Yearly Challenges Weird Facts About Presidents of the United States
Weird Facts About Presidents of the United States
Duration: June 1, 2018-May 31, 2019
Level One: 5-15 tasks
Level Two: 16-30 tasks
Level Three: 31-45 tasks
1. George Washington (1789-1797)
Weird fact: Washington's teeth weren't made of wood.
Contrary to popular belief, George Washington's teeth weren't wooden after all. Rather, his dentures comprised a peculiar combination of animal teeth, brass screws, lead, gold wire, hippopotamus ivory, and even bone.
👨 Read a book where a character has false teeth OR with teeth on the cover (Please post the cover.) OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1789-1797.
Wedding Bells Bundle: Four Fun Romantic Comedies Ginny Baird 6/8/18
2. John Adams (1797-1801)
Weird fact: Adams damaged Shakespeare's chair.
Once upon a time, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were best buds until political rivalry ensued. During the beginning stages of their friendship, the two traveled to Shakespeare’s residence in England where they chipped off a piece of one of Shakespeare’s chairs. Why? To have a little souvenir from one of the world’s most renowned poets and playwrights.
👨 Read a book with two best friends as the major characters OR where a character takes/buys souvenirs OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1797-1801.
3. Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
Weird fact: Jefferson was passionate about meteorology.
Thomas Jefferson could have been a meteorologist had the gig as president fell through. He recorded the temperature in his personal meteorological journal twice a day, once in the early morning and once in the late afternoon. Jefferson not only observed temperature ranges and disparities, he also tracked precipitation patterns.
👨 Read a book where a character is a meteorologist OR from Seasons and Weather in Titles OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1801-1809.
4. James Madison (1809-1817)
Weird fact: Madison had many financial troubles after his presidency.
Despite a successful presidency, Madison endured quite a few financial setbacks. Upon retirement, Madison took up wheat and tobacco farming in Montpelier, Virginia. However, poor weather conditions, an invasion of destructive bugs, and market prices slashed his profits. His stepson, who racked up a mountain of debt from gambling and alcohol expenses, further drained Madison's financial resources.
👨 Read a book where a character has financial problems OR with a character who is a gambler or alcoholic OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1809-1817 .
A Moment to Love Jennifer Faye 6/8/18
5. James Monroe (1817-1825)
Weird fact: Monroe traveled from Paris, France to Madrid, Spain by mule.
As special envoy to Spain, Monroe traveled there in 1805 in an attempt to persuade Spain to cede the territory of what is now present-day Florida to the United States. He made his journey from Paris to Madrid in a unconventional way -- by mule. Unfortunately, not even his arrival by mule could win over the Spanish.
👨 Read a book with a character who is a politician OR where a character travels to a foreign country OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1817-1825.
A Nantucket Wedding Nancy Thayer 6/4/18
6. John Quincy Adams (1825-1829)
Weird fact: Adams skinny dipped in the Potomac River daily.
This early-19th century president didn’t mind going for a dip in the Potomac River buck naked. As weird and out of the ordinary as it sounds today -- especially for a person of such great political importance -- it was a common way to bathe in rivers during that era. Evidently, a female gossip columnist sat on his clothes during one of his morning dips, and she refused to give them to him until he agreed to an interview.
👨 Read a book where a character finagles an interview OR where a character skinny dips OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1825-1829.
7. Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
Weird fact: Jackson killed a man during a fight.
Andrew Jackson may just be the most violent presidents of all time. Born in 1767 in the backcountry of what would now be one of the Carolinas, Jackson turned out to be a very intelligent, yet terribly insecure man. He often participated in fights, and in one such instance, he killed a man in a duel for insulting his wife Rachel.
👨 Read a book where a character gets into a fight OR set in the Carolinas OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1829-1837.
More Than Him Jay McLean 6/1/18
8. Martin Van Buren (1837-1841)
Weird fact: Martin Van Buren is accredited for the phrase OK.
Have you ever thought about the origin of some common-day idioms? The origin of "OK" derives from the reelection campaign for Martin Van Buren in 1840. Buren had adopted the nickname, Old Kinderhook simply because he was born in Kinderhook, New York. His supporters used to shorten the name to OK during rallies -- and the rest is history.
👨 Read a book by an author who has three names OR where a character has a weird nickname (Tell us the nickname.) OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1837-1841.
(Rig) Wishes and Stitches Rachael Herron 6/5/18
9. William Henry Harrison (1841)
Weird fact: Harrison gave the longest inauguration speech.
