Scramblin' thru... the U.S. Presidents
"Washington of the West"
Level: Some college
(Started at Hampden-Sydney College but withdrew; started medical school at University of Pennsylvania but withdrew)
Biological Kids: 10
Election of 1836
Election of 1840
A Presidential Life in Review
William Henry Harrison, America's 9th U.S. President, served just one month in office before dying of pneumonia. His tenure (from March 4, 1841 to April 4, 1841) is the shortest of any President. Harrison, who was born into a prominent Virginia family, joined the U.S. Army as a young man and fought Native Americans on the U.S. frontier. He then became the first congressional delegate from the Northwest Territory, a region encompassing much of the present-day Midwest. In the early 1800s, Harrison served as Governor of the Indiana Territory and worked to open Native American lands to white settlers. He became a war hero after fighting Indian forces at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, after which he went on to serve as a Congressman and Senator from Ohio. He was elected to the White House in 1840 but passed away 31 days after his inauguration, the first U.S. President to die in office. Source: The History Channel
Click here to learn more about the C-SPAN Survey
William Henry Harrison Fun Facts
Harrison was the only President who studied to become a doctor... but withdrew.
Harrison's father (Benjamin Harrison V) was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Harrison gained national fame when he lead U.S. forces against Native Americans at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811 (hence one of his nicknames).
Harrison served in the War of 1812 and was victorious at the Battle of the Thames in 1813. The battle resulted in the death of Native American leader Tecumseh and the disbandment of Tecumseh's coalition.
Harrison and his Vice President, John Tyler, were born in the same exact county (Charles City County) in Virginia... 17 years apart.
Harrison's wife received a $25,000 pension after his death in 1841. (FYI... $25,000 in 1841 is the same as $548,513.78 today...)
Harrison gave the longest inaugural address (one hour and 45 minutes)... and it had even been edited for length. Of course, he gave the speech outside on a cold and wet day, wore neither an overcoat nor hat, rode on horseback to the ceremony rather than in a closed carriage, rode through the streets in the inaugural parade, and attended three inaugural balls. On March 26th, he fell ill with a bad cold. At the time, it was believed that his illness was caused by the bad weather at his inauguration; however, Harrison's illness did not arise until more than three weeks after the event. Whatever the case, he died of pneumonia just one month after taking office, becoming the first President to die in office.
With the death of Harrison 31 days into office, it meant three different Presidents would all serve during the same calendar year. (Martin Van Buren served from January until March, Harrison served from March until April, and Tyler served from April through the end of the year). Oddly enough, this happened again in 1881 when Rutherford B. Hayes was succeeded by James A. Garfield, who was assassinated later in that year. With the death of Garfield, Chester A. Arthur stepped into the Presidency.
The first photograph of a U.S. President in office was taken of Harrison on March 4, 1841. Harrison had just delivered his inaugural speech (yes, the one that killed him), and he posed for a portrait using the new technology of the day, the daguerreotype [pictured left]. That photograph, much like its subject, had an unexpectedly short tenure. Harrison's inaugural portrait has since been lost to history, meaning that the oldest surviving photograph we have of a U.S. President depicts the Commander-in-Chief after his Presidency. There are a couple of candidates for "oldest", but they are, regardless, both depictions of J.Q. Adams. While it is debate which of the two photos [pictured below] was taken first, the date of April 13, 1843 is usually ascribed to one of them.
Harrison's grandson, Benjamin Harrison, would become the 23rd President. (Benjamin was seven when his grandfather was elected President, but he did not attend the inauguration.)
Harrison proudly brought his own goat and a cow to provide milk for the White House. After his death, the goat and cow were butchered for meat and eaten by President Tyler and his family. (Tyler was kind of a jerk...)
At age 67, Harrison was the oldest person to be elected President... until Ronald Reagan took office in 1981 at age 69.
Harrison died in the White House before his wife, Anna, had even moved to Washington, D.C. to become First Lady.