“On the banks of the James River, in Charles City county, Virginia, is a plain mansion, around which is spread the beautiful estate of Berkeley, the birthplace of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and of one of the Presidents of the United States. The former was Benjamin Harrison… The latter was his son, William Henry Harrison, whose life we will now consider. He was born on the 9th of February, 1773. At a suitable age he was placed in Hampden Sydney College, where he was graduated; and then, under the supervision of his guardian (Robert Morris), in Philadelphia, prepared himself for the practice of the medical art. At about that time an army was gathering to chastise the hostile Indians in the North-west. Young Harrison’s military genius was stirred within him, and having obtained an ensign’s commission from President Washington, he joined the army at the age of nineteen years. He was promoted to a lieutenancy, in 1792; and, in 1794, he followed Wayne to conflicts with the North-western tribes, where he greatly distinguished himself. He was appointed secretary of the North-western Territory, in 1797, and resigned his military commission. Two years afterward, when only twenty-six years of age, he was elected the first delegate to Congress from the Territory. On the erection of Indiana into a separate territorial government, in 1801, Harrison was appointed its chief magistrate, and he was continued in that office, by consecutive reappointments, until 1813, when the war with Great Britain called him to a more important sphere of action. He had already exhibited his military skill in the battle with the Indians at Tippecanoe, in the Autumn of 1811.
He was commissioned a major-general in the Kentucky militia, by brevet, early in 1812. After the surrender of General Hull, at Detroit, he was appointed major-general in the army of the United States, and entrusted with the command of the North-western division. He was one of the best officers in that war; but, after achieving the battle of the Thames, and other victories in the lake country, his military services were concluded. He resigned his commission, in 1814, in consequence of a misunderstanding with the Secretary of War, and retired to his farm at North Bend. Ohio. He served as commissioner in negotiating Indian treaties : and the voice of a grateful people afterward called him to represent them in the legislature of Ohio, and of the nation. He was elected to the Senate of the United States, in 1824. In 1828, he was appointed minister to Colombia, one of the South American Republics.
He was recalled, by President Jackson, on account of some differences of opinion respecting diplomatic events in that region, when he returned home, and again sought the repose of private life. There he remained about ten years, when he was called forth to receive from the American people the highest honor in their gift the chief magistracy of the Republic. He was elected President of the United States by an immense majority, and was inaugurated on the 4th of March, 1841.
For more than twenty days he bore the unceasing clamors for office, with which the ears of a new president are always assailed; and then his slender constitution, pressed by the weight of almost threescore and ten years, suddenly gave way. The excitements of his new station increased a slight disease caused by a cold, and on the 4th of April just one month after the inauguration pageant at the presidential mansion, the honored occupant was a corpse. He was succeeded in office by the vice-president, John Tyler.”
From: Eminent Americans by Benson John Lossing, published in 1881, source says not in copyright.