From assassination attempts to sitcom cameos, the life of an American president is never boring. Many of them had unique ways of unwinding, like golfing on the White House lawn, playing musical instruments, or enjoying a strong drink. Read on to find out more interesting, unusual facts about each president.
Contrary to , the first president did not in fact wear wooden teeth. Instead, his dentures were made of human and cow teeth, ivory, and metal. However, the president was fond of very dark wines, which may have stained his dentures, giving them the appearance of being wooden.
on July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Coincidentally, Thomas Jefferson, his former vice president who later became his bitter political rival, died on the same day. were reportedly "Thomas Jefferson survives," but Jefferson had actually passed away a few hours earlier.
Jefferson accomplished quite a lot in his lifetime. When it came time to plan his , he requested that three things be put on it — and his presidency didn't even make the cut! Instead, he wanted to be remembered as: "Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom and Father of the University of Virginia."
The fourth president of the United States was . He was only 5'4" and weighed about 100 pounds. And it probably didn't help that , having been described by various physicians as "fragile" for most of his life.
Long before the Summer of Love, there was the Era of Good Feelings. had one of the most peaceful presidencies, as he tried to create a more unified country in the wake of the War of 1812. And it apparently worked — the time period during his presidency became known as the "" and he was re-elected without opposition in 1820.
We can imagine there would be quite the controversy if any of our modern presidents went skinny-dipping in the Potomac River. But that's exactly what as part of his daily routine. According to his journal, he regularly took a long walk and a dip in the river early in the morning before returning home for breakfast.
We're used to seeing his face on the $20 bill, but ironically, . He only trusted silver and gold, and he even shut down Second Bank of the United States partially because of its ability to manipulate paper money.
Van Buren was the , to parents who had immigrated from the Netherlands to Kinderhook, New York. He was born in 1782, six years after the colonists had declared their independence from Britain.
, lasting only one month. He famously did not wear a coat to his inauguration, where he gave a lengthy 90-minute speech. This likely caused him to fall ill with pneumonia, though it was later theorized that he may have also been suffering from deadly .
To say John Tyler was not particularly well-liked is an understatement. When he died in 1862, his obituary in the called him "the most unpopular public man that had ever held any office in the United States." Yikes. It probably didn't help that he was considered when he died, having recently been elected to the Congress of the Confederacy.
Polk's devout Presbyterian wife, Sarah, in the White House during her time as first lady, making for a very dull celebration.
In 1848, Taylor had no idea the the Wig Party chose him as their nomination for president. Apparently, , and when he refused to pay for it, he ended up going weeks without knowing the good news.
Fillmore and his wife, Abigail, were definitely book-lovers. They , and Fillmore personally helped fight a fire that destroyed parts of the Library of Congress in 1851. He later signed a bill to fund the replacement of all the books that had been destroyed.
Though presidents before him had been known to have a drink now and again, Pierce was one of the . As he was leaving office, he reportedly said to a friend "There is nothing left to do but get drunk."
Buchanan is the only president to , though he was engaged to a woman at one point. There was much speculation about his personal life, including that he was in a secret relationship with Alabama Senator William Rufus King.
The story of Abraham Lincoln's assassination is widely known. But few people are aware that several hours before his death, Lincoln , which is now responsible for protecting the president's life. However, it probably wouldn't have helped Lincoln: the original purpose wasn't to protect the president, but rather to investigate counterfeit money.
Though many presidents came from elite, well-educated backgrounds, did not. His mother sent him to work as an indentured servant when he was a child, though he and his brother later escaped. He never had a formal education, but his wife, Eliza, helped him learn to read and write.
His birth name was Hiram Ulysses Grant, but due to a mistake made on his West Point application, he became Ulysses S. Grant. His middle initial doesn't stand for anything, but , "Find some name beginning with 'S' for me."
Hayes had a presidency full of "firsts," including the first in 1878. He had when a group of children approached him and asked about the possibility of an Easter egg roll on the South Lawn of the White House. Hayes liked the idea, and it continues to be a tradition today.
Though his presidency only lasted 81 days, Garfield sticks out in many people's minds for being . Apparently, he was also the first ambidextrous president.
While it may not seem like a lot for a president today, , which was quite the extravagance for the time period. Other luxuries he enjoyed: a personal valet, a White House decorated by renowned artist Louis Comfort Tiffany, and placed in front of his deceased wife's portrait daily.
is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms, as the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. He won his first election by a very narrow margin, lost the 1888 election to Benjamin Harrison, and then came back in 1892 by winning the popular vote.
and his wife Caroline were the first occupants of the White House to enjoy the wonders of electricity. But as it was a new technology, the couple was afraid of being electrocuted by the light switch and so they regularly left the lights on all day and night.
