An Interesting Fact about every US President

In the almost 250-year history of the United States of America, there have been 45 men who have been President. In this article, you will learn 46 interesting facts about these Presidents; 1 for each person plus an extra fact for the person who was both 22nd and 24th US President.

1. President George Washington holds the highest possible rank in the United States Army, General of the Armies.

Washington was posthumously given this title in 1976 and is 1 of only 2 people to hold this rank in the US Army, the other being John J. Pershing who was promoted to General of the Armies in 1919.

2. John Adams is the only Founding Father US President to have never owned an enslaved person.
3. Thomas Jefferson died on the 50th anniversary of the ratification of the Declaration of Independence (July 4th, 1826), the exact same day that the 2nd US President, John Adams died.

John Adams’ last words are reported to have been “Thomas Jefferson lives.” not knowing that Jefferson had died a few hours earlier.

4. James Madison is the shortest President in US history, standing at 5ft 4in (1.63m) tall.
A full portrait of President James Madison.
Portrait of James Madison painted by Gilbert Stuart, 1809.
Credit: National Portrait Gallery // Public Domain
5. James Monroe was the last Founding Father of the United States to hold the office of President.
6. John Quincy Adams was the first US President who was the son of a President.

The father of President John Quincy Adams was the 2nd President of the United States, John Adams.

7. Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, was the first to face an assassination attempt.

On January 30th, 1835 a man named Richard Lawrence attempted to shoot President Jackson as he left a congressional funeral but both guns Lawrence had misfired. Jackson fought back, beating Lawrence with his cane until bystanders stepped in.

8. Martin Van Buren is the only President where English was not their first language; Van Buren spoke Dutch as a first language.
Portrait of Martin Van Buren taken after his time as president.
Portrait of Martin Van Buren, circa 1860.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
9. William Henry Harrison is the US President who served the shortest amount of time, dying 32 days into his first term.

William Henry Harrison was also the first President to die in office.

10. John Tyler was the first President who wasn’t elected to office; he was Vice President and succeeded to the presidency upon the death of President William Henry Harrison.
11. James K. Polk was the first person to not have a pet during his time as President of the United States.
Daguerrotype of the south front of the White House
Photograph of the White House taken during James K. Polk’s presidency, 1846.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
12. Zachary Taylor spent 40 years in the military before running for President; and was the first President to be elected who was never previously elected to public office.

16 months into his presidency, Zachary Taylor fell ill and died 5 days later on July 9th, 1865.

13. Millard Fillmore was the last President of the United States who was not a Democrat or Republican.

During his time in office, Millard Fillmore was a member of the Whig Party. William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, and Zachary Taylor also belonged to the Whig Party during their terms as President.

14. Franklin Pierce is the only elected President who, when up for reelection, failed to receive their party’s presidential nomination.
1852 Democratic Poster of Pierce and King
Section of a campaign poster for the successful Franklin Pierce bid to be the 1852 Democratic presidential nominee.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
15. James Buchanan was the first US President who was a bachelor, and the only President to remain a bachelor his whole life.
16. Abraham Lincoln was the first US President who was born outside of the original states that made up the Thirteen Colonies.

President Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky which, on June 1st, 1792, became the 15th state to be admitted to the Union.

17. Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States, never attended school and was taught to read and write by a tailor named James J. Selby.
18. According to President Ulysses S. Grant himself, the “S.” in his name did not actually stand for anything.

In a letter to his wife dated March 31st, 1853, in reference to his second son Ulysses S. Grant Jr., he wrote “What does the S stand for in Ulys.’s name? In mine you know it does not stand for anything!”

19. President Rutherford B. Hayes was wounded on four occasions during his time with the Union Army in the American Civil War.
President Rutherford B. Hayes photographed wearing his military uniform during the American Civil War.
Rutherford B. Hayes in Union Army uniform, 1861.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
20. James A. Garfield was the first left-handed President of the United States; he was ambidextrous and it was said that he could write a sentence in Latin and Greek at the same time using each hand.

Since Garfield, there have been 7 other US Presidents who were left-handed (Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.)

21. Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States, did not have a Vice President for the entirety of his term in office.

Until the 25th Amendment was ratified in 1967, there was no mechanism in the Constitution to fill a vacancy in the Vice Presidency during a presidential term. As Arthur succeeded to the Presidency due to Garfield’s assassination, he was not able to select a new Vice President to replace him.

22. When up for reelection, Grover Cleveland won the popular vote by 90,000 votes but lost the Electoral College by 65 votes so he failed in his attempt to remain US President.
Grover Cleveland, full-length portrait, standing, facing right, holding hat
Grover Cleveland, 1888.
Credit: Library of Congress // Public Domain
23. Benjamin Harrison was the first US President to have his voice recorded.
24. Grover Cleveland is the only US President to have served two non-consecutive terms.
25. President William McKinley had a pet double yellow-headed Amazon parrot named Washington Post that could sing the tune of Yankee Doodle.
26. Theodore Roosevelt is the youngest President in US history. When William McKinley was assassinated, Roosevelt succeeded to the office and became President of the United States at the age of 42 years and 322 days.
William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt standing on step of porch together in circa 1900
William McKinley (left) and Theodore Roosevelt (right) photographed together, circa 1900.
Credit: Library of Congress // Public Domain
27. William Howard Taft is the only person to have served as both President of the United States and Chief Justice of the United States.

