Who Was the First President to Die in Office?

Elmira | 07 - 08 - 2021
William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison was the first president to die in office. He was an American military officer, politician and served as the ninth President of the United States in 1841. He was known as the oldest US president to be elected at the time. He died on the 32nd day as a US president, serving the shortest period in US presidential history.

William Henry Harrison death

This president holds the record of presenting the longest inaugural address at 8,445 words. He delivered the speech in the cold weather and caught pneumonia. He delivered his speech on a bitterly cold March morning for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Harrison went to bed after the inauguration day because he caught a cold which soon led to pneumonia.

Which President Died from Pneumonia?
  • A. Richard Nixon
  • B. John F. Kennedy
  • C. William Henry Harrison
  • D. Franklin D. Roosevelt

How did president Harrison die? It was believed that Harrison,68, caught a cold while delivering his inaugural speech and never fully recovered. 

William Henry Harrison Last Words

Harrison was incoherent at the time of his death. He was speaking to his Vice president John Tyler, “Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more.”

Facts about William Henry Harrison 

Harrison was known as the last US president born as an English subject before American Revolution. He was a native of Virginia and attended college to study medicine. But he decided to join the army before completing his degree.

He served during the Indian Wars of the Northwest Territories. President John Adams acknowledged Harrison’s contribution. Hence he appointed him governor of the Northwest Territories(now they are called Indiana and Illinois) in 1801.

Harrison commanded troops that defeated the American Indian force during the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811 which made him an important figure. 

Harrison also participated in the War of 1812 in the Thames River. Following his military career, he became a political figure for more than the next 25 years. He finished second in a divided presidential race against Martin Van Buren in 1836.

He decided to become a congressman and ambassador to Colombia before competing for the presidential election of 1840 against John Tyler.

Both Harrison and Tyler campaigned for the presidential election. They used Harrison’s nickname Tippecanoe, which he got during the brutal Indian War campaign at Tippecanoe Creek. Their tactics became controversial and were successful. On March 4, 1841, he was elected as the ninth president of the United States.

His grandson Benjamin was elected as the 23rd president of the United States in 1889. Unlike him, his grandson served a full term and lost during the reelection bid to Grover Clevland in 1892.


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