Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison - History

Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison - History


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Anna Harrison, wife of William Henry Harrison, never saw the White House. At the time of the Inauguration, she was ailing and could not travel to Washington D.C. from her home in Ohio. By April 7, Harrison was dead, apparently having taken ill at the Inauguration a month before. He was the first President to die in office. The Harrisons had ten children although at the time of Anna's death in 1864, only two survived. Her son, Benjamin, would become 22nd President of the United States.



Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison

Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison, wife of President William Henry Harrison and grandmother of President Benjamin Harrison, was First Lady during her husband’s one-month term in 1841, holding the title for the shortest length of time. She was the first First Lady to be widowed while holding the title.

Anna Harrison was too ill to travel when her husband set out from Ohio in 1841 for his inauguration. It was a long trip and a difficult one even by steamboat and railroad, with February weather uncertain at best, and she at age 65 was well acquainted with the rigors of frontier journeys.

As a girl of 19, bringing pretty clothes and dainty manners, she went out to Ohio with her father, Judge John Cleves Symmes, who had taken up land for settlement on the “north bend” of the Ohio River. She had grown up a young lady of the East, completing her education at a boarding school in New York City.

A clandestine marriage on November 25, 1795, united Anna Symmes and Lt. William Henry Harrison, an experienced soldier at 22. 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, seeing her happiness, he accepted her choice.

Though Harrison won fame as an Indian fighter and hero of the War of 1812, he spent much of his life in a civilian career. His 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 handsome house 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.”

When she decided not to go to Washington with him, 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. Half a dozen other relatives happily went with them. 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 lived nearby with her last surviving child, John Scott Harrison, until she died in February 1864 at the age of 88.

The biographies of the First Ladies on WhiteHouse.gov are from “The First Ladies of the United States of America,” by Allida Black. Copyright 2009 by the White House Historical Association.

Learn more about Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison’s spouse, William Henry Harrison.


William Henry Harrison: Early Years

William Henry Harrison was born on February 9, 1773, at Berkeley, his family’s plantation near Richmond, Virginia. His father, Benjamin Harrison (1726-91) was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and governor of Virginia. The younger Harrison attended Hampden-Sydney College and studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, before dropping out in 1791 to join the Army.

Did you know? While governor of the Indiana Territory, William Henry Harrison lived at Grouseland, a mansion built for him in 1803 near the frontier village of Vincennes. The first brick home in the territory, it had thick exterior walls to protect against potential Indian raids. Today, Grouseland is a museum.

Harrison fought against Indian forces in various territorial conflicts, including the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, which was won by the U.S. and opened present-day Ohio to white settlement. Harrison was promoted to captain and became commander of Ohio’s Fort Washington, near present-day Cincinnati.

In 1795, Harrison married Anna Tuthill Symmes (1775-1864), whose father was a judge and wealthy land owner in Ohio. At first, Judge Symmes was against a match between the two, believing his prospective son-in-law’s military career on the frontier was not conducive to marriage as a result, the Harrisons eloped. The couple had 10 children, six of whom died before Harrison became president. Their son John Scott Harrison (1804-78) would grow up to become a U.S. congressman from Ohio and the father of Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901), the 23rd American president.


Anna, A Homeschool Heroine

Anna Tuthill Symmes was born in New Jersey almost a year before members of the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence. Her father, Judge John Cleves Symmes, became a colonel in the Continental Army. Anna’s mother died on her baby girl’s first birthday. Anna’s father cared for her until she was four years old. Then, he bravely impersonated a British officer and carried Anna on horseback through New York (then under British occupation) to her maternal grandparents’ home on Long Island. Anna remained under her grandparents’ care through her teens. They sent her to boarding schools. For one year, she was in the same class as George and Martha Washington’s granddaughter Nelly Custis.

When Anna was 19, she moved to the Northwest Territory with her father and her stepmother. There she met young Army officer, William Henry Harrison. The two fell in love, but Anna’s father did not approve. He didn’t want Anna to live the rough frontier life of an Army officer’s wife in the Northwest Territory. They married secretly. Judge Symmes eventually accepted his son-in-law.

Harrison served in the government of Indiana Territory. He became a national hero after fighting native people in the Battle of Tippecanoe. He also served as an officer in the War of 1812. At the beginning of the war, he moved his family near Anna’s father in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area. After the war, he represented Ohioans in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate. He served in the Ohio state senate and as an ambassador to Colombia in South America.

