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book cover - tpbol

April 2017

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book cover - tpbol

Presidential wedding anniversary: the second Benjamin Harrisons

On this date in 1896, the grandson of a US President married the niece of a US First Lady. Sounds kind of ho-hum, until we realize that grandson was himself a President -- Benjamin Harrison -- and the First Lady in question was his first wife, Caroline. On this date, 121 years ago, three years after he left office, 23rd President Benjamin Harrison married Mary Scott Lord Dimmick, who was 25 years younger than he, and the niece of his deceased first wife (Caroline died October 25, 1892, about a week before Benjamin lost his bid for re-election). Mary had been living in the White House, helping her aunt with her First Lady duties, and kept on First Ladying until the end of his term. They claimed to have fallen in love sometime after he left office. Mary also had known death: her first husband died three months after they had married in 1881.

Harrison's grown children, Russell and Mary, were not at all pleased with the pairing (the fact that their new stepmother was younger than them probably didn't help matters), and they refused to attend the wedding (which did have Harrison's former Vice President and several former Cabinet members in attendance). The second Mrs. Harrison had one daughter, in 1897, who grew up to marry her father's Secretary of State's grandnephew. Benjamin died in 1901, Mary in 1948, and they're buried together (along with the first Mrs. Harrison) in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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