9th U.S. President: William Henry Harrison

About the ninth President of the United States William Henry Harrison, his birth, death, his short presidency, biography, description, facts and quotes.

9th President


Born: February 9, 1773, Berkeley Plantation, Va.

Died: April 4, 1841, of pneumonia, in the White House. He was the 1st President to die in office.

Career: Son of the governor of Virginia, medical school dropout, U.S. Army Indian fighter, governor of Indiana Territory, leading expert in cheating Indians out of their land. Victor over Indians at Battle of Tippecanoe, major general in War of 1812, member of the House, U.S. senator. Harrison's high living on his 3,000-acre Ohio estate left him deeply in debt, and he served as Minister to Colombia and clerk of the court of Hamilton County (2 highly lucrative positions) in hopes of paying off his debts. These positions were the only public posts he had held when he was called to the Presidency.

Personal Life: At 23, Captain Harrison eloped with the daughter of a prominent frontier judge. Over the years, she bore him 10 children and developed into a stolid matron who took little interest in her husband's career.

His Person: He was 5'8" tall, with a long thin-face, gray hair, pointed nose. Harrison was 68 when he became President, the oldest man ever to be sworn into office.

Election: After a strong showing as one of the 4 Whig candidates in 1836, Harrison had the support of a united party in 1840. He said nothing on the issues, and was portrayed as a simple man of the frontier who was happiest sipping hard cider in his log cabin. It was alleged that President Van Buren, on the other hand, was a foppish dandy who lived in "Oriental splendor." On Election Day, the "hard cider candidate" won 53% of the popular vote, and a 234 to 60 landslide in the Electoral College.

Term of Office: March 4, 1841-April 4, 1841, (31 days). Harrison caught cold while delivering a 2-hour inaugural address in the freezing rain. He was seriously ill during much of his brief term, and made not a single major decision as President.

Little-Known Facts: Harrison produced more grandchildren (48) and great-grandchildren (106) than any other President. One of his grandchildren, Benjamin Harrison, became the 23rd President of the U.S.

Quote from Harrison:

"I am the clerk of the Court of Common Pleas of Hamilton County at your service...

Some folks are silly enough to have formed a plan to make a President of the U.S. out of this Clerk and Clod Hopper."

Quote about Him:

"Let Van from his cooler of silver drink wine

And lounge on his cushioned settee;

Our man on his buckeye bench can recline

Content with hard cider is he!"

-Whig campaign song

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