President HARRISON William Henry[1, 2]

Male 1773 - 1841  (68 years)

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  • Name HARRISON William Henry 
    Prefix President 
    Born 9 Feb 1773  Berkeley, Albemarle, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Gender Male 
    _UID 83A10D38EB9ED5118A064445535400009899 
    Died 4 Apr 1841  Washington, District of Columbia Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    • Died at the White House of pneumonia.
    Buried Aft 4 Apr 1841  North Bend, Hamilton, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    • Harrison Tomb opposite Congress Green Cemetery.
    • William Henry Harrison, (1773-1841), 9th President of the United States. The oldest president up to that time, to be inaugurated, he was also the first to die in office, surviving only one month. Harrison's Indian fighting and treaty making had secured the Old Northwest for American settlement and established the reputation that led him to the White House. He was the first presidential candidate to campaign actively for office. The "Log Cabin Campaign" of 1840, in which Harrison, a Whig, was pitted against the Democratic incumbent Martin Van Buren, was a spectacle of slogan and slander.

      Early Life

      Born at Berkeley plantation on the James River in Charles City county, Va., on Feb. 9, 1773, Harrison considered himself a "child of the Revolution." The youngest son of Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, he was privately tutored and acquired sufficient knowledge of grammar and classics to meet entrance requirements at Hampden-Sydney College in the late 1780's. Although he never completed the course, he claimed proficiency "in belles lettres information & particularly in history."

      Military Service

      After an interval of studying medicine in Richmond and Philadelphia in 1790 and 1791, Harrison decided on a military career, and on Aug. 16, 1791, he was commissioned an ensign in the First Regiment of Infantry. Although only 18, he recruited a company of 80 men, who were persuaded to hazard their lives fighting Indians in the western wilderness for $2 a month. Leaving Philadelphia in September 1791, the young ensign marched his recruits over the Allegheny Mountains to Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh), where they took boats down the Ohio River to Fort Washington (Cincinnati).

      Harrison remained in the Army until May 31, 1798, rising to the rank of captain. As aide-de-camp to Gen. Anthony Wayne, he was cited for bravery at the Battle of Fallen Timbers on Aug. 20, 1794, and the following year he witnessed and signed the Treaty of Greenville. He then was ordered to Fort Washington, where he served for a time as commandant.

      Marriage and Family

      On Nov. 22, 1795, Harrison married Anna Symmes, daughter of Judge John Cleves Symmes, a speculator with a patent for a vast acreage of Ohio land. The judge apparently withheld his blessing, claiming later that his daughter had "made rather a run away match of it." The young captain, the judge complained, "can neither bleed, plead, nor preach, and if he could plow I should be satisfied." Over the next 19 years the couple had 10 children, one of whom, John Scott Harrison, became the father of Benjamin Harrison, the 23d president.

      In the Northwest Territory

      After resigning from the Army, Harrison moved his family from Fort Washington 14 miles (22.5 km) down the Ohio River to North Bend, where he bought 160 acres (65 hectares) for $450. On June 28, 1798, President John Adams appointed him secretary of the Northwest Territory, and the following year the territorial legislature elected him its delegate to Congress by a vote of 11 to 10. Harrison vigorously supported Western interests in the House. His Land Act of 1800 provided for the purchase of small tracts with liberal credit, thus freeing settlers from dependence on land speculators.

      Governor of Indiana Territory

      When the Northwest Territory was divided in 1800, President Adams appointed Harrison governor of the Indiana Territory. He moved his family to Vincennes, the territorial capital, and built Grouseland, a mansion similar to his birthplace. Here on the Wabash River he spent the most satisfying years of his life, serving as governor from January 1801 until December 1812.

      Political dexterity enabled him to manage appointments from both the Federalist John Adams and the Republican Thomas Jefferson. His supporters, called "Virginia aristocrats" by their enemies, hoped to build a plantation society, a course that would have required repeal of the antislavery provisions of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. The register of the land office, John Badollet, one of Harrison's principal opponents, denounced him as a "proconsul" and "unrelenting tyrant," who attempted to introduce "his darling and never abandoned plan of slavery."

