Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Presidents' Day

In honor of Presidents' Day, I share with you some of my favorite quirky little stories about the United States presidents.

John Quincy Adams made an early-morning habit of swimming naked in the Potomoc River.  
At Andrew Jackson's First Inauguration party in the White House, the mob of visitors got so wild and out of control that the White House staff had to move the punch bowls to the front yard in order to get them all to leave the house.
William Henry Harrison was the first president to die in office and still the record-holder for the shortest presidency. He lasted only thirty days in office, dying of complications from a cold that some say he caught while giving his inaugural speech in the rain.

After William Henry Harrison's death, John Tyler became the first vice-president to take over the presidency. The story goes that when he got the news of his big promotion, he was on his knees playing marbles with some of his 15 children.
Franklin Pierce suffers a reputation for being one of the worst presidents in history; he made some bad political decisions and he was a drunk. But he also suffered unspeakable tragedy, when just weeks before becoming president, he was in a terrible train wreck with his family and saw his only surviving son decapitated before his eyes.

Chester A. Arthur was a bit of a dandy who owned more than 80 pairs of pants and liked to change them several times a day .

Before he became president, Theodore Roosevelt lost his first wife and his mother to death on the same day, in the same house. In his diary for that day, he made a big red X and wrote, "The light has gone out of my life." Poor Teddy.

Another "Worst President" contender, Warren G. Harding died suddenly while traveling as president with his wife. While the official cause of death was congestive heart failure, some speculated that his wife poisoned him due to his repeated affairs, reports of an illegitimate child, and other scandalous business. 

 Dwight D. Eisenhower was a five-star general in the United States Army and during World War II, he served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. He also liked to make chicken soup. Go figure.

And of course, this list will not be complete without my favorite president of all time, TJ!

Thomas Jefferson was a Renaissance man extraordinaire.  Not only author of the Declaration of Independence, founder of the University of Virginia, and third President of the United States, he was an architect, agriculturalist, inventor, diplomat, naturalist and much more. Despite his status as a slaveholder and public stances about the inferiority of the African race, scholars believe that as a widower, he had a long-term relationship with one of his slaves. A fascinating, complex man.

All photos courtesy of Wikipedia.
P.S. If you have a taste for more quirky facts, and don't mind some R-rated humor, check this out:  

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