On Feb. 9, 1773, William Henry Harrison - the first Ohioan elected president of the United States - was born in the manor house of Berkeley Plantation in Charles City County, Va.
He considered himself "a child of the Revolution," having been the son of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. As a child, he and other members of his family had to flee their Berkeley home when the traitorous Gen. Benedict Arnold invaded the plantation and tried to arrest Benjamin Harrison, William's father and three-time governor of Virginia. Unable to find the family, Arnold burned their portraits and furniture on the lawn.
At 18, upon his father's death, Harrison was commissioned an officer of the 1st Infantry of the Army by President George Washington. He traveled to Fort Washington in Cincinnati to fight Indians with Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne. As aide-de-camp to Wayne, Harrison helped open up Ohio to white settlement.
He later became commandant of Fort Washington. And he went on to serve as a member of Congress from Ohio, Ohio state senator and U.S. senator from Ohio. In 1840, while living in a manor house built around a log cabin at his plantation in North Bend, he was elected ninth president of the United States.
- Rebecca Goodman
Ohio Moments will appear here daily during 2003. Contact Rebecca Goodman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (513) 768-8361.
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