William Henry Harrison was the 9th president of the United States. He is most known for being the first president to die in office and serving the shortest term of any U.S president. His grandson Benjamin Harrison would become the 23rd president of the United States.
William Henry Harrison was born on February 9, 1773 in Charles City County, Virginia. He had two brothers and four sisters. He was the youngest child of his family. His father, Benjamin Harrison V, signed the Declaration of Independence and was governor of Virginia. William attended various schools and was studying to become a doctor but when his father died, William ran out of money and decided to join the army.
During his early military career Harrison fought in the Northwest Indian War. He was part of the Battle of Fallen Timbers which ended the war. Later, he led American forces at the Battle of Tippecanoe against Native Americans under the leadership of Tecumseh. Harrison’s victory made him a war hero and gave him the nickname “Tippecanoe.” In the War of 1812 he was given command of the Northwest Army with the rank of Brigadier General. At the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813, he defeated the British and Native American forces to consolidate control of the Northwest.
Harrison was active in politics for much of his life. In 1798 he became Secretary of the Northwest Territory, which included Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and part of Minnesota. He would also serve as the territory’s delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives and first governor from 1801 to 1812. His job was to help settlers move into the new lands and protect them from Native Americans. He later served in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate for Ohio. Finally, he was the Ambassador to Columbia from 1828 to 1829.
In his personal life, William Henry Harrison married Anna Tuthill Symmes on November 25, 1795. The Harrisons had ten children. When Harrison was Governor of the Northwest Territory, he built a mansion called Grousland in Vincennes, Indiana. In 1813 he went back to land he owned in North Bend, Ohio where he mostly worked on farming and held various political positions.
In 1836 Harrison ran for president against Martin Van Buren as one of the two Whig candidates. Harrison lost the election, but he did win eight states. In 1840, the Whig party chose Harrison as their only candidate. Harrison’s campaign used log cabin and hard cider themes as a strategy to build his popularity. His campaign also focused on his past military career, and some claimed he should be considered the next George Washington! His slogan was “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too,” including his old military nickname and the name of his vice president John Tyler. Since the public largely blamed Martin Van Buren for the panic of 1837, Harrison won the election.
William Henry Harrison took the oath of office on March 4, 1841. He was 68 years old, which at the time made him the oldest person to ever become U.S. president. It was a cold, wet day, and Harrison was not wearing a coat or a hat. After taking the oath, Harrison delivered the longest inaugural address in American history. It took him nearly two hours to deliver the speech.
On March 26, 1841, Harrison became ill with cold-like symptoms. Most people believe the illness was caused by the bad weather at the inauguration which caused pneumonia. His doctor’s treatment of blood letting, laudanum, and opium may have made things worse. Some modern researchers think Harrison could have originally gotten sick from the sewage of Washington, D.C. which was dumped just seven blocks away from the White House’s water supply. Harrison died on April 4, 1841 after only 31 days as president. Vice President John Tyler assumed the role of president and was soon confirmed by Congress. A funeral ceremony was held for William Henry Harrison at the White House. His body was later transported to North Bend, Ohio where he was buried.
William Henry Harrison Log Cabin
William Henry Harrison’s Log Cabin is located in Corydon Indiana. Corydon was the first capital of the state Indiana. It is one of the few remaining buildings from the 1820s.
William Henry Harrison’s Grouseland
William Henry Harrison lived in Grousland where he lived when he was the governor of the Indiana Territory. Inside the house there is his army equipment from when he fought in the battle of Tippecanoe. There was also a basement where food was made and for home schooling. Upstairs there is William Henry Harrison and his wife’s bed. Also the rooms for all the children.