October 5th, 2016 | Updated on July 13th, 2022
Did you know that Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of the United States, was a tailor before he was President? Or that one of George Washington’s favorite foods was ice cream? These are just two of the interesting facts about past U.S. Scroll through the list to find out more about the fun facts on the U.S. Presidents.
1. George Washington (1789-1797)
Washington was an ultra-successful liquor distributor in the new country. He made rye whiskey, apple brandy and peach brandy in his Mount Vernon distillery.
Also, although there is no record of Washington studying with a dance teacher, rumors suggest that he was a self-taught, superb dancer.
2. Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
Jefferson and John Adams (second President of the U.S.) paid a visit to William Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1786. There, they chipped off a piece from Shakespeare’s chair as a souvenir.
3. James Monroe (1817-1825)
Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, is named after James Monroe. He supported the American Colonization Society in its work to create a home for freed slaves in Liberia.
4. Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
Jackson was involved in as many as 100 duels, most of which were fought to defend the honor of his wife, Rachel. He was shot in the chest in a duel in 1806 and took a bullet in the arm in a bar fight with Missouri Sen. Thomas Hart Benton in 1813.
5. Martin Van Buren (1837-1841)
Van Buren’s nickname was “Old Kinderhook” because he was raised in Kinderhook, N.Y. A popular theory states that the term “O.K.” is derived from the O.K. clubs that sprung up to support his campaign.
6. John Tyler (1841-1845)
John Tyler had 15 children, more than any other president. Two of his grandsons are still alive today.
7. Millard Fillmore (1850-1853)
Millard Fillmore lived the dream of many as a teenage schoolboy. Fillmore’s first wife, Abigail Powers, was his teacher while he was a 19-year-old student at the New Hope Academy in New York.
8. Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)
Franklin Pierce didn’t actually take the oath of office with a Bible. He placed his hand on a law book instead.
9. James Buchannan (1857-1861)
James Buchannan was the only president who never married. He remained single his entire life, but some historians argue that he maintained a long-term relationship with politician William R. King.
10. Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)
Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender. He was the part owner of a saloon in Springfield, Illinois, called Berry and Lincoln.
11. Andrew Johnson (1865-1869)
Andrew Johnson was trained as a tailor, and made his own suits even after becoming president.
12. Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877)
Ulysses S. Grant smoked a ton of cigars — at least 20 a day. After a great military victory at the Battle of Shiloh, citizens sent him more than 10,000 boxes of cigars as gratitude.
He died of throat cancer in 1885.
13. Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881)
Hayes was the only president to be wounded in the Civil War — not once, but four times. Four horses were shot down from beneath him (ouch).
Also, Alexander Graham Bell installed the first White House telephone during Rutherford B. Hayes’ presidency. Its number: One.
And to whom did the commander-in-chief place his first call? Alexander Graham Bell, of course, who was waiting for the call some 13 miles away from the White House. The president’s first words were said to have been, “Please speak more slowly.”
14. James A. Garfield (1881-1881)
Not only was Garfield ambidextrous — he could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other at the same time.
15. Grover Cleveland (1885-1889)
Grover Cleveland’s epithelium, a small tumor that was removed from the roof of his mouth, resides at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia.
16. Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
Teddy Roosevelt was shot in an assassination attempt while delivering a speech in Milwaukee. “I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot,” he told the stunned audience. “I give you my word, I do not care a rap about being shot; not a rap.” He completed the 90-minute speech with the bullet still lodged in his chest.
And Theodore Roosevelt’s mother and first wife, Alice, died on the same day: Valentine’s Day in 1884. “The light has gone out of my life,” he wrote in his journal.
17. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
Woodrow Wilson’s face is on the $100,000 bill, which very few have ever laid hands on. The bills were mainly designed for trade between between Federal Reserve banks, but fell out of use with the invention of the wire transfer. They still work as legal tender, but good luck finding someone who can break the change for you.
18. Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)
Warren Harding enjoyed gambling, and he once allegedly lost an expensive set of White House china in a poker game.
19. Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)
If you thought you had a tough boss, think again. Calvin Coolidge would occasionally press all the buttons in the Oval Office, sending bells ringing throughout the White House — and then hide to watch his staff run in. He just wanted to see who was working.
20. Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Herbert Hoover’s son had two pet alligators, which were occasionally permitted to run loose throughout the White House.
21. Harry S. Truman (1945-1953)
The “S” in Truman’s full name doesn’t stand for anything. His parents couldn’t decide on a middle name for over a month, so they settled on the letter “S” in honor of his maternal grandfather, Solomon Young, and his paternal grandfather, Anderson Shipp Truman.
22. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)
Dwight D. Eisenhower was a qualified and licensed pilot.
23. John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
John F. Kennedy’s own father said he was “careless” and “lacks application” when writing him a recommendation to Harvard. Kennedy was admitted anyway…
Also, JFK was a huge James Bond fan. He first met the author of the series, Ian Fleming, at a dinner party in 1960. They allegedly bounced around ideas about how to get rid of Fidel Castro.
24. Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
Richard Nixon was the first president to visit all 50 states.
And in China, the most well-known Western names are Jesus Christ, Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon.
25. Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
Gerald Ford was once on the cover of “Cosmopolitan” as a model.
26. Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
Jimmy Carter reported seeing a UFO in 1973. He called it “the darndest thing I’ve ever seen.” He was Georgia’s governor at the time.
27. Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
Ronald Reagan was the recipient of the “Most Nearly Perfect Male Figure Award” from the University of California in 1940.
28. George Herbert Walker Bush (1989-1993)
George Bush Sr. inspired a word in Japanese. “Bushusuru” means “to do the Bush thing.” It’s used when someone publicly vomits, as Bush did on the Japanese Prime Minister in 1992.
29. Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
Bill Clinton once aced a My Little Pony quiz on an NPR show.
Also, it wasn’t just Clinton’s southern charm that did it for the ladies. His face is so symmetrical — an important component of human attractiveness — that he ranked in facial symmetry alongside male models.
30. George W. Bush (2001-2009)
George W. Bush was a cheerleader during his senior year of high school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., – the head cheerleader, actually. He also played baseball.
31. Barack Obama (2009- present)
Obama’s high school nickname on the basketball team was “Barry O’Bomber,” which he earned due to his awesome jump shot.
And he collects comic books. His favorites are Spiderman and Conan the Barbarian.