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Sunday, 31 May 2015

William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison was born on February 9, 1773,  the youngest of Benjamin Harrison V and Elizabeth Bassett's seven children.

William was brought up at Berkeley Plantation at Charles City County, Virginia.

Engraved portrait print c. 1800 of William Henry Harrison at age 27 

William's father was a planter and a delegate to the Continental Congress (1774–1777) who signed the Declaration of Independence. He was Governor of Virginia between 1781 and 1784.

William's older brother Carter Bassett Harrison was elected a representative of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives.

William attended the Presbyterian Hampden-Sydney College between 1787-1790. He was fluent in Latin and French.

Harrison's nickname was "Old Tippecanoe " and he was a well-respected war veteran.

Harrison was elected the ninth president of the United States in 1840, and took the oath of office on March 4, 1841.

 He was the last president born as a British subject before American Independence.

Harrison was the oldest president to take office at 68 years, 23 days, until 1981 when Ronald Reagan was a year older than Harrison. He was the last president to be born before the United States Declaration of Independence.

Harrison gave the longest inauguration speech on record, in bad, snowy weather, without wearing an overcoat or hat. A detailed statement of the Whig agenda, it lasted an hour and forty minutes.

William Henry Harrison inauguration

He caught a serious case of pneumonia as a result of his long speech in the inclement weather. Harrison tried to rest in the White House, but could not find the necessary quietness. His very busy social schedule made it hard to rest.

Harrison's doctors tried cures of applying opium, castor oil, leeches, and Virginia snakeweed. But the treatments only made the president worse.

Harrison died on April 4, 1841. He was the first President to die in office and with the shortest term served. Vice President John Tyler, becomes President upon Harrison's death.

Death of Harrison, April 4, 1841

Harrison's funeral took place in Wesley Chapel in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 7, 1841. His original interment was in Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.. He was later buried in North Bend, Ohio.

His grandson was the 23rd President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison.

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