William Henry Harrison gave the longest inauguration speech to date, estimated to be over 8,000 words long. Harrison delivered the speech in horrible weather conditions, which is believed to be the reason why he fell ill and died about a month after his inauguration. The speech lasted over 90 minutes nonstop. For reference, a typical inaugural speech has lasted anywhere between 30 minutes to one hour at most.
👨 Read a book where a character gets sick and dies OR where a character gives a speech OR with a page count that contains ONE of these numbers 1841.
Two Sisters Mary Hogan 6/10/18
10. John Tyler (1841-1845)
Weird fact: Tyler, who was born in 1790, still has two living grandchildren.
Born nearly 230 years ago, the 10th president of the United States has two still living grandchildren. Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. and Harrison Ruffin Tyler were born in 1924 and 1928, respectively. John Tyler fathered 15 children during his life, including Harrison’s father, when John Tyler was 63. Similarly, Harrison’s father had Harrison much later in life at 75.
👨 Read a book where a major character has grandchildren OR where a character becomes a parent in middle age OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1841-1845.
11. James K. Polk (1845-1849)
Weird fact: Polk banned fun activities from the White House.
James Polk and his wife did not go down in history for being the life of the party. In fact, they were quite the opposite. Together, the two banned alcohol, card playing, and dancing from the White House.
👨 Read a book where a character does not know how to have fun OR by an author that uses a middle initial OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1845-1849.
12. Zachary Taylor (1849-1850)
Weird fact: Taylor, and 15 men, put a fire out caused by 600 Indians.
Taylor’s days in the earthly realm may have ended much earlier had the fire that a reported 600 Indians set off during the War of 1812 would have entrapped him. The fire happened in the middle of the night, when Taylor and 15 men were camping. Somehow, they were able to band together and extinguish the fire before the flames could get to them.
👨 Read a book where a character is a fire fighter OR where the characters go camping OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1849-1850.
How to Knit a Heart Back Home Rachael Herron 6/6/18
13. Millard Fillmore (1850-1853)
Weird fact: Fillmore did not have a vice president during his term.
Millard Fillmore, who became president upon the death of Zachary Taylor, did not have a vice president. Fillmore was the first of four presidents to serve without a vice president. At the time, the Constitution did not include a provision for replacing vice presidents who had died or departed from duty. That would not happen until 1967, when the 25th Amendment was ratified that allowed a president to appoint a vice president, with the approval of Congress.
👨 Read a standalone book OR a book whose title begins with M OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1850-1853.
Cocoa Beach Beatriz Williams 6/12/18
14. Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)
Weird fact: Pierce was arrested for running over a woman with his horse.
Franklin Pierce, the country’s 14th president, was arrested for running over a woman with his horse. He never received jail time, though, likely because of insufficient evidence. The case was dropped in 1853, his first year in office.
👨 Read a book where a character is arrested OR a Series/TBR #14 OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1853-1857.
15. James Buchanan (1857-1861)
Weird fact: Buchanan bought slaves to free them to save his reputation.
While it may sound heroic for Buchanan to have bought slaves just to set them free, it’s not entirely true. Buchanan feared that word of his sister Harriet and her husband owning slaves would get out and ruin his reputation of being neutral about the slavery issue. As a bachelor, he had no wife but a housekeeper who needed servants. Instead of freeing the slaves he bought, he kept them as servants of his household.
👨 Read a book where a character is a slave or servant OR with a character that is worried about their reputation OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1857-1861.
16. Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)
Weird fact: Lincoln won all but one wrestling matches.
Abraham Lincoln is remembered fondly for a myriad of reasons, namely for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation that abolished slavery. What is less known about Lincoln, however, is his extraordinary strength and athleticism. Lincoln won all but one of his wrestling matches.
👨 Read a book where a character has extraordinary strength and athleticism OR by an author whose first name begins with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1861-1865.
Filthy Doctor: A Bad Boy Medical Romance Amy Brent 6/9/18
17. Andrew Johnson (1865-1869)
Weird fact: Johnson was an indentured servant for two years of childhood.
Needless to say, Andrew Johnson had a bit of a rough childhood growing up. The later impeached president and his brother were sent away by their mother as young children to be a tailor’s indentured servants. After two years, the boys ran away. From his experience working with the tailor, Johnson made all of his suits while president.
👨 Read a book where a character sews their clothing OR with a character who had a rough childhood OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1865-1869.
