Special Report

The Weirdest Fact About Every American President

Source: National Archives / Getty Images

11. James Polk (1795-1849)
> Years served as president: 1845-1849
> Political party: Democratic
> 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.

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

12. Zachary Taylor (1784-1850)
> Years served as president: 1849-1850
> Political party: Whig
> 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.

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

13. Millard Fillmore (1800-1874)
> Years served as president: 1850-1853
> Political party: Whig
> 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.

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

14. Franklin Pierce (1804-1869)
> Years served as president: 1853-1857
> Political party: Democratic
> 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.

Source: National Archives / Newsmakers / Getty Images

15. James Buchanan (1791-1868)
> Years served as president: 1857-1861
> Political party: Democratic
> 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.

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