Harrison Tomb

From Ohio History Central

Harrison, William Henry Tomb.jpg
Tomb of William Henry Harrison in North Bend, Hamilton County, Ohio, ca. 1924-1960. Harrison was the ninth President of the United States and the first President to die in office when he succumbed to pneumonia in April 1841 just a few weeks after his inauguration. Harrison personally chose his burial site. His wife, Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison, two of their

children and other relatives are also buried here.

Prior to his death, President William Henry Harrison selected a knoll overlooking his home and the Ohio River for the site of his tomb, at North Bend, Ohio. Following Harrison's death, his body was interred inside of the original tomb, a brick, barrel-arched structure with sod covering the building's roof. Soon after Harrison's internment, family members installed an iron door to limit access to the tomb. Besides Harrison, his wife, Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison, his son, John Scott Harrison, his daughter, Mary Symmes Harrison Thornton, his granddaughter, Anna Harrison Thornton Fitzhugh, and several additional family members are interred in the tomb.

Over the next four decades, the Harrison family provided for the tomb's upkeep. In 1879, family members authorized the covering of the building's brick with stucco and the installation of a flat flagstone roof. During the early 1880s, local residents formed a memorial association, which helped the Harrison family to care for the site.

At the end of the nineteenth century, local residents took a greater interest in preserving the tomb. Residents donated one thousand dollars to add new stonework to and to enlarge the structure. In 1919, the William Henry Harrison Memorial Commission formed and convinced the Ohio General Assembly to have the State of Ohio assume ownership of the site. This same year, the state legislature authorized ten thousand dollars to repair the structure and to construct two eagle-topped pillars and a balustrade near the tomb's entrance.

The most dramatic change to the tomb occurred in 1924, when the state legislature authorized the construction of a sixty-foot, brick obelisk, which was covered in Bedford limestone. In 1932, the Ohio General Assembly transferred the tomb's care to the Ohio History Connection, which, in conjunction with the Harrison-Symmes Memorial Foundation, continues to maintain the site today.

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