Presidential Fun Facts

President’s Day is coming this Monday and although most of us just recognize it as having a long weekend, a day off of work and some great deals happening in stores, what’s the real reason the holiday came into existence?

The origin of Presidents’ Day lies in the 1880s, when the birthday of Washington was first celebrated as a federal holiday. Actually, the holiday was proposed for the third Monday in February in honor of both Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays and today is sometimes understood as a celebration of the birthdays and lives of all U.S. presidents.

So now that we know the real meaning behind President’s Day, let’s take a look at some fun presidential facts to know on this holiday, just in case you happen to go to trivia this President’s Day-or you just want to sound smarter than all your friends.

  • July 4th a curse for President’s?- In the history of America, three presidents have died on July 4. On July 4, 1826, John Adams, the second U.S. president, and Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, died within hours of each other on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The nation’s fifth president, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831. 
  • 32 Days- As president, William Henry Harrison served the shortest term with 32 days in office – after presenting his Inaugural Address on March 4, 1841. It was noted as being the longest Presidential Inaugural Address in history with 8,445 words.  Harrison died after less than four weeks into his presidency. 
  • Most terms served- Franklin Delano Roosevelt is the only president to have served more than two terms. He served a full third term and was re-elected for a fourth term.  After winning his fourth term on Nov. 7, 1944, FDR died on April 12, 1945, six months into his fourth and final term as president.
  • World Record For Handshakes- Theodore Roosevelt (#26) set what was then the world record for the most handshakes in one day with 8,513 handshakes at a White House reception on January 1, 1907. 
  • Jack of all Trades- Reagan worked as a lifeguard and sportscaster before becoming an actor and, later, a politician. 
  • Seances in the White House- Abraham Lincoln attended séances at the White House. Lincoln’s wife, Mary Lincoln, became interested in séances after their young son Willie died in 1862. At the White House, she engaged mediums, who conducted “spirit circles” or ceremonies during which those who attended could communicate with their loved ones who had crossed over into the next world. Mary was eager to believe in these mediums as it made her loss somewhat bearable, and she encouraged the president to attend a few séances, which he did.
  • Lincoln’s Hair?- Theodore Roosevelt wore a lock of Lincoln’s hair during his inauguration. Roosevelt had been a long-time admirer of Lincoln and  when he met John Hay, who had worked for Lincoln in the White House. Hay and Roosevelt talked about Lincoln often, and Hay gave Roosevelt the ring, knowing that Roosevelt would treasure it.
  • Kitties- “Tabby” and “Dixie” are said to be the first cats to live at the White House thanks to Abraham Lincoln
  • In Trouble with the Law- Ulysses S. Grant, was given a $20 speeding ticket for riding his horse and buggy too fast down a street in Washington, D.C.

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