William and Anna Harrison had ten children. Anna homeschooled them in reading, writing, Bible, Shakespeare, and Greek philosophy. Anna was a woman of great faith. She was active in her church and enjoyed inviting the entire church to her home on some Sundays for an open house and supper.

Early in 1840, Martin Van Buren was serving as president and preparing to seek a second term in office. The Whig Party chose Harrison to run against him. Harrison was victorious over Van Buren. When Anna learned of her husband’s victory, she said: “I wish that my husband’s friends had left him where he is, happy and contented in retirement.”

William Harrison was 68 years old when he left Ohio to travel to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration. Anna was ill at the time, so they decided that she would come in May when the weather was better. Andrew Jackson was the first president to travel on a train, but Harrison became the first president to travel to Washington by train for his inauguration. He took along about a half dozen family members.

Harrison was inaugurated in a grand celebration on March 4, 1841. He soon became ill and developed pneumonia. He died on his 32nd day in office. Anna had begun to pack for her trip to Washington when she learned that her husband had died.

Congress gave Anna Harrison a lump sum pension and free postage for life. She lived as a widow for 22 years. She stayed interested in politics and strongly supported her son John Scott Harrison when he ran for Congress. She continued to serve in her church. She wrote and received many letters and visitors.

Anna Harrison was healthy in her later years, but she suffered much heartache. By the time she died, only one of her children was still living. She spent her last six years at the home of John Scott Harrison. His son Benjamin Harrison would become president in 1889.

Anna Harrison is the only First Lady to be both the wife of a president and the grandmother of a president. She is the First Lady who gave birth to the most children and the only First Lady who never went to the White House.

Anna Harrison’s faith sustained her through her many troubles. She often quoted this verse from the King James Bible:


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About Anna Tuthill Symmes, First Lady

Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison (July 25, 1775 - February 25, 1864), wife of President William Henry Harrison and grandmother of President Benjamin Harrison, was nominally First Lady of the United States during her husband's one-month term in 1841, but she never entered the White House.

Anna was born at Flatbrookville, Walpack Township, New Jersey on July 25, 1775 to Judge John Cleves and Anna Tuthill Symmes of Long Island. Her father was a Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and later became a prominent landowner in southwestern Ohio. When her mother died in 1776 her father disguised himself as a British soldier to carry her on horseback through the British lines to her grandparents on Long Island, who cared for her during the war. Her father was also a New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress and the Chairman of the Sussex County Committee of Safety.

She grew up in Long Island, receiving an unusually broad education for a woman of the times. She attended Clinton Academy at Easthampton, Long Island, and the private school of Isabella Graham in New York City.

When she was thirteen years old, Anna went with her father and stepmother into the Ohio wilderness, where they settled at North Bend, Ohio. While visiting relatives in Lexington, Kentucky in the spring of 1795, she met Lieutenant William Henry Harrison, in town on military business. Harrison was stationed at nearby Fort Washington. Anna's father thoroughly disapproved of Harrison, largely because he wanted to spare his daughter the hardships of army camp life. Despite his decree that the two stop seeing each other, the courtship flourished behind his back.

They married on November 25, 1795 at the home of Dr. Stephen Wood, treasurer of the Northwest Territory, at North Bend (her father was away in Cincinnati on business). The couple honeymooned at Fort Washington, as Harrison was still on duty. Two weeks later, at a farewell dinner for General "Mad" Anthony Wayne, Symmes confronted his new son-in-law for the first time since their wedding. Addressing him sternly, he demanded to know how he intended to support his daughter. Not until his son-in-law had achieved fame on the battlefield did Symmes come to accept him.

The couple apparently had a happy marriage despite the succession of tragedies in the untimely deaths of five of their grown children.

Birthplace also reported as Flatbrook NJ and Morristown NJ. http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/firstladies/ah9.html

Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison

Anna Harrison was too ill to travel when her husband set out from Ohio in 1841 for his inauguration. It was a long trip and a difficult one even by steamboat and railroad, with February weather uncertain at best, and she at age 65 was well acquainted with the rigors of frontier journeys.

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

A clandestine marriage on November 25, 1795, united Anna Symmes and Lt. William Henry Harrison, an experienced soldier at 22. 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, seeing her happiness, he accepted her choice.

