Death of William Henry Harrison, aka “Ol’ Tippecanoe”. April 6, 1841. His wife and Secretary of State are at his side. One of his grown sons and other cabinet members are also in the room. Harrison had the shortest term of any US president, at only 31 days. When he gave his inaugural address on March 4, it was frigid out, with late winter flurries. He wanted to prove himself still the steadfast hero of Tippecanoe that the nation knew him as, and delivered a two-hour address in the flurries without a cap or an overcoat.
When Harrison developed a bad cold three weeks later, the prevailing theories led doctors to believe that his extended exposure to the elements was to blame. The cold turned to pleurisy and pneumonia, but Harrison was still forced to lead the very busy schedule of a president, leading to little rest and time for recovery. Many “remedies” of the time were attempted in order to help him get better. Leeches, castor oil, Virginia snakeweed, and opium were all used, and other contemporary “curers” were also probably utilized. Notably, bloodletting was not used, though leeches were.
In the end, Harrison developed pneumonia through his entire lower right lobe, fluid in the lungs, jaundice, and septicemia.
After Harrison died, the Whig party remained extremely divided, and was never again a major contender in elections.