Thursday Thirteen #17
This week’s Thursday Thirteen is on the topic of U.S. Presidents. Once again, I have failed to keep the list to one fact per person, but I don’t think you’ll mind when you see what I have found. Enjoy the list!
A Random Selection of Presidents:
1. Rutherford B. Hayes (19th President – 1877-1881) – Hayes neither drank nor smoked. In fact, his wife even refused to serve alcohol at White House functions.
2. James Buchanan (15th President – 1857-1861) – Buchanan was the only president that never married. Some say that this is because he wasn’t allowed to marry the woman he loved. (When she died suddenly, he wasn’t even allowed to attend the funeral.) Others point to the fact that he had a longtime close male friend, namely Senator Rufus King of Alabama, who Andrew Jackson tended to refer to as “Miss Nancy.” You decide.
3. Grover Cleveland (22nd President – 1885-1889/ 24th President – 1893-1897) – Cleveland was reportedly nicknamed “Big Steve.” He was also the only president (so far) to hold two non-consecutive terms.
4. George Washington (1st President – 1789-1797) – The first president of the United States was known to carry a portable sundial and also required that the teeth of his six white horses be brushed every morning. His home, called Mount Vernon, is very beautiful. It is well worth a trip to see it if you are in the area.
5. Ulysses S. Grant (18th President – 1869-1877) – Baptized “Hiram Ulysses Grant,” the eighteenth president smoked about twenty cigars a day. He managed to finish his memoirs just before dying of throat cancer. As he intended, the royalties from the memoirs supported his family in his absence.
6. Dwight D. Eisenhower (34th President – 1953-1961) – “Ike” Eisenhower had quite the catchy tune in his Animated campaign commercial: “I Like Ike.”, so only click to watch it if you are prepared to get it stuck in your head. He is also the one who changed the name of the presidential retreat to “Camp David.” It used to be called “Shangri-la.”
7. Warren G. Harding (29th President – 1921-1923) – I’m pretty sure that no other president lost the White House china in a card game. At one point Harding threw a birthday party for his dog “Laddie Boy” and invited the neighborhood dogs.
8. John Adams (2nd President – 1797-1801) – John Adams tried to make the office of president an inherited position. This attempt failed, but he was the first president whose son also became president. So, I suppose that made him happy.
9. John Quincy Adams (6th President – 1825-1829) – Adams helped to establish the Smithsonian Institution. He was also fond of swimming nude in the Potomac. Once, some boys even came along and stole his clothes while he was swimming!
10. William Henry Harrison (9th President – 1841) – Harrison gave a two hour speech at his Inauguration on a cold an rainy day…outside. He died of pneumonia after only 32 days in office.
11. Benjamin Harrison (23rd President – 1889-1893) – Harrison was the grandson of the 9th president (#10 above.) He also added six new states to the Union. (He tried for seven, but Hawaii didn’t work out.)
12. James K. Polk (11th President – 1845-1849) – Polk died only a few months after the end of his term. It should also be noted that his wife replaced all of the White House servants with newly purchased slaves.
13. William Howard Taft (27th President – 1909-1913) – Not only was Taft the fattest president, but he also tended to fall asleep at inopportune times. He was the last president to keep a cow on the White House lawn.
* The Offical Website of the White House
* A Treasury of Great American Scandals by Michael Farquhar
* U.S. Presidents: Feats & Foul-Ups – The Good, the Bad, and the Silly by Nell Fuqua