Though Harrison won fame as an Indian fighter and hero of the War of 1812, he spent much of his life in a civilian career. His 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 handsome house 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."

When she decided not to go to Washington with him, 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. Half a dozen other relatives happily went with them. 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 lived nearby with her last surviving child, John Scott Harrison, until she died in February 1864 at the age of 88.

  • -------------------------------------
  • The descendants of William and Elizabeth Tuttle, who came from old to New England in 1635, and settled in New Haven in 1639, with numerous biographical notes and sketches : also, some account of the descendants of John Tuttle, of Ipswich and Henry Tuthill, of Hingham, Mass. (1883)
  • 22. Henry Tuthill was father of Henry 2d, who was father of Henry 3d, whose dau. Anna Tuthill, m. John Cleves (s. of Rev. Timothy) Symmes, b. July 10, 1742. He was an officer in the rev. army, and after one of the judges of the Supreme court of New Jersey. Not long after the war he bought a tract of land some twenty miles in length, on the north side of the Oldo river, including the site of Cincinnati. He removed to Ohio and res. at North Bend, then called Cleves, having been appointed by Washington U. S. Dist. Judge for the North West Ter. He d. at N. B., Feb., 1614. He m. (2) Widow Halsey of N. J. (3) Susanna, dau. of Hon. Wm. Livingston of N. J. Her sister was wife of John Jay. By 1st m. he had
  • 1. 'ANNA, who lived with her grandfather Tuthill at Southold, educated at the female academy at E. Hampton afterwards a pupil of Mrs. Isabella Graham, and res. in her family. In 1764 accompanied her father and step-mother to res. at No. Bend. where she m. Nov. 22, 1795, William Henry Harrison, then a young officer in command of Fort Hamilton afterwards President of the United States, in which office he d. in the White House at Washington. She d. Feb. 25, 1861, a. 88 yrs. and 7 months. About the year 1853 the compiler while engaged in surveying a route for the Cincinnati & St. Louis R. R., accepted the proffered hospitality of one of the sons of President Harrrison, then living a few miles below North Bend (Hon. Scott Harrison.) Mr. H. referred to his Tuthill relationships, saying his family had always held them in high esteem. Rev. Joseph Tuthill Daryea, D. D., is of this family.
  • -------------------
  • Tuthill family of Tharston, Norfolk County, England and Southold, Suffolk County, New York also written Totyl, Totehill, Tothill, Tuttle, etc (1898)
  • i. Henry, of Acquebogue, b. before Dec., 1715, d. 17 Sept., 1793 m. 16 Mch., 1738, Phoebe Horton (Caleb, Caleb, Caleb, Barnabas), d. 3 Nov., 1793, in her 75th yr. Henry's grand-da., 'ANNA SYMMES, m. President WM. HENRY HARRISON, and was the grandmother of President Benjamin Harrison.
  • --------------------------------------

Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison (July 25, 1775 - February 25, 1864), wife of President William Henry Harrison and grandmother of President Benjamin Harrison, was nominally First Lady of the United States during her husband's one-month term in 1841, but she never entered the White House.

Anna was born at Flatbrookville, Walpack Township, New Jersey on July 25, 1775 to Judge John Cleves and Anna Tuthill Symmes of Long Island. Her father was a Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and later became a prominent landowner in southwestern Ohio. When her mother died in 1776 her father disguised himself as a British soldier to carry her on horseback through the British lines to her grandparents on Long Island, who cared for her during the war. Her father was also a New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress and the Chairman of the Sussex County Committee of Safety.

She grew up in Long Island, receiving an unusually broad education for a woman of the times. She attended Clinton Academy at Easthampton, Long Island, and the private school of Isabella Graham in New York City.

When she was thirteen years old, Anna went with her father and stepmother into the Ohio wilderness, where they settled at North Bend, Ohio. While visiting relatives in Lexington, Kentucky in the spring of 1795, she met Lieutenant William Henry Harrison, in town on military business. Harrison was stationed at nearby Fort Washington. Anna's father thoroughly disapproved of Harrison, largely because he wanted to spare his daughter the hardships of army camp life. Despite his decree that the two stop seeing each other, the courtship flourished behind his back.