      In a series of Indian treaties Harrison opened a huge new area for settlement. By the Treaty of Fort Wayne (1809) the Delaware, Miami, Potawatomi, and Eel Indians ceded approximately 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares) in return for annuities ranging from $200 to $500 to each tribe.


      Continued settlement, however, invited Indian hostility. Encouraged by the British, the northwestern tribes rallied behind the Shawnee warriors Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet, to halt the invasion of their hunting grounds. A dramatic confrontation between Harrison and the brothers at Grouseland in August 1810 failed to reconcile conflicting

      Indian and American interests.

      At dawn on Nov. 7, 1811, at Tippecanoe Creek, Harrison's army of 800 men was surprised by Indians under the command of the Prophet. The Americans suffered casualties of 61 dead and 127 wounded, but they managed to drive off the Indians and then went on to destroy the deserted Prophet's Town nearby. Later, the Indian confederation regrouped under Tecumseh and fought on the side of the British during the War of 1812. Harrison was both praised and condemned for his performance at Tippecanoe, but the battle was to be used to political advantage by "Old Tip."

      The Thames

      In August 1812, following the declaration of war against Britain and William Hull's surrender of Detroit, Harrison was appointed brigadier general in charge of the Northwestern Army, and the following spring he was promoted to major general. Demonstrating a concern for logistics acquired during his apprenticeship under Wayne, Harrison fortified Fort Meigs at the Maumee Rapids southwest of Detroit and staunchly withstood two sieges by the British and Indians. After Lake Erie was cleared of the British by Capt. Oliver Hazard Perry, Harrison recaptured Detroit and pursued the enemy into Canada. On Oct. 5, 1813, his forces decisively defeated the British and Indians at Moravian Town on the Thames River. Tecumseh was killed, and the British commander, Gen. Henry Proctor, fled. Harrison's campaign ended the hostile Indian confederation and secured the northwestern border.

      Entry into Politics

      Resigning his commission on May 31, 1814, Harrison returned to North Bend to oversee his farm and settle the tangled financial estate of his father-in-law. He became a vestryman of Christ Episcopal Church in Cincinnati and a trustee of Cincinnati College. From 1816 to 1819 he represented his district in Congress. Failing to be appointed minister to Russia in 1819, he ran for the Ohio state Senate and served one term (1819-1821). After a series of unsuccessful attempts to obtain the Ohio governorship and seats in both houses of Congress, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1825. He served three years and was chairman of the committee on military affairs and the militia.According to John Quincy Adams, he displayed "a lively and active, but shallow mind."

      Colombian Interlude

      In 1828, as a supporter of the Adams administration, Harrison was rewarded with an
      appointment as minister to Colombia. Reaching Bogotá in February 1829, he was recalled a month later by Adams' successor, Andrew Jackson, but continued to function as minister until his replacement arrived in September. His stern republicanism, however, proved uncongenial to the prevailing Colombian government headed by Gen. Simón Bolívar. Once relieved of office, Harrison wrote a patronizing letter to Bolívar, declaring that "the strongest of all government is that which is most free." This epigram aroused controversy in Colombia but proved to be useful in Harrison's later political career.

      The Campaign Trail

      The Jacksonian era was one of adversity for Harrison. A persistent office seeker, he found himself obliged in 1834 to accept a position as clerk of the court of common pleas in Hamilton county, Ohio, in order to cope with financial troubles. Having aspirations for the presidency, he promoted his candidacy by tours of Indiana and Illinois during the summer of 1835. Anniversary celebrations of the battles of Tippecanoe and the Thames glorified his military career, friendly editors publicized his political availability, and local Whig conventions in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, and Indiana pledged their support.

      When friends of Daniel Webster suggested Harrison as a Whig running mate, Old Tip proclaimed that he would not run for Vice President "on that ticket or any other." During
      the summer of 1836 he broke with tradition and openly campaigned at rallies throughout the country. Because the Whigs could not agree on a candidate, their vote was divided among Harrison, Webster, and Hugh L. White. Harrison, nevertheless, carried 7 states, losing to Democrat Van Buren by an Electoral vote of 170 to 73.

