Undoubtedly when you were in school and they were teaching you of the United States founding fathers you heard all these great tall tales. Of how George Washington cut down a cherry tree and could not tell a lie, or how he tossed a silver coin across the Potomac. If your bubble has not already been burst, I am sorry to be the one to do it. Those are false, but many of the founding fathers had quite a few dark secrets that would not translate into a child friendly tall tale.
It's best to start out with the first. George Washington was kind of a strange man. Another tale told to young kids is that he had wooden teeth, which would be excruciatingly uncomfortable.
His teeth were actually made out of a variety of different things including ivory and horse teeth. He kept his spare teeth for his dentures close at hand though. In his stables, George Washington is said to have kept six white horses and had their teeth cleaned daily. Though the teeth must have been still pretty uncomfortable because they were credited to Washington holding the record of shortest inaugural speech ever. Which was 133 words and took 90 seconds to deliver.
Among his shockingly short speech, Washington became much less vocal after he became president, more than likely due to his false teeth. However, he also despised physical contact with others. When he greeted guest at the White House, he insisted on bowing instead of shaking their hands.
While George Washington is famed for his military prowess, he was not actually that instrumental in the Revolutionary War. In fact, Washington actually lost more battles than he won. The battles he won were more contributed to luck than his skills as a commander.
Thomas Jefferson probably wasn't the first “starving artist” type in the colonies, but he certainly became the most famous and hide it well. Thomas Jefferson is known for authoring the Declaration of Independence.
However, it is not known that Jefferson was in a massive amount of debt for almost all of his life. When he died, he owed $107,000 which today would be worth $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 dollars. Jefferson inherited a most of his debt from his Father-in-Law. However Jefferson was not a particularly frugal man. His main source of income was a plantation ran by slaves, but the profits weren't very consistent. He also loved to splurge on fine wines and lavish furniture for his house. When he died, his family had to sell almost all of his estate to pay off his debts.
A fun rumor is that when George Washington skipped a silver dollar across the Potomac, he was actually taunting Thomas Jefferson who was in a particularly bad debt at the time.
It's not a very well kept secret that Thomas Jefferson fathered many illegitimate children with his female slaves, but still rather noteworthy. It's also worthy to note that Thomas Jefferson was anti-slavery as well.
While he was a talented writer, Thomas Jefferson was scared to death of public speaking. When he spoke in front of crowds he often mumbled and spoke very quietly making it hard for people to hear him. John Adams is quoted as saying “I never heard him utter three sentences together” about his speeches in congress.
Ben Franklin is depicted as a pudgy loveable genius who created the lighting rod and the bifocal. It cannot be said he was not a genius inventor, but his was also sort of a mad scientist who had a large passion for women.
During the Revolutionary War, Ben Franklin spent most of his time in France trying to gain foreign support from France in the war. While he was there, he also gained a hearty taste for french prostitutes. He even bore at least one illegitimate son from one.
While we are on the topic of Franklin's proclivity for women of the night. Franklin also authored a letter to a friend telling him how to choose a mistress. In the letter it is stated that an older mistress is preferable to younger ones.
In the basement Franklin's London home, officials found ten different bodies, six of which were children. These remains weren't found until 2006, so his reputation didn't suffer from it but many still found it pretty creepy. There are all sort of while accusations being thrown around that he was a Satanist after that discovery. However, the bones were cut cleanly with a bone saws and scientists theorize it's much more likely he was dissecting already dead bodies in the name of science.
When Franklin became an old man, he hired an assistant to follow him around and make sure he didn't drink too much and start spilling all his dark secrets.