Monday, February 20, 2017

Happy President's Week

This is the week schools celebrate the births of two of our greatest presidents: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  Lincoln was actually born on the 12th and Washington the 22nd.

Most schools are off these two days or even the week but it's doubtful if any of the kids much less their parents are taking this as an opportunity to learn more about these two presidents so as a public service I hereby offer the following obscure information about each.

Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender.

Abraham Lincoln's son, Robert, was saved from a train accident by Edwin Booth, brother of his father's killer, John Wilkes Booth.

Lincoln was the first major leader in the U.S. to feel that women should be allowed to vote.

Abe Lincoln is enshrined in the Wrestling Hall of Fame, having lost just once in 300 matches.

Lincoln's dog, Fido, was also assassinated.

Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs, all of them had no college degree.

Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day.

Abraham Lincoln dreamt of his assassination before it happened.

A secret message was engraved inside Abraham Lincoln's pocket watch by a jeweler, and it was not discovered until 2009.

An 11-Year-Old Girl Convinced Abraham Lincoln to Grow His Beard.

Abraham Lincoln has no confirmed living descendants. The last one, a great-grandson, died in 1985.

Robert Todd Lincoln, first son of Abraham Lincoln, was present or nearby the assassinations of his father, James Garfield, and William McKinley.
Poisoned milk killed Abraham Lincoln's mother when he was 9 years old.

Abraham Lincoln was the tallest U.S. President at 6-foot-4.

Abraham Lincoln was the first U.S. President born outside of the original 13 colonies.

Abraham Lincoln was the first U.S. President to be photographed at his inauguration


1. He didn't have a middle name.

2. He was not born on February 22, 1732.

3.That's his real hair, not a wig.
It looks white because he powdered it.

4. He was made an honorary citizen of France.

5. For a time, he was a non-president Commander-in-Chief (but didn't do much).

6. Nobody will ever rank higher than him in the U.S. Military.
In 1976 Washington was posthumously awarded the highest rank in the U.S. military, EVER.

When Washington died, he was a lieutenant general. But as the centuries passed, this three-star
rank did not seem commensurate with what he had accomplished. After all, Washington did more
than defeat the British in battle. Along the way he established the framework for how American
soldiers should organize themselves, how they should behave, and how they should relate to civilian
leaders. Almost every big decision he made set a precedent. He was the father of the US military as
well as the US itself.
So, a law was passed to make Washington the highest ranking U.S. officer of all time: General of the Armies of the
United States. Nobody will ever outrank him.

7. He had quite the salary.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, in 1789, his presidential salary was 2 percent of the total U.S. budget.

8. Even so, he had some cash flow problems.
He actually had to borrow money to attend his own first inauguration.

9. He was one of the sickest presidents in U.S. history.
Throughout his life, he suffered from a laundry list of ailments : diphtheria, tuberculosis, smallpox, dysentery, malaria,
quinsy (tonsillitis), carbuncle, pneumonia, and epiglottitis—to name a few.

10. He may or may not have died as a result of medical malpractice.
On the day he died, Washington was treated with four rounds of bloodletting, which removed 5 pints of blood from
his body. It seems that it proved to be too much. From the New York Times:
On Washington's fateful day, Albin Rawlins, one of his overseers and a bloodletter, was summoned.
Washington bared his arm. The overseer had brought his lancet and made an incision. Washington
said, ''Don't be afraid.'' That day, Rawlins drew 12 ounces of blood, then 18 ounces, another 18
ounces and a final 32 ounces into a porcelain bleeding bowl.
After the fourth bloodletting, the patient improved slightly and was able to swallow. By about 10 p.m.,
his condition deteriorated, but he was still rational enough to whisper burial instructions to Col. Tobias
Lear, his secretary.
At 10:20 p.m., Dr. James Craik, 69, an Edinburgh-trained physician who had served with Washington
in the French and Indian Wars, closed Washington's eyes. Another Edinburgh-trained physician, Dr.
Gustavus Richard Brown, 52, was also present. The third physician, Dr. Elisha Cullen Dick, 37, who
had been appointed coroner the previous year, stopped the clock in Washington's bedroom at that

11. He Might Have Been Infertile.
It is well-known that Washington had no children of his own. In 2007, John K. Amory of the University of Washington
School of Medicine proposed that Washington was infertile. Armory goes through a number of possible reasons for
Washington’s infertility, including an infection caused by his tuberculosis. “Classic studies of soldiers with
tuberculous pleurisy during World War II demonstrated that two thirds developed chronic organ tuberculosis within 5
years of their initial infection. Infection of the epididymis or testes is seen in 20% of these individuals and frequently
results in infertility.”