      The Log Cabin Campaign

      For the next four years Harrison waged "a campaign by continuation," cultivating the support of war veterans and of Whig and Anti-Masonic party leaders. At the national Whig convention in Harrisburg in December 1839, his delegates rejected their acknowledged leaders, Webster and Henry Clay, and nominated Harrison. The only "ability" they sought, said Sen. Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, was "availability." No platform was adopted, and advisers told Old Tip to keep his lips "hermetically sealed" on the issues of slavery, the tariff, and the U. S. Bank. To gain support in the South, the Whigs nominated John Tyler, a former senator from Virginia, for the vice presidency. Northern and Southern Whigs were urged to rally behind "Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too."

      At their convention in Baltimore in May 1840, the Democrats renominated President Van Buren. Hard times following the Panic of 1837 made Democratic prospects gloomy. The Liberty party nominated James G. Birney.

      Democratic campaigners wept crocodile tears for Clay and ridiculed Old Tip, now past 67, as "Granny," belittling his military record and accusing him of senility. "Give him a barrel of hard cider, and settle a pension of $2,000 a year on him," advised one reporter, "and ... he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin ... and study moral philosophy."

      Whig editors exploited this tactless observation by proclaiming Harrison "the log-cabin and hard-cider candidate." Van Buren was unfairly stereotyped as a dandy who preened himself before huge mirrors in the presidential palace. Whig rhymsters dramatized the contrast:Let Van from his coolers of silver drink wine And lounge on his cushioned settee, Our man on a buckeye bench can recline, Content with hard cider is he. Once again Harrison conducted a vigorous campaign, delivering at least 23 speeches ranging from one to three hours in length. Partisans measured the size of his rallies by acres, and John Quincy Adams noted a state of political agitation "never before witnessed."

      The irrational campaign brought out an unprecedented vote of 2,400, 000--a 50% increase over that of 1836. Harrison carried 19 of the 26 states, winning an electoral total of 234 to Van Buren's 60, although his popular majority was less than 150,000. Tolling the knell of Jacksonianism, Horace Greeley hoped for an end to "official insolence and unblushing corruption."

      On March 4, 1841, in one of the longest inaugural addresses ever delivered, Harrison promised not to run for a second term--a promise that proved to be unnecessary. Harassed and fatigued by the demands of office seekers, he accomplished little during his one month in the presidency. Having contracted pneumonia in late March, he died in Washington, D.C., on April 4, 1841.
    Person ID I18396  Noyes Family Genealogy
    Last Modified 2 Apr 2005 

    Father HARRISON Benjamin,   b. 1726,   d. 1791  (Age 65 years) 
    Mother BASSETT Elizabeth,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married Bef 1751  [3
    • Based on birthdate of first child.
    Family ID F7095  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family SYMMES Anna Tuthill,   b. 25 Jul 1775, Morristown, Middlesex, New Jersey Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Feb 1864, North Bend, Hamilton, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 88 years) 
    Married 25 Nov 1795  North Bend, Hamilton, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    • Married in the home of her father, John Cleves Symmes.
     1. HARRISON John Cleves Symmes,   b. 28 Oct 1798, Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Oct 1830, Sugar Grove, Boone, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 32 years)
     2. HARRISON John Scott,   b. 1804,   d. 1887  (Age 83 years)
    Last Modified 28 Jan 2019 
    Family ID F7094  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 9 Feb 1773 - Berkeley, Albemarle, Virginia Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 25 Nov 1795 - North Bend, Hamilton, Ohio Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 4 Apr 1841 - Washington, District of Columbia Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - Aft 4 Apr 1841 - North Bend, Hamilton, Ohio Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    William H. Harrison
    William H. Harrison

  • Sources 
    1. [S68] Book-John Pike of Newbury, Mass., p.144.

    2. [S1177] Internet-Online Presidents,

    3. [S68] Book-John Pike of Newbury, Mass., p.269.

    4. [S68] Book-John Pike of Newbury, Mass., p.270.