Benjamin Harrison - Facts

August 20, 1833 - March 13, 1901

Key facts about Benjamin Harrison, twenty-third President of the United States from March 4, 1889 to March 4, 1893.

Benjamin Harrison, Portrait, 23rd President

Benjamin Harrison is one of five U.S. presidents who lost the popular vote but won the presidency (the others were John Quincy Adams (1824), Rutherford B. Hayes (1876), George W. Bush (2000), and Donald J. Trump (2016)). [Wikimedia Commons]

Full Name:

  • Benjamin Harrison

Birth Date:

  • August 20, 1833

Birth Location:

  • North Bend, Ohio


  • John and Elizabeth Ramsey (Irwin) Harrison


  • Miami University (1852)


  • Lawyer
  • Military officer
  • Politician

Career Summary:

  • Brevet brigadier general (USVA)
  • U.S. Senator
  • Twenty-third President of the United States


  • Caroline Lavinia Scott (1853)
  • Mary Scott Lord Dimmick (1896)


  • Kid Gloves Harrison
  • The Human Iceberg

Place of Death:

  • Indianapolis, Indiana

Date of Death:

  • March 13, 1901

Place of Burial:

  • Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana


  • Benjamin Harrison was the second of ten children of John and Elizabeth Harrison.
  • Benjamin Harrison’s great grandfather, Benjamin Harrison, signed the Declaration of Independence as a representative from Virginia at the First Continental Congress.
  • Benjamin Harrison’s grandfather, William Henry Harrison, served as America’s ninth president for one month before dying in office in 1841.
  • Benjamin Harrison’s father, John Scott Harrison, represented Ohio’s second district in the 33rd and 34th U.S. Congresses from March 4, 1853 through March 3, 1857.
  • Benjamin Harrison grew up on his father’s moderately successful 600-acre farm named “the Point;” at the juncture of the Great Miami and Ohio rivers.
  • Benjamin Harrison attended Farmers’ College, formerly known as Gary’s Academy, in Cincinnati from 1847 to 1850.
  • Benjamin Harrison attended Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio from 1850 to 1852.
  • Benjamin Harrison graduated from Miami University in 1852 ranked fourth in his class.
  • Benjamin Harrison studied law with the firm of Storer and Gwynne from 1852 to 1854.
  • Benjamin Harrison passed the Ohio bar exam and was licensed to practice law in 1854.
  • Benjamin Harrison married Caroline Lavinia Scott on October 20, 1853, at Oxford, Ohio. Their thirty-nine-year marriage, which ended with Carrie’s death in 1892, produced one son and one daughter.
  • In 1854 Benjamin Harrison moved to Indianapolis, where he joined the law firm of John H. Ray after being admitted to the Indiana bar.
  • In 1857, Benjamin Harrison won election as the Indianapolis city attorney.
  • During the 1860 presidential election, Benjamin Harrison campaigned actively for the Republican candidate, and eventual winner, Abraham Lincoln.
  • On August 2, 1862, Benjamin Harrison joined the Seventieth Indiana Infantry Regiment at the rank of second lieutenant.
  • By the time Benjamin Harrison’s regiment deployed to Kentucky on August 13, 1862, Benjamin Harrison had been promoted to colonel.
  • Benjamin Harrison received his first taste of combat on September 30, 1862, leading a surprise raid against a Rebel cavalry force near Russellville, Kentucky near the Tennessee border.
  • Benjamin Harrison’s regiment was ordered to join Major General William T. Sherman’s forces during the Atlanta Campaign in May 1864.
  • Commanding the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, of Major General Joseph Hooker’s 20th Corps, Benjamin Harrison led his men into action at the battles of Resaca, Cassville, New Hope Church, Lost Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, Marietta, Peach Tree Creek, and the Siege of Atlanta during the Atlanta Campaign.
  • Benjamin Harrison commanded a brigade during the Franklin-Nashville Campaign and fought at the Battle of Nashville (December 15-16, 1864).
  • Commanding the 1st Brigade, Third Division of the 20th Corps (the Army of Georgia), Benjamin Harrison was present when Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered his forces at Bennett Place, near Durham, North Carolina on April 18, 1865.
  • On May 26, 1865, the Adjutant General’s Office published General Orders No. 97, which brevetted Harrison to the rank of brigadier general, to date from January 23, 1865, “for ability and manifest energy and gallantry in command of a brigade.”
  • Benjamin Harrison mustered out of the volunteer army on June 8, 1865.
  • In 1872 Benjamin Harrison made an unsuccessful bid to secure the Indiana Republican gubernatorial nomination.
  • In 1876 Democratic candidate James D. Wilson defeated Benjamin Harrison in the Indiana gubernatorial election.
  • Benjamin Harrison was highly successful in the courtroom; by the end of his career, he argued a remarkable fifteen cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • In 1880 Benjamin Harrison chaired the Indiana delegation at the Republican national convention in Chicago.
  • Benjamin Harrison served in the U.S. Senate from March 4, 1881 until March 4, 1887 during the 47th through the 49th Congresses.
  • As a U.S. Senator, Benjamin Harrison championed civil service reform, strengthening the U.S. Navy, and boosting veterans’ benefits.
  • Delegates to the Republican National Convention in 1888 selected Benjamin Harrison as their presidential nominee on the eighth ballot.
