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William Henry Harrison 9th President of the United States 1773 1841 A Biography by Donald R Swartz Early Life William Henry Harrison was born on February 9 1773 at his fathers family plantation called Berkeley located on the James River about 20 miles south of Richmond in Charles City County Va His father Benjamin Harrison was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and later the governor of Virginia between 1781 and 1784 and the young Harrison always considered himself a child of the Revolution His mother Elizabeth Bassett Harrison was a member of the first Families of Virginia William was privately tutored and mastered grammar and classics sufficient enough to meet the entrance requirements of Hampden-Sydney College in 1787 at the age of 14 He studied the classics and history and although he never finished he proclaimed proficiency in belles lettres information and particularly in history In 1790 and 1791 he briefly studied medicine in Richmond and Philadelphia but after his father died in 1791 he switched interests to a military career He obtained a commission as ensign in the First Regiment of Infantry of the Regular Army In Aug 16 1791 Harrison managed to persuade a company of 80 men to risk their lives for 2 a month and join him to fight Indians on the northwestern frontier Harrison then 18 years of age left Philadelphia in September 1791 and marched his men over the Allegheny Mountains to Fort Pitt present day Pittsburgh Here he and his men boarded boats and headed down the Ohio River to Fort Washington present day Cincinnati The young soldier became aide-de-camp to General Mad Anthony Wayne and fought against the Northwest Indian Confederation in a campaign that ended successfully at the Battle of Fallen Timbers on Aug 20 1794 where Harrison was cited for bravery The battle resulted in opening most of the Ohio area to settlement Harrison
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