Author: Ronald Shafer

a free-lance writer and editor and the author of Carnival Campaign: How the Rollicking 1840 Campaign of "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" Changed Presidential Elections Forever (2016).

William Henry Harrison (1773–1841)

William Henry Harrison was inaugurated as the ninth president of the United States on March 4, 1841, but died thirty-one days later, making him the shortest-serving U.S. president. Harrison was born on February 9, 1773, at Berkeley Plantation in Charles City County to Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the fifth governor of Virginia (1781–1784), and Elizabeth Bassett Harrison. He attended Hampden-Sydney College in Prince Edward County and the School of Medicine of the College of Philadelphia (today’s University of Pennsylvania). After funding for his education was discontinued in 1791, he joined the United States Army as a low-ranking officer. He won recognition for his bravery during the Battle of Fallen Timbers (1794). On November 25, 1795, Harrison married Anna Tuthill Symmes. Harrison was appointed governor of the new Indiana Territory in 1800, where he served until 1812. As governor, he conducted treaty negotiations with Indian tribes that resulted in the cession of millions of acres of territory. Harrison served as general of the Army of the Northwest during the War of 1812 (1812–1815). He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served from October 1816, to March 3, 1819, when he was elected to the Ohio Senate (1819–1821). Harrison was the Whig Party nominee for president in 1840 and ran a groundbreaking campaign, becoming the first presidential nominee to campaign in person and to make widespread use of imagery with the “Log Cabin and Hard Cider” strategy. Harrison’s slogan, “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too,” referring to his running mate, former U.S. senator from Virginia John Tyler, became one of the most famous campaign slogans. Harrison died on April 4, 1841, making him the first U.S. president to die in office, and was buried in the William Henry Harrison tomb in North Bend, Ohio.