February 9th, 2017

book cover - tpbol

President William Henry Harrison

On this date in 1773, William Henry Harrison was born in Charles City County, Virginia. He was the youngest child of Benjamin Harrison V, who signed the Declaration of Independence. William joined the US Army at the age of 18 as an ensign. He rose to the rank of lieutenant during the Northwest Indian War, and resigned from the Army in 1797. In 1799, he was elected as the delegate representing the Northwest Territory to Congress. The next year, President John Adams appointed him governor of the Indiana Territory. He held that office until 1812, although in 1811, the Secretary of War authorized Harrison to raise an army to march against the Shawnee, in what became known as Tecumseh's War. It was for his actions at that time that he became famous for the Battle of Tippecanoe. He kept his command through the War of 1812. In 1816, he was elected to the House of Representatives, representing Ohio, where he served until 1819. Then he was elected to the Ohio State Senate, and served two years. In 1824, he was elected to the Senate, again from Ohio, but resigned in 1828 to become Minister to Colombia, though he stayed only a year and a half. After retiring to private life in 1829, Harrison was one of the four Whig candidates for President in 1836; Martin Van Buren beat them all. In 1840, Harrison was the sole Whig candidate, and defeated Van Buren. His Presidency is remembered most for its brevity: he caught cold at his inauguration, and died after one month in office. At 67, he was the oldest President to be elected until 69-year-old Ronald Reagan won the office in 1980.