They married on November 25, 1795 at the home of Dr. Stephen Wood, treasurer of the Northwest Territory, at North Bend (her father was away in Cincinnati on business). The couple honeymooned at Fort Washington, as Harrison was still on duty. Two weeks later, at a farewell dinner for General "Mad" Anthony Wayne, Symmes confronted his new son-in-law for the first time since their wedding. Addressing him sternly, he demanded to know how he intended to support his daughter. Not until his son-in-law had achieved fame on the battlefield did Symmes come to accept him.

The couple apparently had a happy marriage despite the succession of tragedies in the untimely deaths of five of their grown children.

Anna Harrison was too ill to travel when her husband set out from Ohio in 1841 for his inauguration. It was a long trip and a difficult one even by steamboat and railroad, with February weather uncertain at best, and she at age 65 was well acquainted with the rigors of frontier journeys.

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

A clandestine marriage on November 25, 1795, united Anna Symmes and Lt. William Henry Harrison, an experienced soldier at 22. 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, seeing her happiness, he accepted her choice.

Though Harrison won fame as an Indian fighter and hero of the War of 1812, he spent much of his life in a civilian career. His 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 handsome house 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."

When she decided not to go to Washington with him, 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. Half a dozen other relatives happily went with them. 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 lived nearby with her last surviving child, John Scott Harrison, until she died in February 1864 at the age of 88.

------------------------------------- The descendants of William and Elizabeth Tuttle, who came from old to New England in 1635, and settled in New Haven in 1639, with numerous biographical notes and sketches : also, some account of the descendants of John Tuttle, of Ipswich and Henry Tuthill, of Hingham, Mass. (1883)

Henry Tuthill was father of Henry 2d, who was father of Henry 3d, whose dau. Anna Tuthill, m. John Cleves (s. of Rev. Timothy) Symmes, b. July 10, 1742. He was an officer in the rev. army, and after one of the judges of the Supreme court of New Jersey. Not long after the war he bought a tract of land some twenty miles in length, on the north side of the Oldo river, including the site of Cincinnati. He removed to Ohio and res. at North Bend, then called Cleves, having been appointed by Washington U. S. Dist. Judge for the North West Ter. He d. at N. B., Feb., 1614. He m. (2) Widow Halsey of N. J. (3) Susanna, dau. of Hon. Wm. Livingston of N. J. Her sister was wife of John Jay. By 1st m. he had

ANNA, who lived with her grandfather Tuthill at Southold, educated at the female academy at E. Hampton afterwards a pupil of Mrs. Isabella Graham, and res. in her family. In 1764 accompanied her father and step-mother to res. at No. Bend. where she m. Nov. 22, 1795, William Henry Harrison, then a young officer in command of Fort Hamilton afterwards President of the United States, in which office he d. in the White House at Washington. She d. Feb. 25, 1861, a. 88 yrs. and 7 months. About the year 1853 the compiler while engaged in surveying a route for the Cincinnati & St. Louis R. R., accepted the proffered hospitality of one of the sons of President Harrrison, then living a few miles below North Bend (Hon. Scott Harrison.) Mr. H. referred to his Tuthill relationships, saying his family had always held them in high esteem. Rev. Joseph Tuthill Daryea, D. D., is of this family.

Tuthill family of Tharston, Norfolk County, England and Southold, Suffolk County, New York

Henry, of Acquebogue, b. before Dec., 1715, d. 17 Sept., 1793 m. 16 Mch., 1738, Phoebe Horton (Caleb, Caleb, Caleb, Barnabas), d. 3 Nov., 1793, in her 75th yr. Henry's grand-da., 'ANNA SYMMES, m. President WM. HENRY HARRISON, and was the grandmother of President Benjamin Harrison.

A clandestine marriage on November 25, 1795, united Anna Symmes and Lt. William Henry Harrison, an experienced soldier at 22. 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 eventualy, seeing her happiness, he accepted her choice.

Though Harrison won fame as an Indian fighter and hero of the War of 1812, he spent much of his life in a civilian career. His 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 handsome house 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."

When she decided not to go to Washington with him, 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. Half a dozen other relatives happily went with them. 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 lived nearby with her last surviving child, John Scott Harrison, until she died in February 1864 at the age of 88.

Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison (July 25, 1775 - February 25, 1864), wife of President William Henry Harrison and grandmother of President Benjamin Harrison, was nominally First Lady of the United States during her husband's one-month term in 1841, but she never entered the White House.

