Wednesday, May 11, 2011

President Benjamin Harrison's Pets

Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of President William Henry Harrison.  And so far in the history of the U.S., this is the only time a grandson of a president also became president.  Benjamin Harrison was born in North Bend, Ohio, on August 20, 1833.  He was the second of 8 children, and when he was a kid, he liked to go hunting and fishing.

Mr. Harrison and his brother, Irwin, went to Farmer's College, which is close to Cincinnati.  After two years, he transferred to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and he graduated in 1852.  While he was at Farmer's College, Mr. Harrison met Caroline Lavinia Scott, and they got married on October 20, 1853.  They had two children, Russell Benjamin Harrison, and Mary "Mamie" Scott Harrison.

After finishing college, Mr. Harrison studied law, and then he moved to Indianapolis.  When the Civil War came along, he joined the Union side and raised a regiment for the 70th Indiana Infantry.  By the time the war was over, Mr. Harrison had made it up to the rank of Brigadier General.

Next he went into politics, and he ran for governor of Indiana, but he didn't win that race.  Then later he got appointed senator of Indiana.  The Republicans nominated Mr. Harrison to run for president in 1887 against President Grover Cleveland.  He won the election because he got more electoral votes, even though President Cleveland got more of the popular vote.

While President Harrison was in the White House, he had a collie named Dash, that he had bought for his grandchildren.  Dash had his very own doghouse, right next to the White House.  The family also had a dog named Jack and two opossums named Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection.  Another gift that the President got for his grandchildren was a goat named Mr. Whiskers.  The reason the goat had this name was because he had a pointed beard, just like President Harrison.

One day, the President was standing by the door of the While House, waiting for his carriage, and then he saw Mr. Whiskers bolt out through the gate, pulling a cart with three of the President's grandchildren in it.  The President went running after the cart, holding onto his top hat with one hand and waving his cane with the other hand.  And Dash went running along behind.

I think this was probably the most exciting thing that happened during President Harrison's term, and I wish I had been there to see it.  But another interesting thing that happened was that a bunch of new states were admitted to the union.  And these states were:  North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming.  This meant that more states were admitted while Benjamin Harrison was president than since George Washington was president.

In 1891, President Harrison ran for office again, and he ran against former President Cleveland, so it was kind of like 1887 all over again.  Two weeks before the election, the First Lady, Mrs. Caroline Harrison died of tuberculosis, which she had had for a long time.  President Harrison stayed with his wife and did not go out and campaign.  Mr. Cleveland won the election with a majority of both the electoral and popular vote.

After he stopped being President, Mr. Harrison did some interesting things like teach and practice law.  In 1896 he married Mary Scott Lord Dimmick, who was the niece of his first wife.  She was 25 years younger than Mr. Harrison, so his children did not approve of the marriage and did not come to the wedding.  The Mr. Harrison and the new Mrs. Harrison had one child, who was named Elizabeth.

Some of Mr. Harrison's Republican friends told him he should run for president again, but he didn't want to.  Instead, he supported William McKinley, who ended up winning the election.

In February of 1901, Mr. Harrison got a very bad cold, and in March he died from influenza and pneumonia.  He was 67 when he died.  He is buried in Indianapolis, in Crown Hill Cemetery, with his two wives.


  1. ooh! Thanks Piper! I was going to learn about this guy, thanks to you I am gonna be advanced in class!


  2. Dear Tas,
    There is still plenty of stuff to learn about President Benjamin Harrison, so I think you should go ahead and study up on him. I just put in the interesting stuff, such as about his dog and his goat. The politics part was pretty boring, so I left that out. LOL
    Love, Piper