William Henry Harrison: 9th President

Portrait of President Harrison

Source

List of United States Presidents

1. George Washington

2. John Adams

3. Thomas Jefferson

4. James Madison

5. James Monroe

6. John Quincy Adams

7. Andrew Jackson

8. Martin Van Buren

9. William Henry Harrison

10. John Tyler

11. James K. Polk

12. Zachary Taylor

13. Millard Fillmore

14. Franklin Pierce

15. James Buchanan

16. Abraham Lincoln

17. Andrew Johnson

18. Ulysses S. Grant

19. Rutherford B. Hayes

20. James Garfield

21. Chester A. Arthur

22. Grover Cleveland

23. Benjamin Harrison

24. Grover Cleveland

25. William McKinley

26. Theodore Roosevelt

27. William Howard Taft

28. Woodrow Wilson

29. Warren G. Harding

30. Calvin Coolidge

31. Herbert Hoover

32. Franklin D. Roosevelt

33. Harry S. Truman

34. Dwight D. Eisenhower

35. John F. Kennedy

36. Lyndon B. Johnson

37. Richard M. Nixon

38. Gerald R. Ford

39. James Carter

40. Ronald Reagan

41. George H. W. Bush

42. William J. Clinton

43. George W. Bush

44. Barack Obama

Military Career of William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison was born the youngest of a prominent family of seven in Berkeley, Virginia on February 9, 1773. His father Benjamin Harrison was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, as well as a governor of Virginia.

Wiliam Henry, at the age of 14, went to Hamden-Sydney College, then studeid medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. When his father died, he was unable to continue to pay for his education; therefore he dropped out and joined the First Infantry of the Regular Army.

He became well-known as an Indian fighter during this time, and even served as aide-de-camp to General "Mad Anthony" Wayne when he fought at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. This fight was successful in 1795 and led to the Treaty of Greenville, which secured peace between the Native and American people. Due to the peace that resulted, Ohio was able to be settled by Americans. Harrison's success was noted and he was swiftly promoted to captain. He then became the commander of Ohio's Fort Washington. It is located near where Cincinnati is today.

His military career almost stunted his marriage prospects, when he met Anna Tuthill Symmes, daughter of a judge. Judge Symmes felt that being a military man was not conducive to a healthy marriage. In 1795, they went against her father's wishes and eloped. Although they had ten children, six died young, before he was able to become president. One of their sons, John Scott Harrison would eventually become an Ohio congressman, and also the father of a 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison.

In 1798, he resigned from the Army, and became Secretary of the Northwest Territory, where he was the first delegate to Congress for this area. He fought for legislation that would divide it into Indian Territories and the Northwest Territory.

Battle of Tippecanoe and the death of Tecumseh

In 1801, he became governor for 12 years for the Indiana Territory, which we now know as Indiana and Illinois. His primary duties were to defend against Indian raids, and to obtain title of the Indian lands so the United States could gain territory westward into the wilderness.

One man who made this very difficult was the chieftain Tecumseh. He was a strong, charismatic leader of the Indian people. Tecumseh joined forces with his brother the Prophet to help prevent further encroachment, since millions of acres were being taken from them that they had previously used for hunting ground. The Indians became strong and formed a very strong confederation.

By 1811, Harrison received permission to attack their confederation and was given 800 volunteers to join his team. They attacked a camp at Tippecanoe Creek. Although they were successful in their battle, there were 190 men that died or became wounded. Due to the success, he became nicknamed, "Old Tippecanoe."

The raids were only temporarily thwarted, by 1812, the Indian raids came back full force, and the War of 1812 began. Harrison became brigadier general of the Army in the Northwest, and fought in the Battle of the Thames, where he fought north of Lake Erie. On October 5, 1813, he killed Tecumseh and defeated the British and Indian forces. It was not until the death of Tecumseh that stopped the Indian attacks.

The Shortest Presidency

Due to his success in military, the political arena felt highly of him. In 1814, he resigned from the Army and moved his family to a farm in North Bend, Ohio. By 1816, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1819, he became a senator for Ohio. Then in 1825, he became a U.S. senator, but retired three years later to become a U.S. minister to Colombia. He held this office for a year.

The Whig party took notice of him for his great success in both political and military platforms. They then decided to nominate him as President. his first run in 1836, he lost to Martin Van Buren, but the Whig party backed him for a second time, this time along with John Tyler to become his Vice-President. Their campaign slogan was, "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too." They won by a landslide in electoral college, 234 to 60, but only won the majority by less than 150,000 votes. Many of those against Harrison for president, felt he was too old. He was the oldest president until Ronald Reagan was elected.

William Henry Harrison arrived in Washington on horseback to give his inauguration at the age of 68, becoming the oldest President to be elected at that time. Unfortunately he caught a cold that soon developed into pneumonia. On April 4, 1841, only 32 days after coming into office, he became the first President to die while serving as president, leaving John Tyler to be the first Vice-President to become president due to the death of his predecessor. When Harrison died, the Whig Party did too.

He left behind his wife Anna Harrison, who was the first presidential widow to receive a pension from Congress. They paid her a one-time, one year salary of the president, which equaled $25,000. She was also given free postage for her mail. She lived for two more decades before passing away herself.

Statue of the 9th President

On the opposite side, the inscription reads, first Ohio President.
On the opposite side, the inscription reads, first Ohio President. | Source

Fun Facts about President Harrison

  • Died on his 32nd day of becoming President, serving the shortest term of any U.S. President in history.
  • At the time of his election, he was the oldest president ever to be elected.
  • 1st president to die while in office.
  • Last president of the Whig party.
  • Only president to study to be a medical doctor.

Excerpt from the History Channel

Basic Facts about President WIlliam Harrison

Question
Answer
Born
February 9, 1773 - Virginia Colony
President Number
9th
Party
Whig
Military Service
United States Army
Wars Served
Northwest Indian War Siege of Fort Recovery Battle of Fallen Timbers Tecumseh's War Battle of Tippecanoe War of 1812 Siege of Fort Wayne Battle of the Thames
Age at Beginning of Presidency
68 years
Term of Office
March 4, 1841 - April 4, 1841
How Long Served as President
32 days
Vice-President
John Tyler
Age and Year of Death
April 4, 1841 (aged 68)
Cause of Death
at time of death believed to have died of pneumonia, but a 2014 medical analysis changed his cause of death to enteric fever

Tomb of President William Henry Harrison

Stairs that lead to the monument and tomb.
Stairs that lead to the monument and tomb. | Source

References

  • Battle of Fallen Timbers. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2016, from http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1015.html
  • Freidel, F., & Sidey, H. (2009). William Henry Harrison. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/williamhenryharrison
  • History.com Staff. (2009). William Henry Harrison. Retrieved May 09, 2016, from http://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/william-henry-harrison
  • Sullivan, G. (2001). Mr. President: A book of U.S. presidents. New York: Scholastic.
  • U.S. Presidential Fun Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/history/presidential-fun-facts/#geo-washington.jpg

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