I Was Today Years Old When I Learned That Andrew Johnson Made His Own Suits…And About “Billy Possum!”

I’ve been attempting to delve into learning strange facts about U.S. presidents in conjunction with also writing a “jig” style song with a line about each president. In the midst of that, here are some fascinating things I’ve learned:


Chester Arthur would have loved shopping malls! More about his inner fashionista in a bit…
  • William Taft hoped that a line of stuffed opossum toys named “Billy” would overtake the teddy bear in popularity (sadly they did not though I would love to get my hands on one)
  • Andrew Johnson previously worked as an indentured servant as a child and was trained as a tailor. He ran away from his “master” and was never caught. However, he retained his skills as a tailor and made all of his own suits while he was president!
  • Calvin Coolidge had a couple of pet raccoons named Reuben and Rebekah. Not to be outdone, Herbert Hoover’s sons had a couple of pet gators!
  • The 19th century boasted a couple of teetotaler presidents – Polk – and Hayes (who prohibited booze at the White House). Kind of makes you wonder if the writer of Married With Children made Polk High Al Bundy’s alma mater for a reason!
  • Everyone virtually hated John Tyler.
  • Grover Cleveland wound up marrying a woman whom he became the legal guardian of when she was 11 after a friend’s death.
  • James Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with another.
  • Chester Arthur was a bit of a dandy (which today would mean “clothes horse”) – and had – at one time – 80 pairs of pants!

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