Unit Study Supplement: William Henry Harrison, U.S. 9th President
William Henry Harrison was the ninth president of the United States, serving only a month in office before, unfortunately, becoming the first U.S. President to die in office. Harrison was a veteran of the army and served many years in politics, including as Governor of the Indiana Territory.
Born and raised in Virginia, Harrison attended some school before entering the army, then entered politics afterwards, becoming a secretary of territory, representative and took on many other positions. Today, we will be exploring some facts about William Henry Harrison’s presidency and life.
William Henry Harrison Fast Facts
|Born||February 9, 1773|
|Death||April 4, 1841|
|State of Birth||Virginia|
|Names of Spouse||Anna Tuthill Symmes|
|Served as President||March 4, 1841, to April 4, 1841|
|Age When Elected to Office||68|
|Vice Presidents||John Tyler|
William Henry Harrison Timeline
William Henry Harrison was born on February 9, 1773, at Berkeley, his family’s plantation near Richmond, 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.
In 1795, Harrison married Anna Tuthill Symmes (1775-1864), whose father was a judge and wealthy landowner in Ohio.
After Harrison resigned from the Army in 1798, President John Adams (1735-1826) named him secretary of the Northwest Territory, a region encompassing the present-day states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota. The following year, Harrison became the Northwest Territory’s first congressional delegate.
In 1800, Congress created the Indiana Territory from part of the Northwest Territory, and Harrison became governor of the new territory.
In 1811, at the Battle of Tippecanoe, in Indiana, Harrison’s forces fought off followers of the powerful Shawnee leader Tecumseh
After a dozen years as governor of the Indiana TerIn 1814, Harrison resigned from the Army as a major general, and moved with his family to a farm in North Bend, Ohio. Harrison rejoined the Army when the War of 1812 began. He was made a brigadier general and placed in charge of the Army of the Northwest.
Two years later, Harrison was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio. In 1819, he became a state senator. Starting in 1825, he spent three years as a U.S. senator.
- 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.
- Four weeks later he was dead from pneumonia. Harrison was succeeded by his vice president, John Tyler, who earned the nickname “His Accidency.”
Interesting Facts About William Henry Harrison
- He was the last president born before the United States became independent from Great Britain.
- When William asked his future wife’s father if he could marry his daughter, he refused. As a result, William and Anna eloped and got married in secret.
- The plantation that Harrison lived on during childhood was attacked during the Revolutionary War.
- William Henry Harrison was the youngest of seven children.
- Harrison enjoyed learning and was always striving to learn more. In fact, he was tutored at home and then again when he went off to college.
- During his college years, William received a classical education at his time at Hampden-Sydney College from 1787-1790.
- His father, Benjamin Harrison (1726-91) was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and governor of Virginia.
- Although William wanted to make his dad proud, becoming a doctor was not what he had a passion for. When William’s dad died in 1791, he left medical school to pursue the military career he always wanted.
- The great Indian leader, Tecumseh, was killed at the Battle of the Thames.
- William’s grandson, Benjamin Harrison, became the 23rd President of the United States.
- Harrison served the shortest presidency term
- His nickname was Old Tippecanoe, famous for his victory over the Native Americans at Tippecanoe.
Hands-On Activities for William Henry Harrison Unit Study
Now that you’ve learned about William Henry Harrison’s accomplishments, try out some of these ideas, which we’ve organized by grade level, to enhance your William Henry Harrison Presidency Facts study.
Elementary William Henry Harrison Activities
- Harrison spent his time after being involved in the army, very active in politics. He started the Harrison Land Act. Research and write down what was the Harrison Land Act and how it affects you.
- Harrison grew up on a plantation in Virginia. Print out a map and color in states that have the largest amounts of land used for farming.
Middle School William Henry Harrison Activities
- Harrison was a active general in the War of 1812. Write a short summary on the causes of the war.
- Harrison’s nickname was, Tippecanoe. Name 10 other presidents with nicknames and color code them on a printed map.
High School William Henry Harrison Activities
- Harrison’s inaugural speech was the longest one on record. Research his speech, and write a report on what the main points were.
- Harrison’s family was prominent in politics. Research his relatives and report on what they did in politics and their effect on today’s politics.
Quick William Henry Harrison Spelling Words
Additional Learning Links for William Henry Harrison
Want to extend your American presidents unit study even further? The following learning resources offer even more interesting facts about William Henry Harrison’s life and times and will also give your homeschoolers the opportunity to test their knowledge of what they’ve learned so far.