HARRISON, William Henry

1773–1841

Biography

HARRISON, William Henry, (son of Benjamin Harrison [1726–1791], father of John Scott Harrison, brother of Carter Bassett Harrison, grandfather of Benjamin Harrison, and great–great–grandfather of William Henry Harrison [1896–1990]), a Delegate from the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, a Representative and a Senator from Ohio, and 9th President of the United States; born on 'Berkeley Plantation,' Charles City County, Va., February 9, 1773; pursued classical studies; attended Hampden-Sidney College, Virginia; studied medicine; entered the Army in 1798 as an ensign in the First Infantry, served in the Indian wars, and rose to the rank of lieutenant; resigned from the Army in 1798; appointed secretary of the Northwest Territory 1798-1799; elected as a Delegate from the Northwest Territory to the Sixth Congress and served from March 4, 1799, to May 14, 1800, when he resigned to become Territorial Governor of Indiana 1801-1813 and also Indian commissioner; defeated the Indians at Tippecanoe in November 1811; major general in the United States Army in the War of 1812; resigned from the Army in 1814; head commissioner to treat with the Indians; elected to the Fourteenth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John McLean; reelected to the Fifteenth Congress and served from October 8, 1816, to March 3, 1819; unsuccessful candidate for governor, Ohio in 1820; member, State senate 1819-1821; presidential elector in Ohio in 1822; unsuccessful candidate for House of Representatives in 1822; elected to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1825, to May 20, 1828, when he resigned to become Minister to Colombia 1828-1829; chairman, Committee on Military Affairs (Nineteenth and Twentieth Congresses); unsuccessful Whig candidate for president in 1836; elected President of the United States in 1840 and served from March 4, 1841, until his death in Washington, D.C., April 4, 1841; interment in William Henry Harrison Memorial State Park, opposite Congress Green Cemetery, North Bend, Ohio.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

Springfield, IL
Papers: 1804-1809. 3 letters.

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: 15 items.

Brown University

Providence, RI
Papers: Six rhymes used in Harrison's 1840 campaign together with a letter (October 20, 1892) giving the provenance of the rhymes and identifying persons mentioned. Also a commonplace book (ca. 1832-1843) containing two poems on Harrison (1841).

Cincinnati Historical Society

Cincinnati, OH
Papers: 1794-1860. 1 box. In part photocopies of originals in Henry E. Huntington Library and Library of Congress. Includes letters and miscellaneous documents relating to personal and business affairs, politics, and War of 1812 in Northwest Territory.
Additional Papers: In Harrison family papers, 1840-1964. Ca. 3 cubic feet. Correspondence, speeches, genealogical information, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, printed material, memorabilia, photos, and miscellaneous items pertaining to numerous Harrison family members.

Connecticut Historical Society

Hartford, CT
Papers: 4 letters (1800; 1819; 1829; 1840) in various collections. Finding aid.

Detroit Public Library
Burton Historical Collection

Detroit, MI
Papers: 1794-1850. 1 box. Chiefly transcripts and photocopies of originals in U.S. War Deprtment, Library of Congress, and Indiana Historical Society. Letters and reports to and by Harrison as governor of Indiana Territory and commander of the Northwestern Army in the War of 1812.

Filson Club Historical Society

Louisville, KY
Papers: Miscellaneous letters and numerous references in various collections including the Foote family papers, 1752-1987.

Henry E. Huntington Library

San Marino, CA
Papers: Miscellaneous items in various collections.

Indiana Historical Society

Indianapolis, IN
Papers: 1793-1864. 4 boxes. Chiefly letters and documents (1794-1840) including letters to secretaries of war relating to Indian and military affairs; correspondence regarding military operations, the War of 1812, the Northwest Territory, Indian Territory, Ohio, national politics, and presidential elections of 1836 and 1840; papers on the administration of the Indiana Territory; family papers and correspondence; and papers relating to his illness and death. Finding aid.
Papers: Microfilm edition (in progress) of The Papers of William Henry Harrison, 1800-1815, includes ca. 3,600 transcribed documents. Available for purchase from Harrison Project, Indiana Historical Society.

Knox College
Seymour Library

Galesburg, IL
Papers: 1 letter (August 31, 1819) in Sang autograph collection, 1751-1954; and 1 military order (March 6, 1795) and 1 letter (June 27, ?) in Bookfellow Foundation autograph collection, 1793-1945.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1734-1939. 11 containers. Chiefly correspondence and military papers (1796-1841), with emphasis on Indian campaigns and affairs; a letterbook (1812-1813) reporting on the War of 1812 in the West; and correspondence regarding his unsuccessful campaign for the presidency in 1836. Available on 3 microfilm reels. Finding aid. Also 1 container of papers (1836-1838); and 1 reel of microfilm of originals (1811-1840) in the Draper Manuscripts, State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Finding aid.
Additional Papers: In Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) papers, 1787-1938, available on 151 microfilm reels; and Short, Harrison, and Symmes family papers, 1760-1878. Finding aids.

Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, MA
Papers: Ca. 20 letters (1785-1841) and references in various collections. Finding aid.

