One unusual fact is that a few people consider John Hanson to be the real first president because he was the first President of Congress who was elected under the Articles of Confederation in 1781. Of course, most everyone knows that George Washington was the first president elected by the people in 1789.
Facts About the Office and Term
- When counting how many presidents we have had, Grover Cleveland is counted twice because he served two non-consecutive terms from 1885 to 1889 and 1893 to 1897.
- Four presidents have been elected that did not receive a majority of the popular vote: John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, and George W. Bush.
- George Washington was the only president elected who received all the electoral votes. James Monroe received all but one. A delegate from New Hampshire held out so that Washington would retain that honor.
- More presidents, eight in all, have been from Virginia than any other state. George W. Bush followed his father, George Herbert Walker Bush, into office as did John Quincy Adams, who was the son of John Adams.
- There was a two year span when the president leading the country was not elected. After Spiro T. Agnew resigned as vice president in 1973, President Nixon appointed Gerald Ford as vice president. When Nixon resigned the next year, Ford became president and Nelson Rockefeller was appointed vice president.
Unusual Facts About Presidents
- Eight presidents have died while in office: W. Harrison, Taylor, Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Harding, F. D. Roosevelt, and Kennedy. Harrison died of pneumonia, Taylor died of inflammation of the stomach and intestines, Harding died of a heart attack, and Roosevelt died of a stroke. Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy were assassinated.
- July 4th is an interesting date for presidents. Three presidents died that day, John Adams, James Monroe, and Thomas Jefferson, and one was born on that day, Calvin Coolidge.
- The smallest and shortest president was James Madison who weighed 100 pounds and was five feet four inches tall. The largest was William Howard Taft, who weighed up to 332 pounds. After he became stuck in the bathtub, Taft had a larger bathtub installed in the White House that was big enough for four average sized men. The tallest president was Abraham Lincoln at six feet five inches. His height shrunk to six feet four inches at the time of his death.
- The youngest elected president so far was John F. Kennedy, who became president when he was 43, and the oldest was Ronald Reagan, who was 69 when he was sworn in. The youngest president to serve was Theodore Roosevelt, who became president at 42 after McKinley was assassinated.
Famous Firsts from Presidents
- The first US citizen to become president was Martin Van Buren. He was born in 1782, which makes him the first president to be born after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
- The first president to travel out of the country was Theodore Roosevelt, the first to fly was Franklin Roosevelt, and the first to visit all 50 states was Richard Nixon.
- The first president to use a phone was Hayes and his number was 1.
- Grover was the first and only president to be married in the White House.
- Benjamin Harrison was the first president to attend a baseball game. William Taft was the first to throw out the first pitch of the season and that tradition still continues.
- US coins have had the images of: Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, F. D. Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Eisenhower. Paper currency has portrayed Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin, Jackson, Grant, McKinley, Madison, Cleveland, and Wilson.
- Washington, Jefferson, and John Adams all loved to play marbles and were collectors of them.
- Jefferson invented the dumbwaiter, coat hanger, and a wheel cipher.
- Herbert Hoover’s son had two alligators as pets.
- Warren Harding played poker often and lost a set of White House china during a game.
- A speeding ticket was issued to Grant for riding his horse too fast.
- John Quincy Adams usually took a morning nude swim in the Potomac River.
- Garfield could write in Greek with one hand and Latin with the other at the same time.
So, now you know lots of unusual facts about presidents and you can look at American history with new eyes.