Anna was born at Flatbrookville, Walpack Township, New Jersey on July 25, 1775 to Judge John Cleves and Anna Tuthill Symmes of Long Island. Her father was a Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and later became a prominent landowner in southwestern Ohio. When her mother died in 1776 her father disguised himself as a British soldier to carry her on horseback through the British lines to her grandparents on Long Island, who cared for her during the war. Her father was also a New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress and the Chairman of the Sussex County Committee of Safety.

She grew up in Long Island, receiving an unusually broad education for a woman of the times. She attended Clinton Academy at Easthampton, Long Island, and the private school of Isabella Graham in New York City.

When she was thirteen years old, Anna went with her father and stepmother into the Ohio wilderness, where they settled at North Bend, Ohio. While visiting relatives in Lexington, Kentucky in the spring of 1795, she met Lieutenant William Henry Harrison, in town on military business. Harrison was stationed at nearby Fort Washington. Anna's father thoroughly disapproved of Harrison, largely because he wanted to spare his daughter the hardships of army camp life. Despite his decree that the two stop seeing each other, the courtship flourished behind his back.

They married on November 25, 1795 at the home of Dr. Stephen Wood, treasurer of the Northwest Territory, at North Bend (her father was away in Cincinnati on business). The couple honeymooned at Fort Washington, as Harrison was still on duty. Two weeks later, at a farewell dinner for General "Mad" Anthony Wayne, Symmes confronted his new son-in-law for the first time since their wedding. Addressing him sternly, he demanded to know how he intended to support his daughter. Not until his son-in-law had achieved fame on the battlefield did Symmes come to accept him.

The couple apparently had a happy marriage despite the succession of tragedies in the untimely deaths of five of their grown children.

Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison

Anna Harrison was too ill to travel when her husband set out from Ohio in 1841 for his inauguration. It was a long trip and a difficult one even by steamboat and railroad, with February weather uncertain at best, and she at age 65 was well acquainted with the rigors of frontier journeys.

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

A clandestine marriage on November 25, 1795, united Anna Symmes and Lt. William Henry Harrison, an experienced soldier at 22. 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, seeing her happiness, he accepted her choice.

Though Harrison won fame as an Indian fighter and hero of the War of 1812, he spent much of his life in a civilian career. His 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 handsome house 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."

When she decided not to go to Washington with him, 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. Half a dozen other relatives happily went with them. 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 lived nearby with her last surviving child, John Scott Harrison, until she died in February 1864 at the age of 88.

------------------------------------- The descendants of William and Elizabeth Tuttle, who came from old to New England in 1635, and settled in New Haven in 1639, with numerous biographical notes and sketches : also, some account of the descendants of John Tuttle, of Ipswich and Henry Tuthill, of Hingham, Mass. (1883) http://www.archive.org/stream/descendantsofwil01tutt#page/n71/mode/2up 22. Henry Tuthill was father of Henry 2d, who was father of Henry 3d, whose dau. Anna Tuthill, m. John Cleves (s. of Rev. Timothy) Symmes, b. July 10, 1742. He was an officer in the rev. army, and after one of the judges of the Supreme court of New Jersey. Not long after the war he bought a tract of land some twenty miles in length, on the north side of the Oldo river, including the site of Cincinnati. He removed to Ohio and res. at North Bend, then called Cleves, having been appointed by Washington U. S. Dist. Judge for the North West Ter. He d. at N. B., Feb., 1614. He m. (2) Widow Halsey of N. J. (3) Susanna, dau. of Hon. Wm. Livingston of N. J. Her sister was wife of John Jay. By 1st m. he had 1. 'ANNA, who lived with her grandfather Tuthill at Southold, educated at the female academy at E. Hampton afterwards a pupil of Mrs. Isabella Graham, and res. in her family. In 1764 accompanied her father and step-mother to res. at No. Bend. where she m. Nov. 22, 1795, William Henry Harrison, then a young officer in command of Fort Hamilton afterwards President of the United States, in which office he d. in the White House at Washington. She d. Feb. 25, 1861, a. 88 yrs. and 7 months. About the year 1853 the compiler while engaged in surveying a route for the Cincinnati & St. Louis R. R., accepted the proffered hospitality of one of the sons of President Harrrison, then living a few miles below North Bend (Hon. Scott Harrison.) Mr. H. referred to his Tuthill relationships, saying his family had always held them in high esteem. Rev. Joseph Tuthill Daryea, D. D., is of this family. Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison (July 25, 1775 - February 25, 1864), wife of President William Henry Harrison and grandmother of President Benjamin Harrison, was nominally First Lady of the United States during her husband's one-month term in 1841, but she never entered the White House.