Her Big Sky Cowboy Alissa Callen 6/2/18
18. Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877)
Weird fact: Canaries froze to death at Grant's inaugural ball.Ulysses S. Grant’s inaugural ball in 1873 was to be spruced up with the addition of beautiful canaries. Unfortunately, due to the extremely cold temperatures the canaries froze to death.
👨 Read a book set in the winter OR with a bird on the cover (Please post the cover.) OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1869-1877.
269 pages The Arrogant Thief Mallory Crowe 6/14/18
19. Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881)
Weird fact: Hayes remains a hero in Paraguay.
While President Rutherford B. Hayes isn’t thought of as one of the more highly regarded presidents, he is highly praised by one particular country in South America. After the Triple Alliance War, Paraguay had lost a significant part of its territory to Argentina and Brazil. Hayes interceded in the dispute, and following negotiations, a large amount of territory was given to Paraguay.
👨 Read a book with a MPG War OR where a character negotiates a deal OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1877-1881.
Glass Houses Rachel Caine 6/15/18
20. James A. Garfield (1881)
Weird fact: Garfield could write in two different languages at one time.
James Garfield, among many things, was ambidextrous, but his capabilities went far beyond his ability to write with both his left and right hands. He developed the unique talent of simultaneously writing in Greek with one hand and in Latin with the other.
👨 Read a book where a character knows more than one language OR by an author with JAMES as a first or last name OR with a page count that contains ONE of these numbers 1881.
21. Chester Arthur (1881-1885)
Weird fact: Arthur sold historical artifacts to redecorate the White House.
Chester Arthur had ambitions to give the White House an entirely new look. In order to fund this endeavor, Arthur sold 24 wagons filled to the brim with antiques from past presidents. One of John Quincy Adams’ hats and a pair of Lincoln’s pants could be found in that pile of historical loot. And speaking of pants, Arthur just happened to own 80 different pairs.
👨 Read a book where a character sells things because they need money OR with a hat or pants on the cover (Please post the cover) OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1881-1885.
Beach House for Rent Mary Alice Monroe 6/7/18
22. Grover Cleveland (1885-1889)
Weird fact: Cleveland's adopted daughter became his wife in later years.
Many may not know that Cleveland became the legal guardian of his former law partner’s 11-year-old daughter upon his death. After 10 years, he took her hand in marriage. She was the youngest First Lady in history at the age of 21. He was more than twice her age at 48.
👨 Read a book where a character marries a much younger person OR with a bride or wedding dress on the cover (Please post the cover.) OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1885-1889.
Twice Tempted Jeaniene Frost 6/3/18
23. Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893)
Weird fact: Harrison refused to touch light switches.
As the first president to have electricity in the White House, Harrison was a little spooked when it came to this new energy. He was so anxiety-ridden about the thought of being electrocuted that he opted to never make contact with light switches. More often than not, he went to bed with the lights on.
👨 Read a book where a character has anxiety about something OR with a light/lamp or light switch on the cover (Please post the cover) OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1889-1893.
24. Grover Cleveland (1893-1897)
Weird fact: Cleveland was the only president to be a hangman.
Not only was Grover Cleveland the first president to serve two nonconsecutive terms, but also he was the first to have a gig as a hangman. At one point, he was the sheriff of Erie County, New York, where he had to drop the trap at a hanging. Not once, but two times.
👨 Read a Series book #2 OR with a character that is a sheriff OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1893-1897.
The Dead Girls' Dance Rachel Caine 6/16/18 (The Morganville Vampires #2)
25. William McKinley (1897-1901)
Weird fact: McKinley removed good luck charm from lapel and was shot.
For William McKinley, losing his good luck charm was a death sentence. The 25th president believed that carnations brought good luck, so he sported them everywhere he went. On Sept. 6, 1901, he removed the carnation from his lapel to give to a little girl only to be shot shortly thereafter.
👨 Read a book where a character has a good luck charm OR with a flower on the cover (Please post the cover) OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1897-1901.
26. Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
Weird fact: Every member in Roosevelt's family owned stilts.
Theodore, or Teddy, Roosevelt had a secret pastime -- walking on stilts. Apparently, each and every one of Roosevelt’s family members had their own individual pair. Even the First Lady had a set of her own.
👨 Read a book where a character has a secret pastime OR with a MC that is married and has children OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1901-1909.
27. William Howard Taft (1909-1913)
Weird fact: Taft lost 80 pounds after his time in office.
