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~Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison~
1775-1864




As a girl of 19, she went out to Ohio with her father, Judge John Cleves Symmes, who had taken land for settlement on the "north bend" of the Ohio River. She had grown up in the East, completing her education at a boarding school in New York City.


Anna married Lt. William Henry Harrison on November 25, 1795. Though the young man came from one of the best families of Virginia, Judge Symmes did not want his daughter to face the hard life of frontier forts; but eventually he accepted her choice.


From this marriage of nineteen years, ten children were born:

  • Elizabeth Bassett Harrison 1796-1846
  • John Cleves Symmes Harrison 1798-1830
  • Lucy Singleton Harrison 1800-1826
  • William Henry Harrison 1802-1838
  • John Scott Harrison 1804-1878
  • Benjamin Harrison 1806-1840
  • Mary Symmes Harrison 1809-1842
  • Carter Bassett Harrison 1811-1839
  • Anna Tuthill Harrison 1813-1865
  • James Findlay Harrison 1814-1817


Harrison's service in Congress as territorial delegate from Ohio gave Anna and their two children a chance to visit his family at Berkeley, their plantation on the James River. Her third child was born on that trip, at Richmond in September 1800.


Harrison's appointment as governor of Indiana Territory took them even farther into the wilderness; he built a home at Vincennes that blended fortress and plantation mansion. Five more children were born to Anna.


Facing war in 1812, the family went to the farm at North Bend. Before peace was assured, she had borne two more children. There, at news of her husband's landslide electoral victory in 1840, home-loving Anna said simply: "I wish that my husband's friends had left him where he is, happy and contented in retirement."


Due to illness Anna decided not to go to Washington with William, the President-elect asked his daughter-in-law Jane Irwin Harrison, widow of his namesake son, to accompany him and act as hostess until Anna's proposed arrival in May.


On April 4, exactly one month after his inauguration, he died, so Anna never made the journey. She had already begun her packing when she learned of her loss.


Accepting grief with admirable dignity, she stayed at her home in North Bend until the house burned in 1858; she moved in with her last surviving child, John Scott Harrison, until she died in February 1864 at the age of 88.





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