The Archive

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fun Facts About Some Obscure Presidents

William Henry Harrison is the only president to attend my alma mater, Hampden-Sydney College. In fact, neither of the school's two most famous alumni, the other being Stephen Colbert, graduated from the college. Harrison joined the military and Colbert transferred to Northwestern University.

John Tyler had fifteen children, the most of any president, and was also the only president to be elected to office in the Confederate States of America.

Zachary Taylor voted zero times in his life, even in 1848, the year he was elected.

Millard Fillmore ran as a third party candidate in 1856, earning 21.5% of the popular vote but only winning one state, Maryland. The apparent discrepancy can be attributed in part to the fact that the new Republican Party was not on the ballot in the south, whereas Fillmore was on the ballot in most northern states.

Abraham Lincoln was not a vampire hunter. Nor was he obscure, but it bears repeating: he was not a vampire hunter, and that author should be ashamed.

Rutherford Hayes was president-elect for less than two days, as his election was not official until March 2 due to a painfully close vote and bitter process to determine the winner, and then he took the oath of office on March 3, because March 4, the usual inauguration day from 1793-1933, was a Sunday.

James Garfield served more terms in the House of Representatives than any president ever elected. He was in Congress for nine terms from 1862-1880. Gerald Ford served 12 terms in the House, but was never elected president.

Chester Arthur championed civil service reform as president, after being a spoils system crony of Senator Roscoe Conkling prior to his nomination as vice president.

Benjamin Harrison was the last president with a full beard and the only grandson of a president to become president. He was 7 when his grandfather died in office, and 67 when he became the first president to die in the 20th century, passing away six months prior to the assassination of William McKinley.

You now know more about Benjamin Harrison, and perhaps all of these presidents, than approximately 99.7% of Americans.

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