Anna was born at Flatbrookville, Walpack Township, New Jersey on July 25, 1775 to Judge John Cleves and Anna Tuthill Symmes of Long Island. Her father was a Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and later became a prominent landowner in southwestern Ohio. When her mother died in 1776 her father disguised himself as a British soldier to carry her on horseback through the British lines to her grandparents on Long Island, who cared for her during the war. Her father was also a New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress and the Chairman of the Sussex County Committee of Safety.

She grew up in Long Island, receiving an unusually broad education for a woman of the times. She attended Clinton Academy at Easthampton, Long Island, and the private school of Isabella Graham in New York City.

When she was thirteen years old, Anna went with her father and stepmother into the Ohio wilderness, where they settled at North Bend, Ohio. While visiting relatives in Lexington, Kentucky in the spring of 1795, she met Lieutenant William Henry Harrison, in town on military business. Harrison was stationed at nearby Fort Washington. Anna's father thoroughly disapproved of Harrison, largely because he wanted to spare his daughter the hardships of army camp life. Despite his decree that the two stop seeing each other, the courtship flourished behind his back.

They married on November 25, 1795 at the home of Dr. Stephen Wood, treasurer of the Northwest Territory, at North Bend (her father was away in Cincinnati on business). The couple honeymooned at Fort Washington, as Harrison was still on duty. Two weeks later, at a farewell dinner for General "Mad" Anthony Wayne, Symmes confronted his new son-in-law for the first time since their wedding. Addressing him sternly, he demanded to know how he intended to support his daughter. Not until his son-in-law had achieved fame on the battlefield did Symmes come to accept him.

The couple apparently had a happy marriage despite the succession of tragedies in the untimely deaths of five of their grown children.

Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison

Anna Harrison was too ill to travel when her husband set out from Ohio in 1841 for his inauguration. It was a long trip and a difficult one even by steamboat and railroad, with February weather uncertain at best, and she at age 65 was well acquainted with the rigors of frontier journeys.

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

A clandestine marriage on November 25, 1795, united Anna Symmes and Lt. William Henry Harrison, an experienced soldier at 22. 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, seeing her happiness, he accepted her choice.

Though Harrison won fame as an Indian fighter and hero of the War of 1812, he spent much of his life in a civilian career. His 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 handsome house 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."

When she decided not to go to Washington with him, 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. Half a dozen other relatives happily went with them. 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 lived nearby with her last surviving child, John Scott Harrison, until she died in February 1864 at the age of 88.


Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison

Anna Harrison was too ill to travel when her husband set out from Ohio in 1841 for his inauguration. It was a long trip and a difficult one even by steamboat and railroad, with February weather uncertain at best, and she at age 65 was well acquainted with the rigors of frontier journeys.

As a girl of 19, bringing pretty clothes and dainty manners, she went out to Ohio with her father, Judge John Cleves Symmes, who had taken up land for settlement on the “north bend” of the Ohio River. She had grown up a young lady of the East, completing her education at a boarding school in New York City.

A clandestine marriage on November 25, 1795, united Anna Symmes and Lt. William Henry Harrison, an experienced soldier at 22. 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, seeing her happiness, he accepted her choice.

Though Harrison won fame as an Indian fighter and hero of the War of 1812, he spent much of his life in a civilian career. His 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 handsome house 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.”

When she decided not to go to Washington with him, 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. Half a dozen other relatives happily went with them. 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 lived nearby with her last surviving child, John Scott Harrison, until she died in February 1864 at the age of 88.

The biographies of the First Ladies on WhiteHouse.gov are from “The First Ladies of the United States of America,” by Allida Black. Copyright 2009 by the White House Historical Association.

Learn more about Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison’s spouse, William Henry Harrison.


Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison - History

Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison

Anna Harrison was too ill to travel when her husband set out from Ohio in 1841 for his inauguration. It was a long trip and a difficult one even by steamboat and railroad, with February weather uncertain at best, and she at age 65 was well acquainted with the rigors of frontier journeys.

