Benjamin Harrison
Burial Location Visited President Grave #
Indianapolis, Indiana August 20, 2004 15th Visited

My visit to Indianapolis' Crown
Hill Cemetery fell on August 20,
2004, which happened to be the
171st anniversary of Benjamin
Harrison's birth.

Harrison is buried between his two spouses.
His first wife, First Lady Caroline Harrison,
passed away less than five months before
the end of his term. In 1896 the widower
and former president wed Caroline's niece,
Mary Scott Dimmick.

As is the case with the other deceased
presidents, a wreath is laid at Harrison's
grave every year to commemorate his
birthday. My father and I missed the
ceremony, which was held the next day.

Benjamin Harrison has the unique distinction
of being the only grandson of a U.S. president
to be elected to the same office himself. His
great-grandfather, also named Benjamin,
signed the Declaration of Independence.

*** Interesting Facts ***

* Born in 1833 on his grandfather's Ohio estate, Benjamin Harrison spent the early years of his life on the family farm. Originally enrolling in Farmer's College near Cincinnati, Harrison graduated from Miami University (located in Ohio, not Florida) in 1852. Although he subsequently began to study law, his studies were cut short by his marriage to Caroline Lavina Scott. In 1854, the couple relocated to Indianapolis, where Harrison was admitted to the bar. He then joined forces with a man named William Wallace and opened a law office, which Wallace left in 1860. Harrison formed another partnership, this time with William Fishback, and created the law firm Fishback and Harrison. In 1862, Harrison joined the Union Army as a second lieutenant. He fought in several small battles in Kentucky before fighting in the battles of Atlanta and Peachtree Creek. Eventually rising to the rank of brigadier general, he remained in the army through the duration of the Civil War.

* Even in the 1800s it was not uncustomary to see four-legged creatures roaming the grounds of the White House, or even inside the building itself. The Harrison family brought to Washington a goat named Old Whiskers, who was usually found hitched to a cart and giving rides to the president's grandchildren. One day, without warning, Old Whiskers left the White House grounds and bolted down Pennsylvania Avenue with the Harrison grandchildren in tow. The president then ran down the street after the goat, creating quite a sight for spectators, not to mention an exhausting workout for the commander-in-chief.

* It was during Harrison's tenure as president (in 1891 specifically) that the Executive Mansion was equipped with electricity. Now the building no longer needed to be filled with candles, as light bulbs provided it with necessary light. However, the president and first lady feared that if they touched the switches they would be electrocuted, and instead left the lights on, even as they slept.

* Known as the "Human Iceberg", Harrison was definitely not one of the most friendly presidents. Those who met with him often described him as uptight, distant, and very formal. One of the more famous instances of his coldness came to light after his passing in 1901. Harrison's first wife, Caroline, had succumbed to tuberculosis in October of 1892, and had left the president a widower. Four years later, in 1896, he married Mary Lord Dimmick, who, on top of being Caroline's niece, was twenty-five years younger than he was. His children, Russell Harrison and Mary Harrison McKee, became enraged with their father, and he responded by leaving them out of his will, giving his possessions instead to his second wife and their young daughter.

First Lady: Caroline Scott Harrison (1889-1892)

                 Mary Harrison McKee (1892-1893)

  - Spouse: Caroline Scott Harrison (m. 1853-1892)

                 Mary Lord Dimmick Harrison (m. 1896-1901)

Political Party:
Republican Party

Vice President: Levi Parsons Morton

Last Words: "Are the doctors here? Doctor... my lungs."

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