William H. Taft is well known as the heaviest president in history, with his peak weight clocking in at some 340 pounds. Whether the rumor of him getting stuck in a bathtub is true or not, something induced him to lose some weight. After his time as president, he lost 80 pounds.
👨 Read a book where a character loses weight OR with a bathtub on the cover (Please post the cover) OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1909-1913.
Alannah L.A. Casey 6/16/18
28. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
Weird fact: Wilson painted his golf balls black during the winter.
Woodrow Wilson is often remembered as a staunch advocate for democracy and world peace as well as an academic. He had another passion that perhaps isn’t as well known -- golfing. President Wilson loved to golf no matter the season. In the winter months, when layers of snow covered the ground, he painted his golf balls black so that he could easily retrieve them amid a blanket of white.
👨 Read a book where a character plays golf OR with snow on the cover (Please post the cover.) OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1913-1921.
29. Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)
Weird fact: Harding had a daughter out of one his many several affairs.
Warren Harding had several extramarital affairs. In one -- at least to our knowledge -- he impregnated a woman by the name of Nan Britton. Britton had written a book called “The President’s Daughter,” a novel about her daughter being Harding’s offspring. It wasn’t until 2005 that an official DNA test proved Harding was indeed the father.
👨 Read a book where a character has a child out of wedlock OR with a female character that is a writer OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1921-1923.
30. Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)
Weird fact: Coolidge enjoyed having petroleum jelly rubbed on his head.
We thought the fact that Calvin Coolidge had two pet raccoons by the names of Reuben and Rebecca was weird, but then we stumbled upon this gem. Evidently, Coolidge liked to have his scalp massaged with petroleum jelly -- which is Vaseline -- while he ate his breakfast in bed. Talk about a bizarre morning ritual.
👨 Read a book where a character has a fetish OR where a character gets a massage OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1923-1929.
The Unidentified Redhead Alice Clayton 6/11/18
31. Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Weird fact: Hoover and his wife spoke Mandarin in the White House.Long before he became the 31st president, Herbert Hoover lived in China with his wife, where the two learned one of China’s native languages. When Hoover wanted to have a private conversation with his wife, they would speak in Mandarin so no one could eavesdrop.
👨 Read a book where characters speak in another language for privacy OR by an author whose initials begin with the same letter OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1929-1933.
A Madness So Discreet Mindy McGinnis 6/17/18
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)
Weird fact: Roosevelt was distantly related his wife and 10 presidents.
Franklin D. Roosevelt married Anna Eleanor, his fifth cousin once removed and niece of another fifth cousin. Despite distant familial connections, the two wed in 1905, and Teddy Roosevelt was the man that gave Eleanor away. FDR claims to have other family tree ties with 10 other presidents as well.
👨 Read a book where the MC is related to other characters in the story OR where a bride is given away at her wedding by a man that is not her father OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1933-1945.
Branna L.A. Casey 6/14/18
33. Harry S. Truman (1945-1953)
Weird fact: The only president of the 20th century that didn't go to college.
It's likely to assume that the President of the United States would need to be well educated and have at least some college. But that wasn’t the case with Harry S. Truman, who grew up as a poor farm boy in Missouri. Truman is one of eight presidents to have never attended college, but he is the only one from the 20th century to lack at least some college-level schooling.
👨 Read a book where a character has not attended college OR set in the 20th century (1901-2000) OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1945-1953.
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)
Weird fact: Eisenhower ridded the White House lawn of its squirrels.
Eisenhower was the first president to ride in a helicopter, but that is not nearly as whacky of a fact as the president trying to rid the White House lawn of its squirrel population. Eisenhower, like Wilson, was fond of golfing, and the squirrels that scurried about the grounds were guilty of digging up the putting green to bury nuts. Eisenhower was so distraught by the rodents that he ordered his valet to kill them off by shooting them. Fortunately, the Secret Service vetoed that idea and instead had groundskeepers trap the squirrels and release them into Rock Creek Park nearby.
👨 Read a book where a character is crazy about their lawn OR with a wild animal on the cover (Please post the cover.) OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1953-1961.
35. John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
Weird fact: Kennedy got into Harvard despite bad recommendation letter.
To say Kennedy’s family was loaded is an understatement. His JFK's father, while generous enough to give him $1 million on his 21st birthday, was not as kind to him in his letter of recommendation to Harvard University. Apparently, he wrote that Jack lacked application and was careless. It didn’t seem to have a real impact on the university’s decision, however, because Kennedy was still accepted.
