1. George Washington, our first President, was also the wealthiest. Research from Wall Street 24/7 listed Washington as the wealthiest president of all time, with assets worth more than $500 million in today’s dollars.
2. John Adams died on the same day as his former archrival turned good friend Thomas Jefferson. Both men passed away on July 4, 1826. His last words were “Thomas Jefferson still survives” but he was mistaken: Jefferson had died five hours earlier at Monticello at the age of 82. He scoffed that fire companies and cricket clubs had mere “presidents” and that Washington should be called “His Majesty the President” or “His Highness, the President of the United States of America, and Protector of the Rights of the Same.”
3. Thomas Jefferson invented a new, improved swivel chair, a polygraph (not a lie detector, but a copying machine) and was the first President to serve macaroni and cheese in the White House, being inordinately fond of the dish. He chose three accomplishments to be recorded on his tombstone, and being president didn’t even make the list. The things he wished to be remembered for, and what is inscribed on his tombstone, are: “Author of the Declaration of Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom and Father of the University of Virginia.”
4. James Madison weighed less than the average American teenage girl, being only 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing around 100 pounds. As a Congressman Madison suggested that the American government ought to guard its oceanic interests by hiring the Portuguese navy for anti-pirate protection instead of constructing one of her own. Both of his Vice Presidents died in office; Madison himself was the last surviving signer of the U.S. Constitution, dying in 1836.
5. James Monroe has a foreign country’s capital named after him. Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, was given its name after Monroe worked with the American Colonization Society to help create a state where freed slaves could live.
6. John Quincy Adams was a free spirit who was a fan of taking an early morning skinny dip during his presidency. Despite losing the presidency in 1828, Adams was elected to represent his district in the US House of Representatives. He served in the House for 17 years before collapsing on the floor of the House and dying two days later in the Speaker of the House’s private chambers.
7. Andrew Jackson had a parrot named Poll – a “wicked old bird” – that cursed like a sailor. According to reports at the time of Jackson’s funeral, the parrot got excited by all the commotion and commenced swearing so loud and long that it had to be carried from the house.
8. Warren G. Harding repeatedly had extramarital sex with a young girl, Nan Britton, in a White House closet. On one occasion, Secret Service agents had to stop his wife from beating down the closet door. In 1928, Britton revealed that her daughter, Elizabeth Ann Britton Harding Blaesing, had been fathered by Harding while he was serving in the United States Senate, a year before he was elected to the presidency. Her revelation was controversial during her lifetime, but was confirmed by DNA testing in 2015.
9. Franklin Pierce was arrested for running over an old woman with his horse but the charges were later dropped due to lack of evidence. Pierce was also criticized during his presidential campaign and his presidency for his alcoholism. During the election of 1852, the Whigs mocked Pierce as the “Hero of Many a Well-Fought Bottle.”
10. Abraham Lincoln apparently knew how to handle himself in the ring. As a young wrestler, Lincoln was defeated only once out of approximately 300 matches. He was also the only U.S. president who was a licensed bartender. He was co-owner of Berry and Lincoln, a saloon in Springfield, Illinois.
11. James A. Garfield, who was ambidextrous, could write Latin with one hand and Greek with other at the same time. He was also the first president to ever talk on the phone. When he spoke to Alexander Graham Bell, who was at the other end 13 miles away, he said, “Please speak a little more slowly.”
12. Chester A. Arthur, sometimes called “elegant Arthur” for his interest in fashionable attire, owned 80 pairs of pants and often changed them several times a day. He was known for taking late night strolls around D.C. with his friends and sauntering back at three in the morning. Arthur made no inaugural address and burned nearly all his personal and official papers only two days before dying of a cerebral hemorrhage.
13. Ulysses S. Grant’s real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant. It is frequently said that Grant’s middle name was “Simpson” but it was not. His middle name was “Ulysses” and he admitted that the “S” in his name stood for nothing.
14. Grover Cleveland’s real first name was Stephen but he switched to Grover as an adult. He was also very unhealthy, named the least-healthiest President by Fitness Magazine due to the fact that he loved drinking beer, cigar smoking and weighed 250 pounds.
15. Benjamin Harrison was a scaredy cat. Harrison was the first president to have electricity in the White House but he and his wife would not touch the light switches for fear of being electrocuted and often went to bed with the lights left on.
16. Millard Fillmore fulfilled many a young man’s dream by marrying his teacher. Though she was only about 2 years older than him, Millard Fillmore’s first wife Abigail was actually his teacher while he was a 19-year-old student at the New Hope Academy.
17. William Taft’s lifelong ambition was not to become President but to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a post for which he had been pining since 1889. Upon finally becoming Chief Justice in 1921, he happily declared “I don’t remember that I was ever president.” Following his appointment to the bench, Taft administered the oath of office to fellow conservatives Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.
18. Calvin Coolidge, during his presidency, woke up in a hotel room to find a burglar going through his things. Instead of panicking and calling for help, cool Cal struck up a conversation with the man and discovered he was a student who needed money to pay for college. Coolidge gave him the $32 that was in his wallet, telling him it was a loan, and then instructed the student to leave the way he came to avoid being caught by the Secret Service.
19. Richard Nixon played a mean game of poker. While in the Navy, Nixon realized that his friends were winning money at poker games. Wanting to get in on the action, Nixon had someone teach him poker and within a few months he had won around $6,000. He used that money to fund his first congressional campaign.
20. George H. W. Bush famously vomited on the Japanese Prime Minister, after which a new word entered the Japanese language. Bushusuru means “to do the Bush thing,” or to publicly vomit.
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