Creepy history, Criminals, Indianapolis, Irvington Ghost Tours, Medicine

Grave Robbing in Indiana. John Scott Harrison-The Unquiet Corpse. Part II.

 

Grave robbers part II

Original publish date: August 5, 2011

Last week, I told you a little about the macabre grave robbing profession and subsequent black market medical cadaver trade that once flourished in our capital city. What most Hoosiers don’t know is that Indianapolis has a Presidential connection to the dark art of body snatching. Former Ohio Congressman John Scott Harrison (October 4, 1804 – May 25, 1878) is the only man in American History whose father and son both became President of the United States. A former United States Senator in his own right, John Scott Harrison’s father was our nation’s ninth President William Henry Harrison and his son Benjamin Harrison became the 23rd President of the United States. Harrison was also the grandson of Benjamin Harrison V signer of the Declaration of Independence. Sadly, hardly anyone alive today has ever heard of John Scott Harrison or is aware of the story of his unquiet corpse.

 

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Death of President William Henry Harrison.

On May 25th, 1878 John Scott Harrison died suddenly at his Point Farm estate located near North Bend, Ohio, about 16 miles west of Cincinnati. He was 73 years old. Funeral services were held at the Presbyterian Church in Cleves, Ohio on May 29th. His body was interred in the William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial in North Bend with his parents and other family members. The Harrison family plot was located on a hill in the Congress Green Cemetery that featured a commanding, panoramic view of the Ohio River Valley below.

The bereaved family filed past the open coffin to cast a last glance upon the man who had so frequently and so successfully influenced their lives. Among them was his highly successful lawyer / US Senate candidate son from Indianapolis Benjamin Harrison, who was already at the helm of the State’s Republican party and just 19 years away from becoming President.

But far from resting in peace, his corpse became the central figure in one of the most widely heralded and distressing examples of grave-robbery in the history of the United States. During Senator Harrison’s memorial service, as the funeral party walked to John Scott’s grave they could not help but notice that the nearby grave of 23-year-old Augustus Devin, a nephew of Benjamin Harrison who had died suddenly and been buried there just a week before, had been disturbed. Though placed in his grave only the Saturday before, it appeared that young Devin’s grave had been robbed by body snatchers. At first, family members thought that wild hogs had been at work uprooting the earth. However upon closer examination, it was revealed that indeed there had been a theft of the corpse.

z McConnellJGraverobThe first order of business was to hide the fact from Devin’s widowed mother until the body could be recovered, and the second was to take precautions for safeguarding John Scott Harrison’s remains. Benjamin Harrison and his younger brother John carefully supervised the lowering of his father’s body into an eight-foot-long grave. At the bottom, they placed the state-of-the-art metallic casket into a secure brick vault with thick walls and a solid stone bottom. Three flat stones, eight or more inches thick were procured for a cover. With great difficulty the stones were lowered over the casket, the largest at the upper end and the two smaller slabs crosswise at the foot. All three of these slabs were carefully cemented together. The brothers waited patiently beside the open hole for several hours as the cement dried. Finally, with their father’s remains still under guard, a massive amount of dirt was shoveled into the hole and the brothers departed secure in the notion that their father would rest in peace for all eternity.

Benjamin Harrison took a train back to Indianapolis late that day so that he might have a few days to finish his address which would open the Republican State Convention on Wednesday, June 5th. The Harrison family saw Benjamin and his wife off at the depot and then all returned to North Bend except for the younger brother John. He remained in Cincinnati in order that he might begin a search in the morning for Augustus Devin’s body.

In the morning, John Harrison, his cousin George Eaton, and a couple of Cincinnati policemen began their search at the Ohio Medical College on 6th Street between Vine and Race on the city’s south side. It was common knowledge that “Resurrectionists” (the name the public gave to grave robbers) were in collusion with the medical school and routinely supplied research cadavers. A close search of the college was begun led by an obnoxious protesting janitor named A.Q. Marshall who toured the group around the building assuring them that they would find no bodies there. Thrusting their lantern into every dark corner of the building, true to the cranky janitor’s predictions, they found no trace of any body. As they were preparing to exit, one of the policemen noticed a rope stretched tight into a darkened well hole. Immediately he began to haul it up and it soon became evident that there was a heavy weight attached to the end of the rope. The tug-of-war continued until at last there emerged from the darkness a lifeless body with a cloth covering the head and shoulders of what was obviously the body of a very old man.

z grave_robbingJohn Harrison shrugged off the discovery knowing that his cousin Augustus Devin, the subject of their search, was a very young man. Still, the body was lain flat on the floor and the cloth was cast aside with the aid of a nearby stick. As the dead man’s face was revealed, John Harrison gasped in horror that the dead body was none other than that of his father, John Scott Harrison.

