The New Student's Reference Work/Harrison, William Henry

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WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON

Harrison, William Henry, grandfather of Benjamin Harrison and ninth president, was born in Charles City County, Va., Feb. 9, 1773. His father was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, which, as chairman of committee, he reported to Congress on July 4 of 1776. After his father's death William joined the army which Wayne was leading against the northwestern Indians, and showed great gallantry at the battle on the Miami in 1794. He left the army in 1798. He represented the Northwest Territory as a delegate in Congress in 1799-1800, and succeeded in passing an important law relating to the sale of the Federal land in small parcels; and in 1800, when Indiana Territory was formed, which included the present states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, he was appointed governor. He labored bravely to prevent war with the Indians, but was compelled to quell Tecumseh's outbreak and beat off a fierce and treacherous attack, which ended in an important victory at Tippecanoe on Nov. 7, 1811. In the War of 1812, as chief commander in the northwest, he repulsed the British forces under Proctor, and, aided by Perry's victory on Lake Erie pursued the invaders into Canada, where he totally routed them in the battle of the Thames on Oct. 5, 1813. He was elected to Congress in 1816, becoming United States senator in 1824. In 1828 he went to Colombia as ambassador, was recalled in 1829, and for 12 years was clerk in a county-court in Ohio. In 1836 he received 73 electoral votes for the presidency against Van Buren's 170; but four years later, the Whig party having united, he defeated Van Buren, obtaining 234 votes to the latter's 60. He died one month after his inauguration, on April 4, 1841, John Tyler, the vice-president, succeeding him.