Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison

Harrison, Benjamin, 1726?-1791, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Charles City co., Va. As a member (1749-75) of the house of burgesses, he protested against the Stamp Act (1765). He was a delegate (1774-78) to the Continental Congress and later governor of Virginia (1781-84). His son William Henry Harrison and his great-grandson Benjamin Harrison were U.S. Presidents.
Harrison, Benjamin, 1833-1901, 23d President of the United States (1889-93), b. North Bend, Ohio, grad. Miami Univ. (Ohio), 1852; grandson of William Henry Harrison. After reading law in Cincinnati, he moved (1854) to Indianapolis, where he was a lawyer and politician. He served in the Civil War as commander of an Indiana volunteer regiment and in 1865 was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers. A well-established corporation lawyer, he was (1881-87) a member of the U.S. Senate as a Republican but was defeated for reelection. The Republicans chose him (1888) as presidential candidate against Grover Cleveland, and he was elected in the electoral college, though Cleveland had the larger popular vote. Harrison as President approved all regular Republican measures, including the highly protective McKinley Tariff Act. His equivocal stand on civil service reform displeased both reformers and spoilsmen. The first Pan-American Conference was held (1889) in his administration. Defeated for reelection in 1892 by Cleveland, Harrison returned to his Indianapolis law practice. He later represented Venezuela in the Venezuela Boundary Dispute. Harrison wrote This Country of Ours (1897) and Views of an Ex-President (1901).

See his public papers and addresses (1893, repr. 1969); biography by H. J. Sievers (3 vol., 1952-68).

Benjamin Harrison V (April 5, 1726 April 24, 1791) was an American planter and revolutionary leader from Charles City County, Virginia. He was educated at the College of William and Mary and was, perhaps, the first figure in the Harrison family to gain national attention. Harrison was a representative for Surry County, Virginia (1756-1758) and Charles City County (1766-1776) to the House of Burgesses. He was a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1777, signed the Declaration of Independence, and was Governor of Virginia from 1781 to 1784. He again ran for the state legislature but was defeated by John Tyler, Sr., father of future president, John Tyler. He was elected from a neighboring district, however, and served until his death.

He was son of Benjamin Harrison IV and Anne Carter, and grandson of Robert Carter I; his cousin was the plantation owner Robert Carter. Benjamin Harrison V, was married to his second cousin Elizabeth Bassett. Their son William Henry Harrison and great-grandson Benjamin Harrison would both become President of the United States. Besides William, their youngest child, they had six other children; Elizabeth, Anna, Benjamin VI, Lucy, Carter, and Sarah. His brother-in-law was Speaker of the House of Burgesses, Peyton Randolph, who was first cousin once removed of Thomas Jefferson.

Harrison lived all his life at Berkeley Plantation, the Harrison family home in Virginia, and his children were born there.

Harrison County, West Virginia was formed in 1784 and named in Governor Harrison's honor.

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