elected president, John Tyler was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives. He had 15 children by two wives. His first child was born in 1816. The last Tyler child died in 1947.
  • Zachary Taylor didn’t vote in the election in which he ran for President. His death is still a mystery. His body was exhumed in 1991 to rule out death by poisoning, but no one is still sure how he died, since the doctors botched the autopsy. The best guess is heatstroke.
  • Millard Fillmore’s last words were, “The nourishment is palatable.”
  • Franklin Pierce was classmates with Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow at Bowdoin College. After numerous family tragedies, Pierce drank himself to death.
  • Robert Todd Lincoln declined his parent’s invitation to attend Our American Cousin the night Lincoln was killed. He was at the train station in New York where Garfield was killed and witnessed it happen. He was at the Pan Am Exposition in Buffalo when William McKinley was killed.
  • Andrew Johnson was illiterate until his wife taught him how to read in his young 20s.
  • Ulysses S. Grant’s real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant. He changed it because he didn’t want to enter West Point with the initials H.U.G.
  • Rutherford B. Hayes won the 1876 election by one electoral vote.
  • James Garfield could simultaneously write in Latin with one hand and Greek with the other. He was killed not by the bullet shot by Charles Guitaeu, but by the incompetence of his attending physicians. They continually probed the bullet hole with unwashed fingers and instruments, causing the infection that ultimately killed him.
  • Grover Cleveland was sheriff of Erie County, NY. One of his duties was executioner, and he tied the noose and pulled the trapdoor on two convicted murderers.
  • Electricity was installed in the White House when Benjamin Harrison became president. He and his wife were horrified at the prospect of being electrocuted, so they never touched the light switches. The lights remained on at the White House during the entire Harrison presidency.
  • William McKinley was on the front of the now discontinued $500 bill.

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