April 4th, 2017

book cover - tpbol

President William Henry Harrison

On this date in 1841, 68-year-old William Henry Harrison set a probably unbeatable record, one no one else is interested in nearing, when he died in office. One month earlier, Harrison had been inaugurated as the ninth US President, the oldest (to that time) to take office. Following the oath, he gave one of the longest inaugural addresses on record, lasting more than an hour and a half (and remember, this was before there was such a thing as electronic sound amplification). It was a rainy, cold, nasty day (one of a piece with most of the weather that year, which prompted Mrs. Harrison to stay home in Ohio, planning to join her husband in the White House later in the spring). While most of our Presidents are known for what they did in office, either good or bad, for world events in which they played a part, or for their relations with other people, William Henry Harrison is the President known almost exclusively for his death.

Before his incredibly brief tenure in the White House, Harrison had been a member of the House of Representatives (1799-1800, representing the Northwest Territory), Governor of the Indiana Territory (1801-12), a general during the War of 1812, a member of the House of Representatives (1816-19, representing Ohio), a member of the Senate (1825-28, representing Ohio), and the US Minister to Colombia (1828-29).