"President" William Henry HARRISON
February 9, 1773-April 4, 1841
Father: Benjamin HARRISON V (April 5, 1726-April 24, 1791)
- BIRTH: February 9, 1773, Berkley, Charles City, Virginia
Mother: Elizabeth BASSETT (December 13, 1730-1792)
Anna Tuthill SYMMES (July 25, 1775-February 25, 1864)
- MARRIAGE: November 22, 1795, Berkley, Charles City, Virginia
- FACTS: William Henry Harrison had the shortest term in office of any American president: 32 days. Harrison was the son of Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. William made a name for himself in the early Indian Wars and was rewarded with the governorship of the Indiana Territories, where he served from 1800-1812. He is most famous for his victory over the Shawnee chief Tecumseh at the battle at Tippecanoe Creek (November 7, 1811). The incident earned Harrison the nickname "Old Tippecanoe." After serving in the House and the Senate, Harrison won the presidency in 1840. He gave a 100-minute inaugural speech in the snow without hat or overcoat, caught pneumonia, and died a month later. He was succeeded by his vice president, John Tyler.
- DEATH: April 4, 1841, Washington, District of Columbia
Elizabeth HARRISON (1796-1846)
John Cleves Symmes HARRISON (October 28, 1798-1830)
Lucy HARRISON (1800-1826)
William Henry HARRISON JR (1802-1836)
John Scott HARRISON (October 4, 1804-May 25, 1878)
Benjamin HARRISON (1806-1840)
Mary Symmes HARRISON (1809-1842)
Carter Bassett HARRISON (1811-1839)
Anna Tuthill HARRISON (1813-1845)
James Findley HARRISON (1814-1817)
Benjamin HARRISON IV
|Benjamin HARRISON V |
| |Anne CARTER
|--"President" William Henry HARRISON
| Colonel William BASSETT
|Elizabeth BASSETT |
General William Henry Harrison fought against the Indian Chief Tecumseh at the Battle of Tippecanoe on 7 Nov 1811. The battle was indecisive but Harrison finally defeated Tecumseh in the Battle of Thames on 5 Oct 1813. Chief Tecumseh was killed in the battle. On the strength of this victory, William Henry Harrison was elected President of the United States.
After his death, Tecumseh passed a spell which became known as "The Curse of Tecumseh". Under this curse, Tecumseh decreed that any man elected President of the United States in a year divisible by 20 would die in office.
Under this curse, seven presidents have died in office. These were William Henry Harrison, who was elected in 1840, Lincoln, who was elected in 1860, Garfield, who was elected in 1880, McKinley, who was elected in 1900, Harding, who was elected in 1920, Roosevelt, who was elected in 1940 and Kennedy, who was elected in 1960.
History students find it useful to remember this, because only one other president has died in office. That was Zachary Taylor, who died in 1850 before Tecumseh had settled on the details of his curse.
The first to break the curse was President Reagan, who was elected in 1980 and who was shot, but the bullet missed his heart by a quarter of an inch. Reagan remained technically alive, although brain dead.
Most agree that the curse is now over and that President George W. Bush will be safe. In addition, since Bush was not elected but was appointed by the US Supreme Court, the famous Curse of Tecumseh may not apply.
However, there are a few who still wonder. How long do old Indian curses last anyway?
SOURCE: Family Trees of Thomas Jefferson and Other Famous Americans
INDEX OF SURNAMES
HTML created by Colleen Fair Keenan on 08/07/2006.