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

Though Harrison won fame as an Indian fighter and hero of the War of 1812, he spent much of his life in a civilian career. His 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 handsome house 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."

When she decided not to go to Washington with him, 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. Half a dozen other relatives happily went with them. 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 lived nearby with her last surviving child, John Scott Harrison, until she died in February 1864 at the age of 88.


Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison

(1775–1864). Although Anna Harrison’s husband, William Henry Harrison, was the ninth president of the United States, she never lived in the White House. She had been too ill to travel to Washington for his inauguration in March 1841. By the time she could make the trip, one month after the ceremony, he had died—his sudden death of pneumonia making his the shortest presidency in U.S. history. Her grandson Benjamin Harrison served as the nation’s 23rd president from 1889 to 1893.

Anna Tuthill Symmes was born in Morristown, N.J., on July 25, 1775. When she was 1 year old her mother died she was then raised by her maternal grandparents while her father fought in the American Revolution. She later attended prestigious girls’ schools on the East coast, including Clinton Academy in Easthampton, N.Y., and took classes from famed educator and philanthropist Isabella Marshall Graham.

The family, including Anna’s new stepmother, moved to Ohio in 1795 to settle on land purchased by Anna’s father after the revolution. While visiting her sister in Kentucky, Anna met William Henry Harrison, then a young soldier. Although William came from a prominent Virginia family, Anna’s father—a judge and wealthy landowner—objected to the match, citing the young man’s lack of any profession “but that of arms.” The couple married secretly on Nov. 25, 1795, while her father was away.

While William’s career progressed from garrison commander to congressional delegate from the territory of Ohio, Anna gave birth to ten children (including one who died at age 3) between 1796 and 1814, and she took primary responsibility for their education and upbringing. Despite her privileged childhood, she adapted well to the frontier life she led while her husband served as governor of the Indiana Territory (1800–12).

When William won the presidency in 1840, the couple asked their daughter-in-law, Jane Irwin Harrison, widow of their son William Henry, to perform the duties of first lady until Anna felt well enough to travel to Washington. As Anna began packing in April 1841, she learned of her husband’s death. Although he had served only one month in office, Congress voted to give Anna a pension equivalent to his salary, thus setting a precedent for the pensions of subsequent first ladies.

Anna outlived her husband by 23 years. In 1858 her house was destroyed in a fire, and she spent the remaining six years of her life with her son John Scott Harrison (Benjamin’s father), the only one of her children to outlive her. She died on Feb. 25, 1864, in North Bend, Ohio.


Anna (Symmes) Harrison 1775


Anna Symmes Harrison

Anna Symmes Harrison, wife of William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States, was born the 25th of July, 1775, at Morristown, New Jersey, her mother dying soon after her birth.

She was given into the care of her maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Tuthill, at Southhold, Long Island, at the age of four years. The British were then in possession of Long Island and, notwithstanding her tender years, she realized the danger of the journey. Her father, Hon. John Cleves Symmes, a colonel in the Continental Army, assumed the disguise of a British officer's uniform, that he might accomplish the perilous undertaking of transferring his little daughter from Morristown, New Jersey, to Southhold, Long Island.

He did not see her again until after the evacuation of New York, in the fall of 1783. She had most excellent care by her worthy grandparents, who did not neglect to give Anna religious instruction in her earliest childhood. She was also taught that industry, prudence and economy were Christian virtues. She was educated in the school of Mrs. Isabelle Graham, of New York.

In 1794 she accompanied her father and stepmother to Ohio, where her father had a small colony of settlers at North Bend, on the Ohio River. Judge Symmes was appointed one of the associate judges of the Supreme Court of the great northwestern territory. His district was a very large one, and frequently while he was attending the courts in his district. Anna visited her sister, Mrs. Peyton Short, at Lexington, Kentucky. During one of these visits she met Captain William Henry Harrison, the youngest son of Benjamin Harrison, of Virginia, and later married him.

After his service in the army. General Harrison was appointed the first governor of Indian Territory by President Adams, and removed his family to the old French town of Vincennes, on the Wabash, then the seat of government of the Indian Territory. Here he and Mrs. Harrison and their family lived for many years. Mrs. Harrison, through her courteous manners and liberal hospitality as mistress of the Governor's Mansion, won for herself a wide reputation. She resided in the Governor's Mansion through the administration of Adams, Jefferson and Madison, till 1812, when, after the surrender of Hull, Harrison was appointed to the command of the Northwestern army.

