Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tippecanoe and Tyler too

On April 4, 1841, William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia. He was our ninth president but only for one month. He is remembered due to his short stay in the Oval Office and for Tippecanoe and Tyler too. Actually the Battle of Tippecanoe did not take place at the Tippecanoe River as reported by Harrison. His most famour victory on the battlefront was the Battle of Thames but try rhyming with Thames. Harrison favored slavery, and fought hard for Indiana to be a slave state.

Harrison became quite ill about three weeks after the inauguration, thus putting the lie to his catching cold because he didn't didn't wear a hat or coat that day. Colds don't take that long to materialize. Anway, he was treated with opium, castor oil, and Virginia snake oil. Ugh. Anyway, he probably dies of a virus and the inablity to get any rest. The White House was a wide open public building in those days, and hangers on and job seekers were everywhere.

The interesting thing about his death was that it tested the Constitutional succession clause. Nobody was exactly sure that John Tyler, the VP, was actually next in line to become the permanent president. It was then decided that once he was sworn in he did indeed become the president.

Oh, and on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.