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Harrison, William Henry, 1773-1841



  • Existence: February 9, 1773 - April 4, 1841

Biographical Information

William Henry Harrison was born in Berkeley, Virginia, in 1773, to an aristocratic family. He was commissioned into the First Infantry of the Regular Army in 1791 and moved to the Northwest Territory, where he served as aide-de-camp to General Anthony Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Harrison became Secretary of the Northwest Territory after his resignation from the Army in 1798 and was its first delegate to Congress.

In 1801 he became Governor of the Indiana Territory, which was separated from the Northwest Territory. Harrison governed the Indiana Territory for 12 years, during which time eastern settlers pressed into Indian lands and defended their claims against relatiation. Harrison famously led a thousand men against Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet, who had been building up an Indian confederation to prevent further encroachment from the settlers. The Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811 was a victory for Harrison and his men and established Harrison's reputation.

Harrison returned to the military during the War of 1812 as a brigadier general commanding the Army in the Northwest. Harrison saw multiple victories over British and Indian forces, including the killing of Tecumseh. After the war, Harrison retired again from the military.

Harrison was chosen by the Whigs as their 1840 candidate for President of the United States, drawing upon his reputation as an American hero. Harrison won the election and was inaugurated in February of 1841, but died of pneumonia weeks later on April 4, 1841. His grandson, Benjamin Harrison, also became president, serving from 1889 to 1893.


Found in 1 Collection or Record:

William Henry Harrison collection

 Collection — Box: Box 1
Identifier: MSP 228
Scope and Contents The William Henry Harrison collection contains materials related to William Henry Harrison, his presidential campaign in 1840, and the Battle of Tippecanoe.  Materials include campaign songsheets, campaign ribbon, political document, newspaper clipping, and commemorative plate.
Dates: 1840 - 1966; Majority of material found in 1840 - 1840