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William Henry Harrison

9th President of the United States (1841)

William Henry Harrison portrait
William Henry Harrison (1773-1841)
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

The President of the United States serves as the head of the Executive Branch of our United States Government. Over forty men have been privileged to serve in this role.

The portrait of William Henry Harrison to the right was painted by Albert Gallatin Hoit (1809-1856) a New England portraitist.

This oil on canvas portrait depicts William Henry Harrison, in 1840, shortly before he took office of President of the United States..

This 30.25" x 25.125" (sight) portrait hangs in the America's Presidents exhibition on the second floor of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

William Henry Harrison Portrait

William Henry Harrison (1773-1841)
Date of birth: February 9, 1773
Birth place: Berkeley plantation, Charles City County, Virginia
Mother: Elizabeth Bassett
Father: Benjamin Harrison V
Education: Hampden-Sydney College
Profession: Military
Religion: Episcopalian
Marriage: November 25, 1795, to Anna Tuthill Symmes (1775-1864)
Children: Elizabeth Bassett (1796-1846), John Cleves Symmes (1798-1830), Lucy Singleton (1800-1826), William Henry (1802-1838), John Scott (1806-1840), Mary Symmes (1809-1842), Carter Bassett (1811-1839), Anna Tuthill (1813-1865), James Findlay (1814-1817)
Political party: Whig
Presidential term: 1841 (32 days)
Nickname(s): "Old Tippecanoe"; "Old Tip"
Date of death: April 4, 1841
Place of death: Washington, D.C.
Resting place: William Henry Harrison Memorial State Park, North Bend, Ohio
Source: The Whitehouse: Presidents. William Henry Harrison 29 November 2009 <www.whitehouse.gov>.
Source: Miller Center of Public Affairs: The University of Virginia. William Henry Harrison 29 November 2009 <www.millercenter.virginia.edu>.
Source: The National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian Institution, www.npg.si.edu, February 21, 2007

William Henry Harrison's presidency

  • March 4, 1841: William Henry Harrison inaugurated as the ninth President of the United States.
  • April 4, 1841: Harrison died of pneumonia only one month after his inauguration, making him the first President to die while in office.

Source: Miller Center of Public Affairs: The University of Virginia. William Henry Harrison <www.millercenter.virginia.edu>.

William Henry Harrison's cabinet
Vice President: John Tyler (1841)
Secretary of State: Daniel Webster (1841)
Secretary of War: John Bell (1841)
Postmaster General: Francis Granger (1841)
Secretary of the Treasury: Thomas Ewing (1841)
Attorney General: John J. Crittenden (1841)
Secretary of the Navy: George E. Badger (1841)
Source: Miller Center of Public Affairs, The University of Virginia, www.millercenter.virginia.edu, February 21, 2007

William Henry Harrison Presidential $1 Coin First President, YEAR-YEAR

William Henry Harrison Presidential Coin
U.S. Mint image

The fifth U.S. President to hail from Virginia, William Henry Harrison was born in 1773. When he was a small child, his father, Benjamin Harrison, signed the American Declaration of Independence. During a distinguished Army career, Harrison served as secretary of the Northwest Territory and governor of the Indiana Territory. He gained national fame and the nickname "Old Tippecanoe" from victories at the Battle of Tippecanoe and the Battle of the Thames against American Indians led by Shawnee chief Tecumseh.

Harrison served in the Ohio State Senate, as a U.S. Representative and Senator from Ohio, and as U.S. minister to Colombia. In 1840, the Whig party tapped Harrison to run against incumbent President Martin Van Buren, who had become unpopular because of a lingering economic depression. "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" (John Tyler was the vice presidential candidate) became the first and still one of the most memorable of presidential campaign slogans. Harrison defeated Van Buren in a landslide. At 68, Harrison was the oldest president to have served in the office up until that time.

In a bracing March rainstorm, Harrison gave the longest inaugural speech in U.S. history, lasting an hour and 45 minutes. Wearing neither hat nor coat, he caught a severe cold from the long exposure to the elements. Shortly thereafter, he developed pneumonia. He died exactly one month after his inauguration, becoming the first president to die in office.

Harrison's grandson, Benjamin Harrison, later became the 23rd President of the United States.

Coinage Legislation under President William Henry Harrison

  • No coinage legislation was enacted under President Harrison.

United States Mint Directors appointed by President Washington

  • President William Henry Harrison did not appoint a Director of the United States Mint.

Anna Harrison First Spouse $10 Gold Coin - First Lady (1841)

Anna Harrison First Lady Coin
U.S. Mint image
Anna Harrison First Lady Coin (reverse)
U.S. Mint image

Although born in relative prosperity in New Jersey, Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison lived most of her life as a pioneer in the Ohio and Indiana frontier territories, following her husband, William Henry Harrison, during his long military and political career. William was frequently away for long stretches of time, and she cared for their business ventures and their ten children alone. Relations with the local Native Americans were tense, and the threat of attack was ever-present. Even with these dangers, she was an able hostess who cooked and served meals for soldiers, dignitaries and American Indian leaders alike. Councils with local Native Americans were frequently held in her home, and their encampments set up on her front lawn.

Harrison was well-educated for a woman of her era, having attended the best schools for girls in the northeast. In fact, she was the first presidential spouse with a documented formal education and had a lifelong love of learning. An avid reader, she especially enjoyed any political journals and newspapers she could find on the frontier.

Before she could arrive in Washington to join her husband at the White House, President Harrison died on April 4, 1841. It was just one month after he became gravely ill after his one-hour and forty-minute inaugural address delivered in the blustery March wind.

Reverse Design

Children and education were central to Anna Harrison's life. On the frontier, she educated her children herself. She and her husband started the Jefferson Academy (named for Thomas Jefferson) in Vincennes, Indiana, in 1801, for students eight to 17 years of age. The school charged $15 a year in tuition, but Native Americans were allowed to attend free of charge. Upon moving to North Bend, Ohio, the Harrisons started a school there as well. The reverse of the Anna Harrison First Spouse $10 Gold Coin depicts Mrs. Harrison sharing her passion for teaching with her students.

Source: The United States Mint, Anna Harrison First Spouse $10 Gold Coin: First Lady, 1841. 29 November 2009 <www.usmint.gov>.

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