In another place in ‘real president’s-time’, a U.S. President lasted a mere 30 Days, 12 Hours, 30 Minutes in Office.
And he had a collective of women to help him get into that office.
Shortest serving First Lady, to 9th U.S. President William Henry Harrison of North Bend, Ohio….Jane Irwin Findlay Harrison Whiteman (a long name and story) went to the White House in February, 1841, for her father-in-law’s inauguration, in place of Harrison’s wife, Anna, who felt it a long arduous journey from North Bend, Ohio.
Jane Irwin Findlay Harrison, William and Anna Harrison’s recently widowed young daughter-in-law (son W.H.Harrison, Jr. died in 1838, after a long illness commonly known then as the drink); and mother of their grandchildren, was just the right person to go along with the new President Harrison, her sister-in-law Anna Harrison Taylor of Virginia would come too.
On a peculiar role Jane Harrison would find her life as both maternal and paternal aunt to future president Benjamin Harrison. Jane and her sister Elizabeth’s first cousin Mary Anne married another Harrison son, Carter. Jane I. F. Harrison Whitman’s sister Elizabeth Ramsey Irwin (1840-1850) married Wm. H. Harrison’s other son, John Scott Harrison and bore their son, Benjamin, 23rd U.S. President.
Young, vivacious Jane, also a niece and foster daughter of Cincinnati’s Mrs. James/Jane Findlay (The Market People, whose husband James was buddies with Pres. Wm. H. Harrison), who at 73, escorted Jane Harrison and Anna to Washington for the soirees, dinners, parades and all the formalities we have come to expect with a Presidency, arrived for all the bells and whistles attached to such celebrations.
Both Jane’s and Anna’s stays in D.C. in 1843 would be tragically brief; the President succumbed to ailment (current theories are septic shock) on April 4, 1841. In the official Presidential Deathbed Portrait we see two young women mourning this death. One woman is Jane the daughter-in-law, alongside her is W.H.H. daughter, the Mrs. William H. Harrison’s first lady’s namesake, Anna Harrison Taylor.
Elderly Aunt Jane Findlay returned to Cincinnati, living at Broadway and Arch Street—hosting a lively family and social life that whirls the mind of any reader seeing her list of visitors.
Anna Harrison Taylor, the president’s daughter, would return to Virginia, living in her father’s birthplace until her death.
Two years after Harrison’s death, in 1843, John Quincy Adams would come to Cincinnati, after much polite begging in written invitations…to lay the Cincinnati Observatory Cornerstone in anticipation of the soon to arrive German Merz & Mahler telescope Ormsby McKnight Mitchel would personally buy and retrieve back to Cincinnati in 1845; it’s why we named it MT. ADAMS. The Irwin and Findlay families were on hand for this Cincinnati milestone, making history was in their blood.
35-year old Jane I. F. Harrison married prominent Cincinnatian Lewis Whiteman; she died in 1847 of the that melancholic and most mean of diseases, tuberculosis.
She’s buried in Spring Grove Cemetery…as is her Aunt Jane Irwin Findlay and Lewis Whiteman, and her children.
With even the casual reader we see, maybe 3 degrees of separation between these Cincinnati people and history. And I didn’t even touch the Cincinnati’s President Taft.