|Cause of Death||Age||Burial Location||President Grave #|
|Pleurisy; Pneumonia||68||North Bend, Ohio||13th in my collection|
* Today, most people have forgotten about William Harrison's military conquests, as they are overshadowed by his untimely death. Harrison's inaugural address is the longest on record, being 8,444 words long, and it took nearly two hours for the 68-year-old to read. March 4th, inauguration day, was cold and very damp, yet the new president refused to wear a hat or an overcoat. Taking a walk later in the month, Harrison was unsuspectingly caught in a downpour, which lowered his immune system even further. He soon developed a cold, which was followed quickly by pneumonia. When the president became bedridden, doctors frantically used heated suction cups, opium, and traditional indian cures to heal him. Not only did all of these methods fail, but they made Harrison worse. Spending his final days in delirium, Harrison died on April 4th, becoming the first president to die in office, and bringing the shortest presidency in history to an end.
Supposedly, Harrison's death was brought on by a curse that was placed
on the presidency. During his military career the general had made many
enemies, most of them Native Americans. Among them was Tecumseh, the
Shawnee chief whose men were attacked by Harrison during the Battle of
Tippecanoe. It has been suggested that an angry Tecumseh had a curse
placed on his rival, making it so that, if elected president, Harrison
would die in office. Sure enough, after serving just a month as
commander in chief William Harrison died. The supposed "curse" did not
end there, though. From 1840 to 1960, every president who won an
election in a year that ended with a zero perished while in office (an
election is held in a year that ends in a zero every twenty years). Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Harding, Roosevelt, and
Kennedy, who were elected twenty years after one another, all died
during one of their terms. The "curse" was broken by Ronald Reagan, who
was elected in 1980, but survived and passed away fifteen years after
his presidency ended.
First Lady: Anna Symmes Harrison
- Spouse: Anna Symmes Harrison (m. 1795-1841)
Political Party: Whig Party
Vice President: John Tyler
Last Words: "Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of government. I
wish them carried out. I ask nothing more."