Birthday Parade and Celebration – President William Henry Harrison – 247 years

Cincinnati Chapter, Ohio Society, Sons of the American Revolution Participated in the 250th Birthday Presentation of President William Henry Harrison February 11th, 2022.

William Henry Harrison

On Friday, February 1, 2022 of the Cincinnati Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (CCSAR) performed as Color Guard in the march to the William Henry Harrison Tomb and Memorial in North Bend, Ohio.

Parade to the Tomb of William Henry Harrison

They joined Mayor Doug Sammons of North Bend, OH who conducted the yearly wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate Harrison’s 247th birthday at President William Henry Harrison’s Memorial Site at 41 Cliff Rd., North Bend, Ohio.

Officials, Students and Cincinnati / National SAR participants in the Annual Birthday Celebration

Mayor Sammons introduced Brigadier General John M. Dreska the Commander of the 311th Sustainment Command of the U.S. Army Expeditionary Forces who represented the President of the USA at this annual event with greetings and a perspective on the life and career of President Harrison to the 70 + attendees.

Members of the Taylor High School Band singing for the gathering honoring William Henry Harrison

Students from the Three Rivers Local School District were brought to the event by Superintendent Mark Ault; Taylor High School Band sang the Star Spangled Banner & played America the Beautiful; a U,S. Army Bugler Specialist Mindy Strahl played Taps; Miami Township Trustees; Knights of Columbus #2170; Green Township VFW Post 10380

Cincinnati SAR Color Guard with Bugler Mindy Strahl

The CCSAR Nolan Carson Memorial Color Guard with five members firing a Musket Salute and presented the Mourn Position. We were joined by 3 members from the Simon Kenton Chapter of SAR in the event with Tom Geimeier as Bearer of the National Colors.

Cincinnati SAR participants with Tom Geimeier & Jesse Moore

This was a National/District SAR event due to the Presence of VPG Jesse G. Moore who placed a wreath. Wreaths were also presented by: Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution (CCSAR), Simon Kenton Chapter and Brigadier General Dreska.

Jessie Moore places a wreath in honor of William Henry Harrison

The CCSAR Event Color Guard Commander Michael Gunn led five members (Gregg Ballman,  Gary Duffield, Ed Bonniwell, Tim Madden) of CCSAR to the Monument for the Ceremony as the Event Color Guard.

Musket Salute team with VPG Jesse Moore

Newspaper Clipping of the Event in Cincinnati Enquirer

Article published February 26th in the Cincinnati Enquirer on page 10S

https://cincinnatienquirer-oh.newsmemory.com/?clip_article&token=0r3TxtfP5MrVqafP49fO4Mzhg5eToJOmm5N2ccTb0NnPyc7CysKek6Obl210kaSUxNDG4rOVlJ7A7ZbQsnuQo5mSoJuch5yam5StoJBw

Some history of William Henry Harrison

Source of this content was Wikipedia & the Sons of the American Revolution – please click on the link to learn more about this US President who was from North Bend Ohio – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Henry_Harrison

The Village of North Bend, Ohio, honors Harrison every year with a parade to celebrate his birthday.

Tom Geimeier stands inside the Tomb of Harrison – the place of rest for William and Anna Harrison

An Historical Sketch of Harrison’s Tomb

Harrison’s tomb was built in 1841 to serve as a permanent place of rest for William Henry Harrison and his wife, and as a temporary place for his family. During the course of many years, the tomb and knoll upon which it is located, as well as the small cemetery adjoining, were suffered to fall into decay and ruin, nor was it until seventy-eight years after the construction of the tomb, that legal steps were taken to preserve it and its sacred contents for posterity.

On the first day of April, 1919, Horace Bonser, a member of the General Assembly of Ohio, from Hamilton County, introduced a bill which he had drawn, in the lower house, appropriating ten thousand dollars for the purpose, as the bill recites, “Of placing the tomb and the ground upon which the tomb of William Henry Harrison is located, in a suitable and decent condition in order that the memory of Ohio’s first President and gallant soldier, William Henry Harrison, may be fittingly commemorated.” This bill was passed by both houses of the General Assembly and after receiving the signature of Governor Cox, became a law.

A commission composed of Horace Bonser, William Whipple Symmes and Alfred G. Allen was thereupon appointed by the Governor, which after obtaining title to the property from the surviving Harrison heirs, undertook the work of reclaiming the tomb and tomb site from its then ruinous and neglected state.

