1889 - 1893
Benjamin was born in North Bend, Ohio on August 20, 1833.
He was the eighth person in his family to be named Benjamin.
His ancestors were prominent in colonial Virginia. The own a plantation on the James River. Benjamin Harrison the V, represented Virginia in the Continental Congress. His grand father was fought in the War of 1812 and was President of the United States.
President Benjamin Harrison was the only grandson of a President (William Henry Harrison) to be elected President.
Benjamin Harrison was one of seven Presidents born in Ohio.
Harrison was a Presbyterian.
As a boy and adult, he enjoyed hunting a fishing as well as reading.
Benjamin was 5' 6" tall.
In 1847, his father sent Benjamin and his older brother to Farmer's College near Cincinnati, Ohio.
Benjamin began study law in 1852. In 1854, he was admitted to the bar.
In 1853, Benjamin Harrison married Carrie Scott. Her father, Reverend Scott, perform the ceremony. They had everything they owned shipped to Indianapolis for 91 cents.
Harrison's first election was when he ran and won the election for city attorney in Indianapolis.
Benjamin and Carries third child died at birth.
He served in the Civil War. He was the last Civil War general to serve as president. He first recruited soldiers and then led them in battle. He started as a second lieutenant in the Seventieth Indiana Volunteer Regiment.
He was in more battles in a month than his grandfather was in during the entire War of 1812. He fought with Sherman and rose to the rank of brevet brigadier general.
After the war he went back to practicing law in Indianapolis. He in 1867 he earned $10.000.00. (That would be over $120,000.00 today.) He work so hard he suffered from exhaustion. He learned to balance work and play after that and would take hunting and fishing vacations.
In 1872 he ran for Governor of Indiana, but lost.
Benjamin Harrison lost the popular vote for president, but won the electoral vote. Incumbent president Grover Cleveland won the popular vote. (One of three Presidents.)
Electric lights were installed in the White House during his term.
President Harrison was called "the Centennial President" because he was inaugurated 100 years after George Washington.
When Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Tracy's house caught fire President Harrison rushed to the house and administered artificial respiration. He also had to tell Tracy that his wife and daughter had died in the fire.
Harrison and his family often went to bed and left all the new electric lights burning because they were afraid to touch the switches. He used to have White House staff turn them on and off.
He was the first president to attend a baseball game. He also enjoyed playing pool.
Harrison appointed a former slave, Frederick Douglas, as the ambassador to Haiti.
Benjamin Harrison was a Republican.
Harrison was the first president to speak out against the lynching of African-Americans. He also fought to get a voting rights bill passed. He failed but he was praised by Frederick Douglas for his efforts.
Benjamin Harrison's Vice President was Levi P. Morton (1889-1893).
Benjamin Harrison had a beard and mustache. He was the last president to wear a beard.
The Sherman Anti-Trust Act was passed during his administration. It prevented business from creating monopolies and hindering economic competition.
Six states were admitted to the union while he was president (This is a record for a president.):
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Harrison was the second President whose wife died while he was in office. She died two weeks before the election for a second term. He stayed home to nurse his wife and lost the election. (See the page on First Lady Caroline Harrison for more details on her death.)
Benjamin Harrison served only one term.
Just before he left office in January of 1893, a treaty was signed annexing Hawaii to the United States.
When he left office he resumed his practice of law. He had a limited number of clients but had fees ranging as high as $25,00.00.
Harrison also wrote magazine articles.
Only Harrison and two other presidents have tried a case in front of the Supreme Court after they retired from the presidency. (John Quincy Adams and Grover Cleveland also tried cases.)
On April 6, 1896, he married his second wife Mame Dimmick. In February of 1897, Mame gave birth to Harrison's third child whom they named Elizabeth.
Harrison died of pneumonia in Indianapolis, Indiana on March 13, 1901. His wife was the only family member at his bedside.
He was 67 years and 205 days old. He is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Ind.
Quotes from Benjamin Harrison:
"Have you not learned that not stocks or bonds or stately homes or products of mill or field are out country? It is the splendid thought that is in our minds."
"Great lives do not go out. They go on."
Frederick Douglas said about Harrision efforts to get the voting bill passed: "To my mind we never had a greater President." Harrision's efforts for the elections bill "should endear him to the colored people as long as he lives."