George Washington (1789 to 1797)
When he was inaugurated as the first President of the United States on 30th April 1789, George Washington only had one natural tooth. He had dentures, and there’s a popular myth that they were made of wood. This is false. They were actually made from a combination of materials, including bone and lead, all held together with brass screws and gold wire. The reason people think they were made of wood was because his false teeth were stained with dark wine, which he had a fondness for.
John Adams (1797 to 1801)
Before being elected America’s second president in 1796, John Adams was best friends with Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the Declaration of Independence.
Jefferson was elected as Adams’ Vice President, but ran against him in the 1800 presidential election, during which both men developed a hate for each other. Adams said that a potential Jefferson presidency would have extremely negative effects on the United States.
They both reconciled in their old age, and ironically died on the same day (4th July 1826), which, coincidently, was the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Jefferson (1801 to 1809)
James Madison (1809 to 1817)
James Madison, the fourth President, was the shortest person to hold the office. He stood at 5’4”, and weighed just over 100 pounds.
James Monroe (1817 to 1825)
At the end of his first term as President, Monroe ran unopposed for a second term. This is something that has only happened one other time, when George Washington was elected for a second term in 1792.
Monroe died on 4th July 1831, fifty-five years after the Declaration of the Independence was signed. He was the last surviving Founding Father.
John Quincy Adams (1825 to 1829)
The sixth President was the son of the second, and had a morning ritual of skinny dipping in the Potomac River.
Andrew Jackson (1829 to 1837)
Rumour has it that Jackson, the seventh President, taught his pet parrot how to curse.
Martin Van Buren (1837 to 1841)
Van Buren is the first President to have been born in the U.S.
He had lots of nicknames, including “Sly Fox” because of his prowess as a politician.
William Henry Harrison (1841)
Harrison holds the record for delivering the longest inauguration speech to date. It was 8,445 words, and took ninety minutes to deliver in full. His inauguration was held on a wet, cold day, and he subsequently fell sick and died thirty-three days later.
John Tyler (1841 to 1845)
Tyler was Harrison’s Vice President. He paved the way for the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that the Vice President is first in the line of succession if a President dies during their term. After Harrison died from sickness, he persuaded everyone that he should just become President.
He’s perhaps the most hated President. His own party expelled him while he was in office, and his whole cabinet resigned because they didn’t agree with his policies. On top of this, he is the first President to face impeachment.
James K. Polk (1845 to 1849)
Polk banned alcohol, card games, and dancing at the White House. What a party pooper!
Zachary Taylor (1849 to 1850)
While celebrating the Fourth of July, Taylor ate some cherries and drank iced milk to wash them down. There must’ve been bad bacteria in either the cherries or the milk, because he fell gravely ill and died a few days later.
Millard Fillmore (1850 to 1853)
There’s not much to say about Fillmore, except that he married his schoolteacher.
Franklin Pierce (1853 to 1857)
Pierce was an unpopular President, to the point where his party didn’t renominate him for a second term. When he left office, he said: “There is nothing left to do but get drunk”. I bet some people can relate to this statement.
James Buchanan (1857 to 1861)
Buchanan is the only President so far to have been a bachelor while in office.
There was speculation about his sexuality though. It arose from his close relationship with Alabama Senator William Rufus King. The two of them lived together for over ten years, despite each having enough money to own their own homes. But it was never confirmed if they were a couple – they could’ve just been very close friends!
Abraham Lincoln (1861 to 1865)
Well-known for freeing the slaves, Lincoln is less known for being a really good wrestler – he won about 299 matches!
Andrew Johnson (1865 to 1869)
Johnson was the first President to be subject to an impeachment trial; he was acquitted at the end of it.
In his younger days, he was an indentured servant to a tailor. The skills he learned during his time with the tailor were put to good use: he made all his own suits while in the White House.
Ulysses S. Grant (1869 to 1877)
Grant couldn’t stand the sight of blood, which is ironic because he’s well-known for being the Commanding General during the Civil War.
Rutherford B. Hayes (1877 to 1881)
Hayes was the victor of one of the most disputed presidential elections in U.S. history. He lost the popular vote by 250,000, but won the Electoral College by a single vote.
He was known as “Granny Hayes” because he didn’t drink, smoke, or gamble.
James A. Garfield (1881)
Garfield was ambidextrous and could write in Greek with one hand and in Latin with the other at the same time. What an incredible skill set!
Chester A. Arthur (1881 to 1885)
Arthur owned an elaborate wardrobe. He had over 80 pairs of pants! This earned him the nickname “Elegant Arthur”.
Grover Cleveland (1885 to 1889, 1893 to 1897)
Cleveland is the only person so far to have been elected President for two non-consecutive terms. This means he’s ranked as both the twenty-second and twenty-fourth President.
Cleveland was the legal guardian of his friend’s orphaned daughter, and he ended up marrying her. Bit creepy, but whatever floats your boat, I guess.
Part of his jaw was made of vulcanised rubber.
Benjamin Harrison (1889 to 1893)
Benjamin was the grandson of William Henry Harrison.
He was called the “Human Iceberg” because he was stiff with people.
But this stiffness was probably just anxiety. Electricity was installed in the White House while he was President, and he was scared of being electrocuted to the point where he refused to touch the light switches. So he always went to bed with the lights on.
William McKinley (1897 to 1901)
McKinley wore carnations everywhere because he considered them his good luck charm. On 6th September 1901, he gave a girl the carnation he was wearing on his lapel. He was shot shortly after, and died the following week.