  • In the 1888 presidential election, Democrat Grover Cleveland received 90,000 more votes than Benjamin Harrison.
  • In the 1888 presidential election, Benjamin Harrison received seventy-five more electoral votes than Democrat Grover Cleveland.
  • Benjamin Harrison is one of five U.S. presidents who lost the popular vote but won the presidency (the others were John Quincy Adams (1824), Rutherford B. Hayes (1876), George W. Bush (2000), and Donald J. Trump (2016)).
  • Benjamin Harrison served as the twenty-third President of the United States from March 4, 1889 to March 4, 1893.
  • Throughout his administration, Benjamin Harrison was a proactive president, embracing a leadership position, as opposed to merely executing the will of Congress.
  • During Benjamin Harrison’s administration, Secretary of State James G. Blaine convened the First International Conference of American States (aka the Pan-American Conference) from October 2, 1889 to April 1890 in Washington, DC to advance commercial, economic, military, and social cooperation among the nations of North, Central, and South America.
  • During Benjamin Harrison’s administration, Congress authorized and funded the construction of the nation’s first modern battleships.
  • During Benjamin Harrison’s first year in office, he signed the Dependent and Disability Pension Act in 1890, establishing pensions for all veterans who had been honorably discharged from Union service exceeding ninety days and who were unable to perform manual labor, regardless of their financial situation or when their disability occurred.
  • Benjamin Harrison signed the McKinley Tariff into law on October 1, 1890, but not before convincing the Senate to insert a provision greatly expanding presidential power in the area of foreign trade.
  • Benjamin Harrison signed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1890.
  • Benjamin Harrison supported the enactment of the Sherman Antitrust Act and signed it into law on July 2, 1890, however his administration did not vigorously enforce it.
  • Benjamin Harrison urged Congress to enact the Federal Elections Bill of 1890 to ensure the voting rights of African Americans in the South. The legislation passed the House of Representatives, but despite Harrison’s support, the Senate rejected it on January 22, 1891.
  • During Benjamin Harrison’s administration, six western states were admitted to the Union (North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming).
  • During Benjamin Harrison’s administration, an encounter between the 7th U.S. Cavalry and a group of Lakota Sioux near Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota, led to the deaths of over 150 Lakota men, women, and children, besides roughly twenty-five U.S. soldiers on December 29, 1890.
  • On October 1, 1890, Benjamin Harrison signed into law a bill creating Yosemite, Sequoia, and General Grant national parks.
  • On March 3, 1891, Benjamin Harrison signed the Forest Reserve Act into law. During his administration, Harrison used the act seventeen times to create national forests totaling millions of acres that would “preserve the fauna, fish, and flora of our country, and become resorts for the people seeking instruction and recreation.”
  • In 1892, Benjamin Harrison set aside one square mile surrounding the Casa Grande Ruins in Arizona as the first prehistoric and cultural reserve in the United States.
  • President Harrison and his wife were the first presidential family to have electricity installed in the White House.
  • Benjamin Harrison was the first president to have his voice recorded, using a wax phonograph cylinder.
  • First Lady Caroline Harrison died in the White House on October 25, 1892, at age sixty.
  • In the presidential election of 1892, former President Grover Cleveland defeated incumbent President Benjamin Harrison.
  • After leaving the White House, Benjamin Harrison returned to Indianapolis and resumed his legal career.
  • In 1894 Benjamin Harrison traveled to California where he lived for a brief period while delivering a series of lectures on constitutional law at Stanford University, which were published in 1901 as Views of an Ex-President.
  • In 1895 Benjamin Harrison began a six-year stint on the board of trustees of Purdue University.
  • In 1896, at age sixty-two, Benjamin Harrison married Mary Scott Lord Dimmick, the thirty-seven-year-old niece of his deceased wife. Their union produced one daughter born in 1897.
  • In 1897 Benjamin Harrison authored a book about the American government entitled This Country of Ours.
  • In 1900 Benjamin Harrison was legal counsel for the Republic of Venezuela in their British Guiana boundary dispute with the United Kingdom.
  • In February 1901 Benjamin Harrison contracted a respiratory infection that graduated to pneumonia, from which he could not recover.
  • Benjamin Harrison died at age sixty-seven in his Indianapolis home at 4:45 pm on March 13, 1901.
  • Benjamin Harrison’s remains were buried in Indianapolis’s Crown Hill Cemetery, next to his first wife, Caroline. Mary Dimmick Harrison was later buried next to him following her death in 1948.

Citation Information

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  • Article Title Benjamin Harrison - Facts
  • Date August 20, 1833 - March 13, 1901
  • Author
  • Keywords Benjamin Harrison
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date May 22, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update August 11, 2023