Presidential Pairs

When you have a group of 45  men over a span of 240+ plus years, it’s not surprising to find some duplicate names. When the grouping is men of power, politics, and authority the public takes notice.

Among the 45, you have a variety of occupations with a heavy percentage of lawyers, military heroes, and successful businessmen. The group even includes one engineer.

In some families, sons follow fathers, grandfathers, or uncles into an occupation which threads it’s way through generations. Just for fun — we’re ending February (the month including the President’s Day holiday) with a summary of some presidential pairs.

Adams: John and John Quincey. Father and son were 2nd and 6th presidents of the United States.

Harrison: William Henry and Benjamin. Grandfather and grandson were 9th and 23rd presidents of the United States.

Johnson: Andrew, the 17th president and Lyndon, the 36th president were not related.

Roosevelt: Theodore and Franklin. While the men were distant cousins, Franklin married Theodore’s niece. They served as the 26th and 32nd presidents.

Bush: George H. W. and George W. Father and son were the 41st and 43rd presidents of the United States.


A Great American Story

The biographies at my elementary school stressed his birthplace – a log cabin.

When you pause and think about the year of his birth – 1809 – you can imagine lots of log cabins occupied by farm families. After all, a scattering a log barns and houses where a log room or two had been covered with plaster on the inside and siding on the outside existed during my childhood a century and a half later.

However, it magnifies that he did not come from a rich family. His parents were not wealthy merchants or landowners. And if you wanted young readers to believe they could become anything — even President of the United States — it made a great, true story.

Yes, today’s presidential spotlight is on Abraham Lincoln. Honest Abe. Railsplitter. Prairie lawyer.

Lincoln’s portrait dominates on both “folding” money and the smallest coin. To celebrate his 200th birthday, scenes from his life decorated the non-obverse side of the penny.


Grand Land Purchase

In today’s society, we’d say he wore many hats.

Architect. Inventor. Writer. Diplomat. Public servant.

Born into a prosperous family, he inherited land and slaves at age 14, at the death of his father. Like many men of his time — he accomplished much at what today would be considered a young age. But remember: life spans averaged shorter then.

This third president of the United States can be remembered for many things. Our highlight today is a land purchase. A European ruler needed cash — and his property in the New World was difficult to administer from a distance. So…offer it for sale.

This deal, soon known as the Louisiana Purchase, prompted the explorations of Lewis and Clark plus many others. For practical purposes, it doubled the size of the young United States. All of the land in the Mississippi and Missouri River watersheds now were part of the same nation. The new land was varied — rich farmland, prairie, mountains, forest, metal ores, and an abundance of wildlife. It gave the growing US “elbow room” and settlers followed the rivers and trails to new homes.

Thomas Jefferson

Have you ever lived in or visited the remarkable Louisiana Purchase lands?


He was the First

February includes Presidents’ Day in the United States.

While it is good to set a day aside to honor past leaders, sometimes one day isn’t enough. So for the next several Fridays this blog with highlight some of the prominent holders of our highest elected office.

Shall we begin at the beginning?

George Washington, a native of Virginia, was born in 1732. He served as general in charge of the colonial army during the revolution and presided at the constitutional convention and was elected as the first President of the new nation. He served for a total of eight years and then stepped out of the political spotlight. His death near the end of 1799 made him the only US President to both serve and die in the 18th Century.

He’s often depicted on horseback — as in this fine example in Boston.