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William Henry Harrison
9th U.S. President
William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States, an American military officer and politician, and the last President born as a British subject. He was also the first president to die in office.
Born: February 9, 1773, Charles City County, Virginia, VA
Died: April 4, 1841, Washington, D.C.
Vice president: John Tyler (1841)
Political party: Whig Party
Presidential term: March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
Grandchildren: Benjamin Harrison, John Irwin Harrison

William Henry Harrison (1773-1841), America’s ninth president, served just one month in office before dying of pneumonia. His tenure, from March 4, 1841, to April 4, 1841, is the shortest of any U.S. president. Harrison, who was born into a prominent Virginia family, joined the Army as a young man and fought American Indians on the U.S. frontier. He then became the first congressional delegate from the Northwest Territory, a region encompassing much of the present-day Midwest. In the early 1800s, Harrison served as governor of the Indiana Territory and worked to open American Indian lands to white settlers. He became a war hero after fighting Indian forces at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. Harrison went on to serve as a U.S. congressman and senator from Ohio. He was elected to the White House in 1840, but passed away a month after his inauguration, the first U.S. president to die in office.

William Henry Harrison was born on February 9, 1773, at Berkeley, his family’s plantation near Richmond, Virginia. His father, Benjamin Harrison (1726-91) was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and governor of Virginia. The younger Harrison attended Hampden-Sydney College and studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, before dropping out in 1791 to join the Army.
n 1836, Harrison was a Whig Party candidate for the U.S. presidency (the recently established Whigs ran three presidential candidates in different parts of the nation that year). Harrison lost the election to Democrat Martin Van Buren (1782-1862). Four years later, the Whigs nominated Harrison again, with Virginia politician John Tyler (1790-1862) as his running mate. During the campaign, a pro-Democrat newspaper mocked Harrison, then in his late 60s, for being too old to run for president, and said: “Give him a barrel of hard [alcoholic] cider, and… a pension of two thousand [dollars] a year… and… he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin.”

The Whigs used this statement to mount a “log cabin campaign,” positioning Harrison, or “Old Tip,” as a symbol of the common man and promoting his image as an Indian fighter on the frontier. (His supporters used log cabin and cider barrel imagery on campaign memorabilia, including log-cabin-shaped bottles of whiskey from the E.C. Booz distillery, which led to “booze” becoming a common American term for alcohol.) Van Buren, who was unpopular with Americans for his mismanagement of the financial crisis known as the Panic of 1837, was painted by his opponents as an out-of-touch, wealthy elite. In fact, he came from humble roots while Harrison was well-educated and hailed from an established family. However, the tactics worked: Harrison won the presidency with an electoral vote of 234-60 and approximately 53 percent of the popular vote.

The 68-year-old Harrison was sworn into office on March 4, 1841. He was the oldest U.S. president until Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) was elected in 1980 at age 69. Harrison gave a lengthy inaugural address–the longest in history–and opted not to wear a coat or hat, despite the inclement weather. Four weeks later he was dead from pneumonia. Harrison was succeeded by his vice president, John Tyler, who earned the nickname “His Accidency.”

First lady Anna Harrison, who outlived her husband by two decades, became the first presidential widow to receive a pension from Congress–a one-time payment of $25,000, the equivalent of one year of her husband’s White House salary. She was also given free postage on all her mail.

The former president and his wife are buried at the William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial in North Bend, Ohio.