Anna Symmes Harrison was the wife of U.S. president William Henry Harrison, but he died before she arrived in Washington to serve as the first lady. Anna was the daughter of Judge John Symmes, a prosperous New Jersey widower who also owned land in Ohio. There she met and married Harrison in 1795, when he was an army lieutenant. While he pursued a career as a soldier and politician, she raised ten kids. She joined her husband in Vincennes, Indiana while he served as governor of Indiana Territory (1800-1812), but for most of her life she anchored the family in North Bend, Ohio. To Anna's dismay, her husband was pulled from retirement by the Whigs and ended up winning the presidential election of 1840. Too ill to join her husband for the inauguration (4 March 1841), Anna sent her widowed daughter-in-law, Jane Irwin Harrison, to perform the duties of first lady. Anna's plan to join President Harrison in Washington in April never came to pass -- he died before she left Ohio, after only a month in office (4 April 1841). She lived another 23 years and outlived all her children but one, John Scott Harrison, whose son went on to become the 23rd U.S. president, Benjamin Harrison.
Jane Irwin Harrison, who functioned as first lady during President Harrison’s brief time in office, was the widow of Anna’s eldest son, John Cleves Harrison (1798-1830)… Sometimes her name is given as Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison (Tuthill was her mother Anna’s maiden name).
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