In the year 1921 Governor Davis appointed a new commission consisting of Horace Bonser, William Whipple Symmes and Hallie Stephens Caine, and it was this commission that carried out the work originally planned by the first commission. On the 24th day of October 1921 after all preliminary work had been completed, ground breaking exercises were held upon the site of the Memorial Gateway and work upon it finally commenced. During the Spring of 1922 the Gateway was completed and the property suitably graded and planted with appropriate shrubs and flowers.


It is in order that posterity may be in possession of all salient facts leading up to the rehabilitation of the last resting place of our country’s gallant sons and patriots, that the William Henry Harrison

Who was William Henry Harrison?

William Henry Harrison (February 9, 1773 – April 4, 1841) was an American military officer and politician who served as the 9th president of the United States. Harrison died just 31 days after his inauguration in 1841.  This was the shortest presidency in U.S. history. He was also the first U.S president to die in office, and a brief constitutional crisis resulted as presidential succession was not then fully defined in the United States Constitution. Harrison was the last president born as a British subject in the Thirteen Colonies and was the paternal grandfather of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president of the United States.

Harrison was born in Charles City County, Virginia, a son of Benjamin Harrison V, who was a Founding Father of the United States. During his early military career, Harrison participated in the 1794 Battle of Fallen Timbers, an American military victory that ended the Northwest Indian War. Later, he led a military force against Tecumseh’s confederacy at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, where he earned the nickname “Old Tippecanoe.” He was promoted to major general in the Army during the War of 1812, and led American infantry and cavalry to victory at the Battle of the Thames in Upper Canada.

Harrison’s political career began in 1798, with an appointment as Secretary of the Northwest Territory; in 1799 he was elected as the territory’s non-voting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives. He became governor of the newly established Indiana Territory in 1801 and negotiated multiple treaties with American Indian tribes, with the nation acquiring millions of acres. After the War of 1812, he moved to Ohio where he was elected to represent the state’s 1st district in the U.S. House in 1816. In 1824, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, though his Senate term was cut short by his appointment as Minister Plenipotentiary to Gran Colombia in 1828.

Harrison returned to private life in North Bend, Ohio until he was nominated as one of several Whig Party nominees for president in the 1836 presidential election; he was defeated by Democratic vice president Martin Van Buren. Four years later, the party nominated him again, with John Tyler as his running mate, under the campaign slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.” Harrison defeated Van Buren in the 1840 presidential election, making him the first of only two Whigs to win the presidency, the other being Zachary Taylor.

Just three weeks after his inauguration, Harrison fell ill and died days later. After resolution of an ambiguity in the constitution regarding succession to the powers and duties of the office, Tyler became president. At 68, Harrison was the oldest person to assume the U.S. presidency until Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 at 69. Though he is often omitted in historical presidential rankings due to his brief tenure, he is remembered for his Indian entreaties, and also his inventive election campaign tactics.

Death and funeral

An illustration depicting the death of Harrison April 4th, 1841

On Wednesday, March 24, 1841, Harrison took his daily morning walk to local markets, without a coat or hat. Despite being caught in a sudden rainstorm, he did not change his wet clothes upon return to the White House.  On Friday, March 26, Harrison became ill with cold-like symptoms and sent for his doctor, Thomas Miller, though he told the doctor he felt better after having taken medication for “fatigue and mental anxiety.”  The next day, Saturday, the doctor was called again, and arrived to find Harrison in bed with a “severe chill,” after taking another early morning walk. Miller applied mustard plaster to his stomach and gave him a mild laxative, and he felt better that afternoon.  At 4:00 a.m. Sunday, March 28, Harrison developed severe pain in the side and the doctor initiated bloodletting; the procedure was terminated when there was a drop in his pulse rate. Miller also applied heated cups to the president’s skin to enhance blood flow.  The doctor then gave him castor oil and medicines to induce vomiting, and diagnosed him with pneumonia in the right lung.  A team of doctors was called in on Monday, March 29, and they confirmed right lower lobe pneumonia.  Harrison was then administered laudanum, opium, and camphor, along with wine and brandy.   

No official announcements were made concerning Harrison’s illness, which fueled public speculation and concern the longer he remained out of public view.  Washington society had noticed his uncharacteristic absence from church on Sunday.  Conflicting and unconfirmed newspaper reports were based on leaks by people with contacts in the White House.  A Washington paper reported on Thursday, April 1, that Harrison’s health was decidedly better. In fact, Harrison’s condition had seriously weakened, and Cabinet members and family were summoned to the White House—his wife Anna had remained in Ohio due to her own illness.  According to papers in Washington on Friday, Harrison had rallied, despite a Baltimore Sun report that his condition was of a “more dangerous character.”  A reporter for the New York Commercial indicated that, “…the country’s people were deeply distressed and many of them in tears.”  

