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Interesting US History
A Website Devoted to Interesting Events in U.S. History




9th President (1841-1841)

Born: February 9, 1773
Died: April 4, 1841

Vice President: John Tyler

Political Party: Whig

Next President: John Tyler

Previous President: Martin Van Buren

William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison was the ninth president of the United States and his presidency holds several distinctions. When he was elected president and sworn in on March 4, 1841, Harrison was 68 years and 23 days old. Harrison held the title as oldest first term president in U.S. history until the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. William Henry Harrison also holds the distinction of having the shortest tenure as president of the United States. Harrison died of complications due to pneumonia after only 32 days in office. When Harrison died, he was the first president to die in office. At the time, there was no official line of succession for the presidency and his death caused serious turmoil in the United States until succession laws were put into place.

William Henry Harrison was born in Charles City County, Virginia on February 9, 1773 to Benjamin and Elizabeth Harrison. Harrison showed an early flair for education when he entered the Presbyterian Hampden-Sydney College at the age of only 14. Like many students before him, Harrison became well-versed in Latin. It is suspected that Harrison was taken out of school by his father because rising religious beliefs in the school clashed with the Harrison family’s beliefs. When Harrison tried to attend an academy after he was pulled from college, he began to show anti-slavery beliefs when he attended rallies and meetings for anti-slavery groups. His pro-slavery father sent Harrison to Philadelphia to study medicine. Harrison’s father passed away when William Henry Harrison was 18. Unsatisfied with his medical studies, Harrison joined the military.

William Henry Harrison married Anna Symmes on November 25, 1795 after the couple eloped. The couple eloped because Symmes’ father would not give Harrison his blessing to marry Anna. When Anna’s father went away on business, the couple eloped and was married. The couple had 10 children despite Anna’s continued and prolonged battles with bad health. Despite having 10 children and being in poor health most of her life, Anna Harrison lived to be 88 years old.

William Henry Harrison left the army in 1797 and used his considerable stable of political connections to obtain the position of Secretary of the Northwest Territory. When the governor of the territories was away on business, Harrison acted as the governor. He was sworn in as president on March 4, 1891 and then died on April 4, 1891. He was eventually succeeded by his vice president, John Tyler.

Notable William Henry Harrison Quotes

"I contend that the strongest of all governments is that which is most free."

"The only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed."

Interesting William Henry Harrison Facts

William Henry Harrison was the first president to die in office having served only one month. This also makes his term the shortest of any U.S. president.

Recommended Books
About William Henry Harrison