President #29

William Henry Harrison's father signed the Declaration of Independence. As a boy, William used to think he wanted to be a doctor. To help people. His people. His father died. William was broke and couldn't finish school. He talked to a friend of his father in the army. He joined the next day and was sent to fight the Indians. He met a girl and they eloped.

Tecumseh was an Indian leader. His childhood was filled with vicious attacks from Americans, seeking revenge from the actions of his tribe. His brother was a religious teacher among the Indians. He gained a following as the two waged a war against the Americans in Indiana, then known as the Northwest Territories. Tecumseh battled for land for his people; so did Harrison.

While Tecumseh traveled to find support from other tribes for the war, Harrison attacked his brother. The Prophet, as his brother was known, attacked in surprise. He killed many but was defeated. Tecumseh was known as a great leader. Enigmatic, well spoken and energetic.

Eventually, he was killed by Harrison.

The Battle of Tippecanoe, the New Madrid Earthquake, Prophetstown, the Red Sticks, and Grouseland. Do any of these names matter?

Years later, Harrison was elected President. He died 32 days later. A footnote. He became an exercise in Constitutional law and the cause of the 25th Amendment. What do you care? What do I care? What of the people he loved? What of the people he killed? This all moves on and nobody cares to look too far behind them. It's hard to translate what it is you see.

I plan on being in Indiana in 18 months. Maybe I'll rent a car and go see the plains where Tecumseh died.

But I won't.

President William Harrison by Barak Hardley