George Washington was not the first President of the United States. The first President, John Hanson, was Maryland's representative at the Continental Congress. On November 5, 1781, Hanson, who is considered a black man because of his Moorish background, was elected by the Constitutional Congress to the office of "President of the United States in Congress Assembled." He served for one year and was followed by 6 other Presidents before Washington was elected.

President Grover Cleveland was a draft dodger. He hired someone to enter the service in his place. He was ridiculed by his political opponent, James Blaine, but it was soon discovered that Blaine had done the same thing.

Ulysses S. Grant was convicted of exceeding the speed limit while riding with his horse in the streets of Washington, D.C. late one night. The accusing police officer was reluctant to issue the $20 fine when he realized that the offender was President Grant, but Grant insisted the he be fined.

President Franklin Pierce was arrested during his term as President for running over an old lady with his horse, but the charges were later dropped.

A man named David Rice Atchison was President of the United States for one day and didn't even know it. According to the law at the time, if neither the President nor the Vice President were in office, the President Pro Tem of the Senate (Atchinson) became President. On March 4, 1849, President Polk's term had expired and President-elect Taylor could not yet be sworn in because it was a Sunday. Atchinson did not realize that he had been President for a day until several months later. The law that made Atchinson President for a day has since been changed.

When he was 22, his business failed. When he was 23, he lost a bid for U.S. Congress. When he was 24, he failed in business again. The following year, he was elected to the state legislature. When he was 26, his sweetheart died. At age 27, he had a nervous breakdown. When he was 29, he was defeated for the post of Speaker of the House in the state legislature. When he was 31, he was defeated as Elector. When he was 34, he ran for Congress again and lost. At the age of 37, he ran for Congress yet again and finally won, but two years later he lost his re-election campaign. At the age of 46, he ran for a U.S. Senate seat and lost. The following year he ran for Vice President and lost. Finally, at the age of 51, he was elected President of the United States. Who was this perpetual loser, you ask? Abraham Lincoln.

Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abe Lincoln, was present at the assassinations of three Presidents: his father's, President Garfield's and President McKinley's. After the last shooting, he refused to attend any State affairs. He would not have been present at these events if it hadn't been for the brother of John Wilkes Booth, who saved his life years earlier.(Robert Todd Lincoln, the first child born to President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, spent most of the war years at Harvard College but joined General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant's staff early in 1865. (Library of Congress)

But Edwin Booth and his brother John were not close, chiefly because Edwin was a Unionist and Lincoln supporter while John was a rabid secessionist. Edwin once wrote of his brother: That he was insane on that one point [secession] no one who knew him well can doubt. When I told him that I had voted for Lincoln's reelection he expressed deep regret, and declared his belief that Lincoln would be made king of America; and this, I believe, drove him beyond the limits of reason.

Fate brought Lincoln and Booth together in a train station in Jersey City, N.J., in the midst of the Civil War. At the time Robert was on a holiday from Harvard, traveling from New York to Washington, D.C., while Booth was on his way to Richmond, Va., with his friend, John T. Ford (owner of Ford's Theatre in Washington). The exact date of the encounter is unknown, although Robert consistently recalled it as having occurred in 1863 or 1864.

Robert Lincoln wrote the most succinct account of the incident in a 1909 letter to Richard Watson Gilder, editor of The Century Magazine, who asked him to verify that the episode actually took place:


The incident occurred while a group of passengers were late at night purchasing their sleeping car places from the conductor who stood on the station platform at the entrance of the car. The platform was about the height of the car floor, and there was of course a narrow space between the platform and the car body. There was some crowding, and I happened to be pressed by it against the car body while waiting my turn. In this situation the train began to move, and by the motion I was twisted off my feet, and had dropped somewhat, with feet downward, into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a secure footing on the platform. Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my gratitude to him, and in doing so, called him by name.)

President Garfield could write in Latin with one hand and in Greek with the other... simultaneously!

Thomas Jefferson invented the coat hanger, the hideaway bed, the calendar clock and the dumbwaiter

President James Buchanan was the only bachelor to occupy the Oval Office. His niece, Harriet Lane, played the role of First Lady.

President Washington was the wealthiest man in American at the time of his election as President, but he had to borrow money to attend his inauguration. His enormous wealth was attributed the vast property that he owned which produced almost no cash flow.

John Tyler, who was President from 1841 to 1845, joined the Confederacy twenty years later and became the only President named a sworn enemy of the United States.

President Andrew Jackson believed the world was flat and FDR was so superstitious, that he would never leave town on a Friday and never sit at a table with 13 people.



Edited by vendome (Mon Jan 17 2011 09:00 AM)
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I'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.
Yogi Berra