Q: How honest was “Honest Abe” Lincoln?
A: Biographer Benjamin P. Thomas tells this story from just after Lincoln’s days as postmaster in New Salem, Ill., in the 1830s:
“Dr. A.G. Henry, one of Lincoln’s closest friends, and himself postmaster for a time at Sangamontown, told Isaac N. Arnold that, when the New Salem office was discontinued, Lincoln had on hand a balance of some $16 or $18, which he brought with him to Springfield.
“Perhaps the Post Office Department overlooked this small sum, for not until months later did an agent call on Lincoln to collect it.
“During the intervening time, Lincoln had been financially hard-pressed, and Dr. Henry, who was present when the agent called, was afraid that Lincoln might not have the money. Henry told Arnold:
“‘I was about to call him aside and loan him the money, when he asked the agent to be seated a moment, while he went over to his trunk at his boarding house, and returned with an old blue sock with a quantity of silver and copper coin tied up in it.
“‘Untying the sock, he poured the contents on the table and proceeded to count the coin, which consisted of such silver and copper pieces as the country people were then in the habit of using in paying postage.
“‘On counting it up there was found the exact amount, to a cent, of the draft, and in the identical coin which had been received. He never used, under any circumstances, trust funds.’” — U.S. Postal Service.
Q: Did young George Washington really tell his father when he chopped down a cherry tree?
A: The kid was innocent!
The cherry tree myth sprang from admiring parson Mason Locke Weems in two biographies published after Washington’s death in 1799: “A History of the Life and Death, Virtues and Exploits, of General George Washington” and “The Life of George Washington, with Curious Anecdotes Laudable to Himself and Exemplary to his Countrymen.” — University of Virginia.
Q: Was Gerald Ford the president’s given name?
A: Leslie Lynch King Jr. was adopted and renamed Gerald Rudolph Ford.
Q: Can I visit Camp David?
A: Sorry, it’s booked.
The presidential retreat, formally “Naval Support Facility Thurmont,” is in Catoctin Mountain Park, Frederick County, Md.
It started as a wooded park for federal employees. President Franklin D. Roosevelt called it USS Shangri La. President Dwight D. Eisenhower renamed it to honor his grandson, David. — The White House.
Q: Who was our first president?
A: That’s an old trick question.
Congress unanimously chose Maryland’s John Hanson (1721-1783) for the first one-year term as president of Congress under the Articles of Confederation, which took effect March 1, 1781.
Hanson was the first of eight one-year presidents of Congress before George Washington was elected to a four-year term as president of the new executive branch under the Constitution, which took effect in 1789.
Q: What did Sen. John F. Kennedy say as he ran for president in 1960?
A: “I just received the following wire from my generous daddy: ‘Dear Jack: Don’t buy a single vote more than is necessary. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide.”‘
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