Getting to Know the Presidents

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Most know our first President was George Washington, but do you know how many years he lived in the White House? Since the White House was completed in the term of John Adam’s, the successor of George Washington, President Washington never lived in the White House! Has any President not been born a U.S. Citizen? As the first birther issue, not just one, but seven – including Washington, John and John Quincy Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Jackson – were all birthed in the British Colonies before there was a United States of America.

Almost miraculously, the deaths of two great Presidents and life-long adversaries in politics occurred on the same day – July 4,1826. Both had long and incredibly productive lives as John Adams was 90 while Thomas Jefferson was 83 at passing. John Adams last words stated with remorse and frustration, though in error were, “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” Unknown to Adams, Jefferson had died shortly before. President James Monroe also passed on the 4th of July, but in 1831; while Calvin Coolidge is the only President born on the 4th of July.

The President who carried the most weight was President Grover Cleveland at more than 300 pounds! In contrast, the smallest was James Madison at 5’4” tall and under 100 pounds, while Lincoln was tallest at 6’4” – without his stovepipe hat!

Many know the two Father and son Presidential combinations of John Adams and John Quincy Adams plus Herbert Walker and George W. Bush. But who is the only grandfather–grandson team in the oval office? Did you say William H. and Benjamin Harrison? I doubt it! The shortest term in office was William H. Harrison who died in 1841 of pneumonia just 31 days after taking office.

Harrison contracted pneumonia when he insisted on walking in the rain to visit with the people during his inaugural parade, instead of riding in an enclosed carriage! The first President on television was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, but televisions were scarce and radio was the primary source of speaking to the nation with the crackling noise of a warm fire in the background. Fireside chats still occur in the oval office where Presidents speak to the nation in an environment of hot air!

Do you remember President Leslie Lynch King, Jr.? You may have known him as President Gerald R. Ford who was adopted as an infant by his mother’s new husband, Gerald R. Ford, Sr., with his recorded birth name changed from Leslie Lynch King, Jr. to Gerald R. Ford at the time! President Ford is the only person never elected as either President or Vice President.

Ford ascended to the Presidency after both President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned and, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, he was next in line for the highest office in the land. Presidents often retire to Camp David for meetings, rest and relaxation, but who was David? The answer is David Eisenhower II, the grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

President Eisenhower changed the name which to that time had been designated as, “Shangri-La”. Thanks Ike! As to age, who was the youngest U. S. President at the time of inauguration? If you stated Barack Obama you are five years late, as Theodore Roosevelt at 42 is the youngest while Ronald Reagan was the oldest at 69.

Obama was 47 while Bill Clinton was 46, John F. Kennedy 43, Abraham Lincoln 52 and George Washington 53. Lyndon Johnson is the only President ever sworn in to office on an airplane due to urgency after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. President Johnson was also the only President to date and probably the last to often conduct staff meetings while on the john! Skype thankfully was not yet invented!

As to the most child productive President, the prize goes to James Tyler with 15 kids! Rutherford B. Hayes was the first President with a telephone (about 1880) and the telephone number “1.” President Jimmy Carter is the only President who has reported seeing a UFO. None have publicly claimed to have been aboard a UFO.

President Barack Obama is the first President with an African-American heritage; also known for most constant teleprompter usage and expensive vacations. In contrast, 14th President Franklin Pierce is the only President who memorized and flawlessly delivered his inaugural address; a speech of 3,319 words and William Harrison never spent a nickel on vacations since he had none during his 31 days as President.

Frankly Speaking, the Presidency continues to survive beyond the individual in the office, with each and every one sworn in to serve all citizens of this great nation. Our prayers and hopes are whoever is elected succeeds to make this one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all!

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