Friday, February 9, 2024

William Henry Harrison: Oldest President at the Time

  __By Tiffany Amber Stockton__

In January, The City That Never Sleeps received the spotlight focus. Today, I thought I'd cover a little known president and why not much is known about him.


American President William Henry Harrison came into this world on February 9, 1773, in Charles City County, Virginia. Coming from a very prominent and successful Virginia family, he received the best education possible by his parents. Harrison’s father desired that he pursue the medical field, and Harrison proceeded to study at the University of Pennsylvania.

He loathed the medical field, but he still obeyed his father’s wishes. The death of his father in 1791 changed many things. Since his parents financially funded his education, he no longer had the necessary funds to continue his studies and became rather impoverished. 

Harrison searched for a new path in life and found it in the U.S. military. From Virginia governor Henry Lee, Harrison received a commission as an ensign in the Army, and he travelled west with the U.S. 1st Infantry regiment to serve under General Anthony Wayne.

Harrison rose quickly with a natural talent for leading soldiers, and the General appointed Harrison as his aide-de-camp. As Wayne’s personal assistant and secretary, Harrison learned the skills needed to command an army on America’s frontier.

Almost 20 years later, Harrison put these skills to use as a General commanding troops during the War of 1812. Serving in the Northwest Theater of war in and around present-day Ohio and Michigan, Harrison led America’s troops against the British and Indians. He famously forced them back into Canada and won a crushing victory at the Battle of the Thames.

Following the war, Harrison used the fame he had won in battle to catapult himself into service as a politician, serving as a Senator, Governor of Indiana, and Minister to Columbia. His moniker of Tippacanoe during his military service gave him political advantage, and he used the slogan, "Tippacanoe and Tyler too!"

In 1840, Harrison was elected President and became the oldest Commander and Chief until Ronald Reagan.

After his election, Harrison was determined that his inauguration speech would be the best possible. He spoke for one hour and 45 minutes about his agenda in the midst of terrible winter weather. Just one month later, on April 4, 1841, William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia. This unfortunately earned him the distinction of having served the shortest time ever by a U.S. President.

It also created a conundrum, as no other president had died while in office. No one knew what to do. The Vice President, John Tyler, insisted he step into the role, which he did, but the United States didn't solve the issue of succession until the passing of the 25th amendment in 1967.

Quick facts:
  • William's grandson, Benjamin, also became president, making them the only grandfather-grandson pair to serve in this role.
  • In campaign antics, a group of Whigs pushed a 10-foot ball made of tin and paper slogans of Harrison’s for hundreds of miles (and thus the phrase “get the ball rolling” began).
  • Other Whig supporters passed out whiskey in bottles which came from the E.C. Booz distillery, and from this comes the word “booze.”


* A few notable tidbits about President Harrison. Which one did you find most interesting?

* Share about a time when you thought you traveled a secure path, only to have a sudden course shift that took you somewhere completely unexpected.

* What tidbits do YOU know about any of the U.S. presidents?

** This note is for our email readers. Please do not reply via email with any comments. View the blog online and scroll down to the comments section.

Come back on the 9th of each month for my next foray into historical tidbits to share.

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Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those skills to become an award-winning, best-selling author and speaker who is also a professional copywriter/copyeditor. She loves to share life-changing products and ideas with others to help improve their lives in a variety of ways.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their two children, one dog, and three cats in southeastern Kentucky. In the 20 years she's been a professional writer, she has sold twenty-six (26) books so far and is represented by Tamela Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can find her on Facebook and GoodReads.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting today. I found it interesting that Harrison served the shortest time, and also the grandfather/grandson duo.