As Chief Justice, William Howard Taft swore in Presidents Calvin Coolidge (2nd inauguration) and Herbert Hoover at their inaugurations.

28. Woodrow Wilson is the only President to hold a Ph.D. He earned his degree in political science from Johns Hopkins University.
29. Warren G. Harding, 29th President of the United States, won the 1920 presidential election on his 55th birthday (November 2nd, 1920).
30. Calvin Coolidge was sworn in by his own father, John Calvin Coolidge Sr., who was a notary public and justice of the peace.

Upon hearing the news of Warren G. Harding’s death, the presidential oath of office, which is usually administered by the Chief Justice of the United States, was promptly administered to Coolidge by his father at around 2:30 a.m. in his childhood home in Vermont.

31. 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, attended the prestigious Stanford University when it admitted its first students in October 1891.
Portrait of Herbert Hoover, age 23, taken in Perth, Australia, 1898
Young Herbert Hoover in Perth, Australia, 1898.
Credit: Library of Congress // Public Domain
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only person to serve more than two terms as President of the United States; he served three full terms in office, and died almost 3 months into his fourth term.

Prior to Franklin D. Roosevelt, it was tradition but not law that a sitting President would not run for reelection after two terms. After FDR, the 22nd Amendment was ratified which added the two-term limit to the US Constitution.

33. Harry S. Truman was the first US President who was a veteran of the First World War.
34. The presidential retreat known as “Camp David” is named after the grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
David Eisenhower (age 12), grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, poses with Camp David sign
David Eisenhower posing with the Camp David sign, October 1960.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
35. John F. Kennedy is the only President of the United States to have won a Pulitzer Prize.

JFK was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 for his book “Profiles in Courage” which told the stories of 8 US Senators who risked their careers by taking unpopular stands.

36. Lyndon B. Johnson almost died during the Second World War. He had to disembark from the Wabash Cannonball, a B-26 bomber, in order to go to the bathroom. He ended up joining the crew of another bomber aircraft and the Wabash Cannonball was shot down during the mission with a total loss of life.
37. Richard Nixon was the first US President to visit all 50 US states while in office.
38. In his 28 years in public office, the only time Gerald Ford lost an election was his unsuccessful attempt to remain President of the United States.

Prior to becoming Vice President in 1973, Gerald Ford spent 24 years as the Member of the US House of Representatives from Michigan’s 5th district. He won his first-ever election in 1948 and won reelection 12 times in a row.

39. At the age of 98, Jimmy Carter is the United States’ longest-lived President, living longer than any other US President by more than 4 years.
40. During his acting career, President Ronald Reagan appeared in at least 81 films and television shows.
Publicity photograph for the General Electric Theater anthology series in which the host of the show, Ronald Reagan, is photographed sitting in the director's chair.
Ronald Reagan sitting in the General Electric Theater director’s chair, 1950s.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
41. President George H. W. Bush was the captain of the Yale Bulldogs baseball team at the inaugural College World Series in 1947.

The Yale Bulldogs lost the series to the California Golden Bears. George H. W. Bush also captained the team in the 1948 College World Series, also losing this in a best-of-three-game series to the USC Trojans baseball team.

42. Bill Clinton’s father, William Jefferson Blythe Jr., died in a car accident three months before the 42nd President of the United States was born.

Named after his father, William Jefferson Blythe III had used the last name of his stepfather Roger Clinton for most of his youth, and officially changed his name to William Jefferson Clinton when he was 15 years old.

43. George W. Bush is the only US President to have twins – Barbara and Jenna.
George W. and Laura Bush with their daughters Jenna and Barbara, 1990
George W. Bush and Laura Bush with their twin daughters Jenna (left) and Barbara (right), 1990.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
44. President Barack Obama has been nominated for 3 Grammy Awards, winning 2 of them.
45. In 2007, Donald Trump competed against Vince McMahon in a hair vs. hair “Battle of the Billionaires” match at WWE Wrestlemania 23.

Trump was victorious and shaved the head of Vince McMahon after the match.

46. Joe Biden is the oldest President to ever be sworn into office. He was 78 years and 61 days old on the day of his inauguration.

RELATED ARTICLE: Photos of US Presidents meeting each other


If you want to support HistoryColored further, consider donating! When donating to us, you are providing us with funding to provide higher quality content on a more regular basis!

Related Posts

The Great Molasses Flood of 1919

A molasses flood occurred in North End, Boston on January 15th, 1919 when a huge tank holding molasses spontaneously exploded.

Sign Up to the HistoryColored Newsletter!

Leave a Comment

More Posts from HistoryColored