In the evening of Saturday, April 3, Harrison developed severe diarrhea and became delirious, and at 8:30 p.m. he uttered his last words, to his attending doctor, assumed to be for Vice President John Tyler: “Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of the government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more.”  Harrison died at 12:30 a.m. on April 4, 1841, Palm Sunday, nine days after becoming ill and exactly one month after taking the oath of office; he was the first president to die in office.  Anna was still in Ohio packing for the trip to Washington when she learned of her loss.

The prevailing theory at the time was that his illness had been caused by the bad weather at his inauguration three weeks earlier.  Jane McHugh and Philip A. Mackowiak did an analysis in Clinical Infectious Diseases (2014), examining Miller’s notes and records showing that the White House water supply was downstream of public sewage, and they concluded that he likely died of septic shock due to “enteric fever” (typhoid or paratyphoid fever).

A 30-day period of mourning commenced following the president’s death. The White House hosted various public ceremonies, modeled after European royal funeral practices. An invitation-only funeral service was also held on April 7 in the East Room of the White House, after which Harrison’s coffin was brought to Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. where it was placed in the Public Vault.  Solomon Northup gave an account of the procession in Twelve Years a Slave:

The next day there was a great pageant in Washington. The roar of cannon and the tolling of bells filled the air, while many houses were shrouded with crape, and the streets were black with people. As the day advanced, the procession made its appearance, coming slowly through the Avenue, carriage after carriage, in long succession, while thousands upon thousands followed on foot—all moving to the sound of melancholy music. They were bearing the dead body of Harrison to the grave…. I remember distinctly how the window glass would break and rattle to the ground, after each report of the cannon they were firing in the burial ground.

That June, Harrison’s body was transported by train and river barge to North Bend, Ohio, and he was buried on July 7 at the summit of Mt. Nebo, which is now the William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial. 

William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial

Mt. Nebo – North Bend Ohio – site of Tomb of William Henry Harrison

The William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial is the final resting place of William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States; his wife Anna Harrison; and his son John Scott Harrison, Representative and father of the twenty-third President, Benjamin Harrison. It is located on Brower Road approximately one-half mile west of U.S. Route 50 in North Bend, Ohio.   Harrison died April 4, 1841, one month after taking office, and was buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.; in June of that year, his remains were removed for transport to their final resting place in North Bend. 

The Harrison family chose a site at the crest of Mt. Nebo on the family estate and the interment occurred July 7, 1841. In 1871, John Harrison sold all but 6 acres of the estate. He offered this portion, containing the tomb and other burial sites, to the state of Ohio in exchange for a pledge of perpetual maintenance.  

After several years of neglect, the tomb and grounds fell into a state of disrepair until 1919 when the Ohio General Assembly formally accepted the bequest and appropriated funds for its care.  The tomb was listed in the National Register on November 10, 1970.   The tomb is currently managed by the Harrison – Symes Memorial Foundation on behalf of the Ohio History Connection.

In 2007, improvements at the site included installation of kiosks to educate visitors about Harrison, his role in settling the Ohio River Valley and U.S. history.

Legacy: Historical reputation

Among Harrison’s most enduring legacies is the series of treaties that he negotiated and signed with Indian leaders during his tenure as the Indiana territorial governor.  As part of the treaty negotiations, the tribes ceded large tracts of land in the west which provided additional acreage for purchase and settlement by the nation.

Harrison’s long-term impact on American politics includes his campaigning methods, which laid the foundation for modern presidential campaign tactics.  Harrison died nearly penniless, and Congress voted his wife Anna a presidential widow’s pension of $25,000, one year of Harrison’s salary (equivalent to about $627,000 in 2020).  She also received the right to mail letters free of charge.

Freehling refers to Harrison as “the most dominant figure in the evolution of the Northwest territories into the Upper Midwest today.”  Harrison, age 68 at the time of his inauguration, was the oldest person to assume the U.S. presidency, a distinction he held until 1981, when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated at age 69. 

Harrison’s son John Scott Harrison represented Ohio in the House of Representatives between 1853 and 1857.  Harrison’s grandson Benjamin Harrison of Indiana served as the 23rd president from 1889 to 1893, making William and Benjamin Harrison the only grandparent-grandchild pair of presidents.

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