Simpson? And Other Presidential Mysteries

Alan Cai

July 22, 2022

Below is a list of fun facts about US Presidents. Enjoy!

  • The S. in Ulysses S. Grant originated from a mistake during his nomination to the United States Military Academy(West Point) when Hiram Ulysses Grant was nominated as U.S. Grant. The middle initial does not stand for anything according to Grant himself although some have speculated that it was entered as Sidney on his West Point documents while others have observed S may have stood for Simpson, his mother’s maiden name, and his younger brother’s name.

  • Some historians postulate that Franklin Pierce had a middle name that started with a K. Consensus among those who support the theory states that the K stood for Kendrick, his mother’s maiden name.

  • Richard Milhous Nixon was the first United States President to have a Simpson named after him. The character “Milhouse” from The Simpsons was named after the 37th US president, with the name reportedly being the most “unfortunate name [writer] Matt Groening could think of for a kid” as reported by TV Guide.

  • James A. Garfield is the only US president who is also known for being an amateur mathematician. In 1876, he published a new proof of the Pythagorean Theorem(which was quite ingenious). Unfortunately, his lack of regard for presidential security led to his attempted assassination and subsequent death by infection in 1881.

  • Tecumseh’s curse, alternatively known as the curse of the Tippecanoe, was an alleged curse by Indigenous leader and William Tecumseh Sherman's namesake, Tecumseh. Tecumseh was killed in 1811 by later US president William Henry Harrison at the Battle of Tippecanoe. Following the latter’s death a month into his presidency, every United States president elected in a year divisible by 20 died in office until Ronald Reagan, ironically also the oldest president elected at the time. The list of victims included Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. For reference, the only president who died in office whose name is not on this list is Zachary Taylor. The pattern and name were not recognized until more than a century into its alleged inception.

  • Hamilton Fish is considered one of the most important figures of the Grant presidency, as well as one of the greatest Secretaries of State of all time. He pioneered international arbitration, settled Spanish-American relations, and steered the United States out of numerous diplomatic crises.