Mrs. Harrison remained in Vincennes during the absence of General Harrison, when he commanded the army which fought the battle of Prophets Town, Tippecanoe and other engagements. After his victories General Harrison was appointed Major-General of the forces in Kentucky, and removed his family to Cincinnati, where Mrs. Harrison and her children remained while he conducted his campaign against the hostile Indians. She arranged for the education of her children by private tutors, and herself conducted the entire rearing of her family, displaying the greatest executive ability, loyalty and Christian fortitude, bearing bravely bereavements that came to her through the death of her children and other members of her family.

When, after his election to the Presidency, General Harrison left his home to be in Washington for his inauguration, the 4th of March, 1 841, he was unaccompanied by Mrs. Harrison, who was in very delicate health and, through the advice of her physician, did not accompany her husband to Washington. Consequently, she never presided over the White House. One month from the day of his inauguration President Harrison died of pneumonia. Mrs. Harrison was in her home at North Bend, and was overwhelmed for a time by this fearful blow. She rallied, however, and lived for many years in the old home.

She eventually removed to that of her only surviving son, Hon. J. Scott Harrison, five miles below North Bend, on the Ohio River, where she resided until her death, the 25th of February, 1864, in the 89th year of her age. She lived to see many of her grandsons officers and soldiers in the Union Army during the Civil War and to predict the elevation of her grandson, Benjamin H. Harrison, to the office of President of the United States, which office had been filled by his grandfather, General William Henry Harrison.

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.

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Anna Harrison: Statistically Atypical First Lady

Anna Harrison, the wife of ninth U.S. president William Henry Harrison, was completely different from any other First Lady for a variety of reasons.

Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison (1775-1864) was, statistically speaking, a very unique First Lady. For example, she gave birth to more children than any other U.S. president’s wife. Also, she is the only woman to hold the distinction of being both the wife and grandmother of a chief executive. These are just a couple things that set Mrs. Harrison apart from the women who came before and after her.

Public Education on the American Frontier

Anna, born in Flatbrook, New Jersey, was raised in Ohio. Here, she became the first First Lady to receive a public education. This is remarkable in that most girls brought up on the frontier received very little, if any, formal schooling.

The First Lady with the Most Children

In 1795, Anna married a young army lieutenant– who had become a distinguished Indian fighter under the command of Revolutionary War general Mad Anthony Wayne in the Northwest Territory (a region that would later become Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois)– named William Henry Harrison. William and Anna were the parents of ten children– six sons and four daughters: Elizabeth Bassett (1796-1846) John Cleves Symmes (1798-1830) Lucy Singleton (1800-26) William Henry II (1802-38) John Scott (1804-78) Benjamin (1806-40) Mary Symmes (1809-42) Carter Bassett (1811-39) Anna Tuthill (1813-45) James Findlay (1814-17). This is the largest number of children born to a president and First Lady. Only one of these children, John Scott, survived both his parents.

First GrandmotherAnna is especially noteworthy in that she is the only First Lady to become both the wife and grandmother of a U.S. president. John Scott was the father of the twenty-third commander-in-chief, Benjamin Harrison. Benjamin held the nation’s highest office from 1889 to 1893.

Short TenureWhat really sets Anna Harrison apart from the other First Ladies, however, is that the fact that she only held this title for one month. William died on April 4, 1841, exactly one month after his inauguration. He had developed pneumonia after prolonged exposure to a cold, blustery March wind. The 68-year-old war hero had delivered his long inaugural speech hatless and coatless in order to prove his strength to the crowd.

As for Anna, she never actually set foot in Washington or lived in the White House. (The only other First Lady to never live in the White House was Martha Washington, for the Executive Mansion was not built until after her husband’s administration.) At age 65, Anna, the oldest of all the First Ladies, was too frail and ill to travel to the nation’s capital in the dead of winter.

Widow’s Pension

Anna lived to the age of 88. She died on February 25, 1864, at her home in North Bend, Ohio. Prior to her passing, Anna became the first presidential widow to receive a pension. She was given a lump sum of $25,000.


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