Image by carljohnson via Flickr
In honor of Presidents’ Day, our generation’s way of efficiently ignoring our country’s heritage of leadership by lumping two national heroes together, I thought I’d share with you some little-known presidential facts.
- James A. Garfield never wore a tie. His assassination, often ascribed to a crazed anarchist, was in fact a calculated commission by the cravat cabal.
- William Howard Taft was the only William Howard Taft ever to become president.
- Franklin Pierce, although he came from New Hampshire, was the first future U.S. president to be born in the nineteenth century.
- Chester Alan Arthur, buried right here in Menands, despised Martin Van Buren for being buried right here in Kinderhook. He also never hugged his mother.
- Benjamin Franklin was the only president of the United States who was never president of the United States.
- Millard Fillmore ran a small tailoring shop in the East Wing of the White House to supplement his income and, as he put it, “to keep my hand in.”
- James Buchanan, who allowed the Confederate secession and the loss of Federal arsenals, forts and troops, often referred to himself as “the worst president in history.”
- Calvin Coolidge enjoyed riding with the top down.
- William Henry Harrison had no idea who “Tippecanoe” was, and John Tyler flatly refused to tell him.
- Although historians and academics rarely acknowledge it, both Washington and Lincoln traditionally bought new bedding on their birthdays. Combining their birhdays into a single Federal holiday was meant to put an end to the Mattress Wars and ease the consciences of loyal Americans who fretted over which president to honor with a new mattress purchase.
- There was no 24th president.