20 February, 2006

20 Things You May Not Know About U.S. Presidents

The following fun facts were lifted directly from, and should be credited to, the Microsoft Network's MSN Encarta page. Happy President's Day! Enjoy!


John Quincy Adams
1. In warm weather, 6th president of the United States John Quincy Adams customarily went skinny-dipping in the Potomac River before dawn.

William Henry Harrison
2. 9th U.S. president William Henry Harrison was inaugurated on a bitterly cold day and gave the longest inauguration speech ever. The new president promptly caught a cold that soon developed into pneumonia. Harrison died exactly one month into his presidential term, the shortest in U.S. history.

John Tyler
3. John Tyler, 10th U.S. president, fathered 15 children (more than any other president)--8 by his first wife, and 7 by his second wife. Tyler was past his seventieth birthday when his 15th child was born.

James Polk
4. Sedated only by brandy, 11th president of the United States James Polk survived gall bladder surgery at the age of 17.

James Buchanan
5. 15th U.S. president James Buchanan is the only unmarried man ever to be elected president. Buchanan was engaged to be married once; however, his fiancée died suddenly after breaking off the engagement, and he remained a bachelor all his life.

Abraham Lincoln
6. Often depicted wearing a tall black stovepipe hat, 16th president of the United States Abraham Lincoln carried letters, bills, and notes in his hat.

Andrew Johnson
7. 17th U.S. president Andrew Johnson never attended school. His future wife, Eliza McCardle, taught him to write at the age of 17. (Bonus fact about Andrew Johnson: He only wore suits that he custom-tailored himself.)

Ulysses S. Grant
8. Ulysses S. Grant, 18th president of the United States, died of throat cancer. During his life, Grant had smoked about 20 cigars per day.

James Abram Garfield
9. Both ambidextrous and multilingual, 20th president of the United States James Garfield could write Greek with one hand while writing Latin with the other.

Grover Cleveland
10. Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th president of the United States, underwent a secret operation aboard a yacht to remove his cancerous upper jaw in 1893.

Theodore Roosevelt
11. The teddy bear derived from 26th U.S. president Theodore ("Teddy") Roosevelt's refusal to shoot a bear with her cub while on a hunting trip in Mississippi.

William Taft
12. William Taft, 27th president of the United States, weighed more than 300 pounds and had a special oversized bathtub installed in the White House.

Warren G. Harding
13. Warren Harding, 29th U.S. president, played poker at least twice a week, and once gambled away an entire set of White House china. His advisors were nicknamed the "Poker Cabinet" because they joined the president in his poker games.

Calvin Coolidge
14. Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States, had chronic stomach pain and required 10 to 11 hours of sleep and an afternoon nap every day.

Herbert Hoover
15. Herbert Hoover, 31st U.S. president, published more than 16 books, including one called Fishing for Fun-And to Wash Your Soul.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
16. 32nd president of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt was related, either by blood or by marriage, to 11 former presidents.

Harry S. Truman
17. The letter "S" comprises the full middle name of the 33rd president, Harry S. Truman. It represents two of his grandfathers, whose names both had "S" in them.

Dwight D. Eisenhower
18. Military leader and 34th president of the U.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower loved to cook; he developed a recipe for vegetable soup that is 894 words long and includes the stems of nasturtium flowers as one of the ingredients.

Ronald Reagan's Inauguration
19. 40th president of the United States Ronald Reagan broke the so-called "20-year curse," in which every president elected in a year ending in 0 died in office.

George W. Bush
20. George W. Bush, 43rd president of the United States, and his wife Laura got married just three months after meeting each other.

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