New Jersey Historical Society

Newark, NJ
Papers: Correspondence in William Nelson papers, 1690-1875.

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: 1802-1813, 1835-1841. 21 items.

Ohio Historical Society

Columbus, OH
Papers: 1795-1919. .25 foot. Military orders (1795-1797) from Fort Washington; personal letters (1813-1839) relating to Whig politics, states' rights, slavery, and presidential campaign; and material on establishing William Henry Harrison memorial in Ohio (1919). Also 2 microfilm reels of originals at Library of Congress.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Harrisburg, PA
Papers: Songs and music relating to presidential election campaigns in International Utilities International Management Corporation political memorabilia collection, 1789-1972.

Pierpont Morgan Library

New York, NY
Papers: 1804-1840. 5 items.

Princeton University
Seeley G. Mudd Library

Princeton, NJ
Papers: In the Andre deCoppet collection, 1566-1942.

State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Archives Division

Madison, WI
Papers: In the Draper manuscripts William Henry Harrison papers, 1811-1833 (5 volumes); Draper's notes, 1841-1868 (33 volumes); and William Croghan papers, 1769-1818 (3 volumes). Available on microfilm. Finding aid.

State University of New York
College at Oswego Penfield Library

Oswego, NY
Papers: Correspondence in Millard Fillmore papers, 1817-1889 (bulk 1840-1876).

University of Michigan
William L. Clements Library

Ann Arbor, MI
Papers: Ca. 40 items (1794-1841) in several collections, including the Wayne, Perry, and Cass collections. Business papers, mostly from the mid-1790s. Finding aid.

Virginia Historical Society

Richmond, VA
Papers: Ca. 10 items in various collections. Finding aid.

Yale University Libraries
Manuscripts and Archives

New Haven, CT
Papers: 3 microfilm reels of originals (1734-1939) in Library of Congress.
Additional Papers: In William Jackson papers, 1782-1828; John Stiles Gano papers, 1797-1833 (bulk 1797-1820); Benajah Ticknor papers, 1818-1852; Joseph W. Brown papers, 1773-1882; Woolsey family papers, 1750-1950 (bulk 1811-1921); Historical Picture collection, 1840-1980; and Alfred White Van Sindren collection, 1782-1969.

Xavier University
McDonald Memorial Library

Cincinnati, OH
Papers: 7 letters (1824-1829) in the Moses Dawson correspondence, 1811-1845. Available on microfilm.

The William Henry Harrison Papers
Indiana Historical Society

Indianapolis, IN
Research Libraries Information Network In addition to the institutions listed above, items are also cataloged in collections at: Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, AL; Brigham Young University, Special Collections, Provo, UT; Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, MD; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; New York Public Library, New York, NY; New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections, Albany, NY; Syracuse University, George Arents Research Library, Syracuse, NY; University of California, Berkeley, CA; University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, IA; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA; and Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site, Newburgh, NY.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Barnhart, John D., ed. "Letters of William H. Harrison to Thomas Worthington, 1799-1813." Indiana Magazine of History 47 (March 1951): 53-84.

Bloom, Jo Tice. "The Congressional Delegates from the Northwest Territory, 1799-1803." Old Northwest 3 (March 1977): 3-21.

Clanin, Douglas E., ed. "The Correspondence of William Henry Harrison and Oliver Hazard Perry, July 5, 1813-July 31, 1815." Northwest Ohio Quarterly 60 (Autumn 1988): 153-80.

___, ed. The Papers of William Henry Harrison, 1800-1815. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1994-. Microfilm. 3 reels and guide to date.

Cleaves, Freeman. Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Time. 1939. Reprint. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1969.

Cronin, John William, and W. Harvey Wise, Jr., comps. A Bibliography of William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James Knox Polk. Washington: Riverford Publishing Co., 1935.

Durfee, David A., comp. William Henry Harrison, 1773-1841: John Tyler, 1790-1862: Chronology, Documents, Bibliographical Aids. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana Publications, 1970.

Esarey, Logan, ed. Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison. 2 vols. 1922. Reprint. New York: Arno Press, 1975.

Friedman, Bernard. "William Henry Harrison: The People Against the Parties." In Gentlemen from Indiana: National Party Candidates, 1836-1940, edited by Ralph D. Gray, pp. 1-28. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1977.

Goebel, Dorothy Burne. William Henry Harrison: A Political Biography. 1926. Reprint. Philadelphia: Porcupine Press, 1974.

Green, James Albert. William Henry Harrison: His Life and Times. Richmond: Garrett & Massie, 1941.

Gunderson, Robert G. "A Search for Old Tip Himself." Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 86 (Autumn 1988): 330-51.

Horsman, Reginald. "William Henry Harrison: Virginia Gentleman in the Old Northwest." Indiana Magazine of History 96 (June 2000): 125-50.

Montgomery, Henry. The Life of Major-General William H. Harrison, Ninth President of the United States. Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1852.

Owens, Robert M. Mr. Jefferson's Hammer: William Henry Harrison and the Origins of American Indian Policy. University of Oklahoma Press, 2007.

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