Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison
Born: July 25, 1775 at Morristown, New Jersey
Died: February 25, 1864 (aged 88) at North Bend, Ohio
Spouse: William Henry Harrison (m. 1795 – 1841)
Children: She had 10 children
First Lady of the United States (1841)
Facts about Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison
Anna’s father thoroughly disapproved of Harrison, largely because he wanted to spare his daughter the hardships of army camp life. When William was inaugurated in 1841, Anna was detained by illness at their home in North Bend. Anna was packing for the move to the White House when she learned of William’s death in Washington, so she never made the journey.
She was the first one to have received a formal education. Being an educated woman she took an active interest in the education of her children and taught them reading, writing, and religious studies. She also introduced the children to Greek philosophy and Shakespeare.
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. Jane Irwin Harrison, who functioned as first lady during President Harrison’s brief time in office, was the widow of Annas eldest son, John Cleves Harrison (1798-1830)
In June 1841 Congress voted to give Anna a pension – a lump sum of $25,000 – and free postage on all her outgoing correspondence. She was the first presidential widow to be awarded a pension.
Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison Childhood
Anna was born at her father’s estate Solitude, just outside Morristown, New Jersey on July 25, 1775, to Judge John Cleves Symmes 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 deputy to the Provincial Congress of New Jersey (1775-1776), the Chairman of the Sussex County Committee of Safety during the Revolution, and a New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress (1785-1786).
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.
Where is Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison buried?
She was buried at the William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial in North Bend. Her funeral sermon was preached by Horace Bushnell.
How did Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison die?
Anna Harrison died by natural cause on February 25, 1864, at age 88.