's reaction to being shot is unlike anything you've ever heard. He was shot in the torso by an anarchist in 1901 in a receiving line, and as they took him away, he said "don't let them hurt him," referring to a mob that was forming around the would-be assassin. He later said the shooter was "some poor misguided fellow," and "he didn't know, poor fellow, what he was doing. He couldn't have known."
Teddy Roosevelt was one tough guy. Need proof? He was shortly before giving a campaign speech in 1912, but instead of heading straight to the hospital, he stayed there to give his planned speech — with the bullet still lodged in his body.
Popular legend would have you believe that Taft is best known for being the president who got stuck in a White House bathtub, but that's . However, he did have an embarrassing bathtub incident at a hotel in New Jersey. The bath water displaced by his body flooded the floor in his room and trickled onto the heads of guests in the downstairs dining room.
Although Wilson was obviously used to public speaking, he was reportedly very anxious about giving his the , where he honored the anniversary of Armistice Day and outlined a vision for America
Legend has it that Harding's mother wanted to name him Winfield, but when she didn't get her way, she found a loophole by Some folks also called him "Sonny."
Sometimes a person's birthday seems unusually significant. Case in point: . But you probably wouldn't see him getting too wild and crazy at his birthday party – he was notoriously quiet, earning the nickname "Silent Cal."
Previous presidents were all born in the Eastern part of the county, but of the Mississippi. He grew up the very small town of in West Branch, Iowa, and reportedly never even crossed the Mississippi until he was 22 years old.
FDR certainly liked to keep it in the family. He and his wife Eleanor were actually . They could both trace their lineage back to the same Dutch immigrant who had moved to America in the 1640s. However, FDR and Eleanor were fifth cousins, once removed, so it was a very distant relation.
Like Ulysses S. Grant before him, doesn't really stand for anything. Supposedly, his parents both wanted to name him after separate relatives whose names began with S., and they compromised by just giving him the middle initial.
took his golf game seriously. He had a putting green installed near the Oval Office, but was frustrated by squirrels digging up the green, so he ordered them to be shot. Wisely, groundskeepers did not shoot them but rather caught and released them in a nearby park.
Many aspects of JFK's life have been analyzed through popular books, movies, and other media. But one thing that's often not mentioned is that while he was in office, he to charity. He made more than enough money through his family's trusts, so he didn't particularly need the income.
When shortly after Kennedy's assassination, it was notable for several reasons. He's the only president to ever be sworn in on an airplane, and the only one to be sworn in by a woman, Judge Sarah T. Hughes. Also notable was the fact the Jackie Kennedy stood by his side for the swearing-in, with blood still on her coat.
While he certainly isn't known as the best politician, he is known for his many other talents outside of the Oval Office. Nixon knew had to play five instruments, was an avid bowler, and a huge football fan.
Ford could have taken a very different path as a NFL player instead of a politician. When he graduated from the University of Michigan in 1935, , but turned them both down to study law and coach football.
is probably one of the few presidents whose post-presidency accomplishments are more recognized than when he was president. Since leaving office in 1981, he's won a Nobel Peace Prize, built homes for needy families, and written 28 books.
Although behind to pursue politics, Hollywood certainly left a mark on him. He was partially deaf in one ear thanks to an accident on a movie set where a gun went off next to his head. He had also married actress Jane Wyman, but the pair divorced in 1948, making him the first president to enter office with a divorce.
Bush surprised his friends and family in 2013 when he decided to shave his head (for a very sweet reason). The son of one of his Secret Service guards was diagnosed with leukemia. Bush told , "A lot of the agents shaved their head ... I said, 'Well why not me?' It was the right thing to do."
is unique for a couple of reasons. In addition to being the son of a former president, Bush is the only president to have twins. He and Laura Bush are parents to twin girls Jenna and Barbara, who are now 36 years old.
Long, long before becoming president or even senator, . Sounds sweet, but the former president said it actually made him dislike ice cream. Instead, he prefers chocolate-peanut protein bars or caramels.
These days, most of us are used to seeing Donald Trump on our screens. But he's no newbie to television: In addition to The Apprentice, in a slew of television shows and movies in the '90s, including Home Alone, The Nanny, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.