12. Washington’s body was almost buried in the Capitol.
He requested that he be buried at Mount Vernon, and his family upheld his request, despite repeated pleas by
Congress. They wanted to put his body underneath a marble statue in the Capitol.

13. He Was Not Very Religious.
According to Washington biographer Edward Lengel, "He was a very moral man. He was a very virtuous man, and
he watched carefully everything he did. But he certainly doesn't fit into our conception of a Christian evangelical or
somebody who read his Bible every day and lived by a particular Christian theology

14. He never chopped down that cherry tree.
Parson Weems, who wrote a myth-filled biography of Washington shortly after he died, made up the cherry tree
story. The Mount Vernon Digital Encyclopedia identifies that book, The Life of Washington, as " the point of origin for
many long-held myths about Washington."

 15. He was an inveterate letter-writer.
We don’t have an exact number, but the best estimates seem to put the number of letters he penned somewhere
between 18,000 and 20,000. If you wrote one letter a day, it would take you between 50 and 55 years to write that

16. Before becoming the Father of the Nation, Washington was a master surveyor.
He spent the early part of his career as a professional surveyor. Here’s one of the earliest maps he created, of his
half brother Lawrence Washington’s turnip garden:
Over the course of his life, Washington created some 199 land surveys. Washington took this skill with him into his
role as a military leader.

17. Before fighting the British, he fought FOR the British.
At the age of 21, Washington was sent to lead a British colonial force against the French in Ohio. He lost, and this
helped spark the Seven Years War in North America.

18. He was a dog-lover.
Washington kept and bred many hunting hounds. He is known as the "Father of the American Foxhound," and kept
more than 30 of the dogs. According to his journals, three of the hounds' names were Drunkard, Tipler, and Tipsy.

19. He lost more battles than he won.
According to Joseph J. Ellis' His Excellency: George Washington, “he lost more battles than any victorious general
in modern history.”

20. He was lucky, but his coat wasn't.
In the Braddock disaster of 1755, Washington’s troops were caught in the crossfire between British and Native
American soldiers. Two horses were shot from under Washington, and his coat was pierced by four musket balls,
none of which hit his actual body.

21. He didn’t have wooden teeth.
But he did have teeth problems. When he attended his first inauguration, he only had one tooth left in his head.

22. He is the only president to actually go into battle while serving as president.
On September 19, 1794, George Washington became the only sitting U.S. President to personally lead
troops in the field when he led the militia on a nearly month-long march west over the Allegheny Mountains to the
town of Bedford.”

23. He fell in love with his best friend’s wife.
According to Joseph Ellis' His Excellency, several letters show that before he married Martha, Washington was in
love with Sally Fairfax, who was the wife of George William Fairfax.

24. He was widely criticized in the press in the later years of his presidency.
He was accused of having an overly monarchical style and was criticized for his declaration of neutrality in overseas
conflicts. Thomas Jefferson was among the most critical of Washington in the press, and John Adams recalled that
after the Jay Treaty, the presidential mansion “was surrounded by innumerable multitudes, from day to day buzzing,
demanding war against England, cursing Washington.”

25. He owned a whiskey distillery.
He installed it at Mount Vernon in 1798 and it was profitable. According to Julian Niemcewicz, a Polish visitor to the
estate, it distilled 12,000 gallons a year. In 1799, Washington wrote to his nephew: “Two hundred gallons of Whiskey
will be ready this day for your call, and the sooner it is taken the better, as the demand for this article (in these parts)
is brisk.”



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