👨 Read a book where a character went to Harvard OR with a character who has a difficult father OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1961-1963.
36. Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)
Weird fact: Johnson life was saved by missing flight to the South Pacific.
Fate intervened on Lyndon Johnson’s behalf during World War II. He boarded a plane known as the Wabash Cannonball for a bombing mission in the South Pacific. Before the plane took off, he hopped off so he could use the restroom. By the time he returned, the plane had already departed. The plane later crashed, killing everyone on board.
👨 Read a book where a character misses a flight OR with a character that is in the military OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1963-1969.
37. Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
Weird fact: Nixon could play five musical instruments.
While Richard Nixon is widely associated with the Watergate scandal, what most may not know about him is his hidden musical talents. Nixon played the piano, clarinet, saxophone, violin, and accordion. He could play these instruments without learning to read music.
👨 Read a book where a character can play more than one musical instrument OR with a MPG Music OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1969-1974.
38. Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
Weird fact: Ford served, but was never elected, as both president and VP.
Gerald Ford was the first and only president so far to serve as both president and vice president without ever being elected to either office. In his earlier years, Ford was a football star at the University of Michigan, where he played center and linebacker. He actually turned down offers from two professional football teams.
👨 Read a book where a character plays football OR set in Michigan OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1974-1977.
39. Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
Weird fact: Carter is the first president to have witnessed a UFO.
Jimmy Carter is the only president thus far to report a UFO sighting. Carter claimed to have spotted the UFO in October 1969, but he did not file a report with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena until four years after.
👨 Read a book where a character sees something unbelievable (Tell us what that is.) OR with the letters U F O in the title (does not have to be in order) OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1977-1981.
40. Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
Weird fact: Reagan consulted with an astrologer.
Reagan and his wife were so fascinated by astrology that he consulted with an astrologer by the name of Joan Quigley. When word got out that Reagan consulted with Quigley, headlines like “Astrologer Runs The White House” ran shortly after. Nancy Reagan confirmed that astrology was merely a factor in determining Reagan’s schedule, not for political decisions.
👨 Read a book where a character believes in astrology OR with a character named Joan OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1981-1989.
41. George H. W. Bush (1989-1993)
Weird fact: Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by skydiving.
Despite being unable to use of his legs, George H.W. Bush celebrated his ninth decade of life by making a tandem parachute jump out of an airplane, about 6,000 feet near his home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He also celebrated his 80th birthday in this fashion.
👨 Read a book where a character goes sky diving OR with a character in a wheelchair OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1989-1993.
42. Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
Weird fact: Clinton won two Grammys for "Best Spoken Word Album."
Did you know that presidents have won Grammys? Bill Clinton won a Grammy in 2004 Best Spoken Word Album for Children, narrating the English version of Russian “Wolf Tracks,” and another in 2005 for Best Spoken Word Album for his audiobook, “My Life.”
👨 Read a book where a character wins an award OR published in 2004 or 2005 OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 1993-2001.
43. George W. Bush (2001-2009)
Weird fact: Head cheerleader in high school.
George W. Bush is the only president to have been the head cheerleader in high school. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Bush hails from a politically involved family. His father was president, his brother Jeb was a governor, and his paternal grandfather Preston was a senator.
👨 Read a book with a character who is a cheerleader OR with a character that has a family involved in politics OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 2001-2009.
44. Barack Obama (2009-2017)
Weird fact: Obama doesn’t like ice cream.
One of Barack Obama’s first jobs was scooping ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins store in his home state of Hawaii. The future president was concerned that all the ice cream he was eating was hurting his jump shot, and he thinks that is why he lost his taste for the treat. That didn’t stop a chain of ice cream shops on Martha’s Vineyard from naming a flavor after the 44th president - “Barack My World!” (coffee ice cream with macadamia nuts and caramel swirl).
👨 Read a book with a woman's name in the title OR set in Hawaii OR with a page count that contains TWO of these numbers 2009-2017.
45. Donald Trump (2017- )
Weird fact: Trump doesn't drink alcohol.
The current president is one of the few commanders in chief to not drink alcohol. He chooses not to indulge in the beverage likely because his brother was an alcoholic and died of his addiction in 1982.
👨 Read a book with a character that does not drink alcohol OR with a character that dies due to an addiction OR with a page count that contains ONE of these numbers 2017.
Info from: https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/s...
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