William Henry Harrison was the 9th President of the United States.  He served from March 4, 1841 to April 4, 1841.

Nicknames: Old Tippecanoe, Old Tip

Quote: “There is nothing more corrupting, nothing more destructive of the noblest and finest feelings of our nature, than the exercise of unlimited power.”

I have not been able to find an adult-sized biography on him, so I resorted to what I had – which was, unfortunately, Wikipedia.  If you have any I could borrow, that’d be much appreciated.  For now, some facts:

  • was the 2nd oldest President to be elected
  • came from a very political family: his father was on the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence and was governor of Virginia, his brother served in the House of Representatives for Virginia, his father-in-law was also a Representative and his stepmother-in-law was daughter of the governor of New Jersey
  • the last U.S. President born before the Declaration of Independence was written (therefore, was born as a British subject)
  • started out studying medicine but he disliked it
  • joined the army at age 18 because of financial troubles  and fought in the Northwest Indian War
  • he asked Anna Symes’s father for hand in marriage ans was refused, so they eloped when her father left on business
  • the had 10 children
  • replaced the outgoing Secretary of the Northwest Territories in 1798
  • and then became the first Congressional delegate from the Northwest Territories
  • He ran a horse breeding farm
  • got the Harrison Land Act passed in 1800, which made it easier to buy and settle land in the NW Territories
  • he served as governor of the Indiana Territory (Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota)
  • negotiated treaties with the Native Americans to buy 240,000 square kilometers of land
  • he built one of the first brick houses in the Indiana Territory – his plantation and house which he named “Grouseland”
  • despite being anti-slavery most of his life, he tried to legalize slavery in the territories twice, once in 1805 and again in 1807
  • he had a head-to-head argument with Chief Tecumsah over treaties and nearly got himself and 1,000 others massacred
  • in spite of a sneak attack by the Native Americans, he defeated Tecumsah’s army at the Battle of Tippecanoe, which earned him the nickname “Old Tippecanoe”
  • despite his victory at Tippecanoe, the media’s handling of it made matters worsened ties with Great Britain and hastened the beginning of the war of 1812
  • he talked President Madison into removing General James Winchester from the position as Commander of the Army of the Northwest and putting him in the position
  • with the Army of the Northwest, he invaded Canada, defeated the British at the Battle of the Thames and killed Tecumsah
  • he resigned from the army when he was removed from the position of General and reassigned to a less prestigious post
  • after the war, the government decided he had been mistreated by the Secretary of War and awarded him a gold medal for his services to the country
  • served as a Senator for Ohio
  • he was sent as plenipotentiary to Gran Columbia and claimed to have taught Simon Bolivar about democracy
  • then he reported that he thought Bolivar was going to become a military dictator and was called him in June 1829 – after only six months
  • settled in Ohio on his farm, living off of savings, a pension, and money from his farm and the royalties from his biography
  • started a distillery, then felt convicted about it when it became successful.  So he closed it down and wrote a letter of apology to the Agricultural Board for his sins
  • favorite foods (via The Awl) – Squirrel stew, roast wild duck, apple cider, cornbread, cheese, and fresh vegetables.
  • ran for President unsuccessfully in 1836 as the Northern Whig Candidate, the only US Presidential election when a major political party intentionally had more than candidate running for the same position
  • both times he ran for President, it was against Martin Van Buren
  • his campaign in 1840 used the opposition’s tactics to their advantage, using symbols and slogans
  • he had one of the most famous campaign slogans in U.S. history – “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too!”
  • to appear capable and heroic, when he was sworn into the office of President, he gave a 2 hour speech and rode in an inaugural parade in cold, wet weather without a coat or a hat (this didn’t cause his death like many people believe)
  • his political rival and fellow Whig, Henry Clay, envied him winning the office of President and the fight got so bad that Clay was banned from visiting the White House
  • caught a cold on March 26th and because of the added stress of his position, social calendar and people seeking positions in his cabinet, (plus the medical techniques of that time) it developed into pneumonia and then pleurisy
  • he died on April 4, 1841
  • served 31 days, 12 hours and 30 minutes as President of the United States – the shortest term in U.S. history
  • he was the first President to die while in office
  • first sitting President to have his photo taken
  • he laid the groundwork for many modern campaign tactics
  • his widow received $25,000 after his death ($500,000 in today’s money) and the right to mail anything for free
  • he was one of only 4 Presidents who didn’t get the chance to nominate a Supreme Court Judge

<— Martin Van Buren ***** John Tyler –>

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