The terrible sight sickened him physically and tortured him emotionally. He had came looking for a widow’s son, and found instead the corpse of his own father, whom he had personally entombed less than twenty-four hours before. The scene was surreal, his illustrious father’s body hung by a rope around his neck swaying back-and-forth in a black hole in the Medical College of Ohio right in downtown Cincinnati. In his daze the youngest of the Harrison’s thought only of the family and how, above all else, this must be kept secret.

Secrecy proved impossible, then as now, when an event like this took place, word was bound to get out. A Cincinnati Commercial newspaper reporter heard the story from the members of the fire department located next to the medical college. The reporter tracked down Harrison, Eaton, and the two policemen, but they weren’t talking. The undertakers had been sworn to silence and would not even admit that a corpse had been discovered. However, before long the news leaked out from three relatives from North Bend who had visited the Harrison tomb and found that the grave had been disturbed. Apparently, the ghouls had broken the glass seal and unceremoniously dragged the body from the box out feet first.

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Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison had just arrived in Indianapolis when he was urgently called back to Cincinnati. Before “Lil’ Ben” arrived, his brother Carter swore out a warrant for the arrest of A.Q. Marshall the surly janitor at the Ohio Medical College. The janitor was arrested on the charge of receiving, concealing, and secreting John Scott Harrison’s body which had been unlawfully and maliciously removed from its grave. The medical school posted the $5,000.00 bond for the janitor’s release, andering the citizens of Cincinnati even more. Things went from bad to worse when the Medical College took the position that the adverse attention was hurting the school’s chances of obtaining additional cadavers for dissection. All of which made fantastic headlines for the local press.

Reports of the horrific crime brought out curious crowds who milled about the alley behind the medical school hoping to peer into the macabre cadaver chute. Local reporters interviewed as many people as possible quickly fueling the hysteria among Queen City citizens who wondered, “If this can happen to such an illustrious hero as John Scott Harriosn, what is to become of our loved ones?

Above all else, what became of Augustis Devin’s body? That question would go unanswered for another three weeks. On June 14th a janitor from the nearby Miami Medical School confessed that a notorious resurrectionist named Charles Morton (alias Dr. Gabriel, alias Dr. Morton, alias Dr. Christian, and alias Dr. Gordon) had bribed him to use the medical building basement as headquarters for preparing and shipping bodies to nearby cities. It was an excellent hiding place, for except for two hours each day, no member of the faculty was ever near the school. This veil of secrecy allowed Dr. Morton to work unmolested for nearly a month and in that time Augustus Devin and John Scott Harrison were two of his victims. The janitor’s confession basically indicted the entire medical profession across the United States.

The janitor revealed that most of the misappropriated bodies were shipped from Cincinnati to the Medical College at Ann Arbor, Michigan in barrels reading: “Quimby and Co.” The police left for Ann Arbor immediately and found a vat of brine containing several bodies already prepared for use in the fall and winter school sessions. Soon, the police identified one of the cadaver’s as that of Augustus Devin and a telegram was sent immediately to the family in North Bend. Young Devin’s remains were sent home and the body was reburied. The Harrison’s, including Benjamin, were counted among the one hundred and fifty prominent citizens assembled to pay final tribute to young Devin four weeks to the day after it was buried the first time.

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Herman Webster Mudgett aka H.H. Holmes (far left)

In December, 1879 the body of John Scott Harrison was reburied without fanfare in the Harrison family tomb where he rests peacefully to this very day. Benjamin Harrison never publicly spoke of the incident. However, an interesting footnote to the story with yet another tie-in to Irvington? Remember those bodies packed in pickle barrels from “Quimby & Co.” sent to the University of Michigan Medical School mentioned earlier? One of those Michigan students who undoubtedly participated in the dissection of those wayward cadavers was non-other than Herman Webster Mudgett, a graduate of the school in 1873. You might know Mudgett better by his alias, Dr. H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer.

Indianapolis, Medicine, Politics

First Lady Caroline Harrison. Death in the White House.

death-at-white-house

Original publish date: October 20, 2013

121 years ago this Friday, America lost it’s first lady, Benjamin Harrison lost a wife and two weeks later, he lost the Presidential election. Caroline Scott and Benjamin Harrison were married on October 20, 1853. The newlyweds lived at the Harrison family home at North Bend, Ohio for the first year until Benjamin completed his law studies and they moved to Indianapolis and set up his first practice.
During the first few years of their marriage, the couple rarely spent time together, as Benjamin worked to establish his law practice and became active in fraternal organizations to help build a network. In 1854, their first child Russell Benjamin Harrison was born. Not long after, a fire destroyed the Harrison home and all their belongings. Benjamin took a job handling cases for a local law firm and the family managed to recover financially. In 1858, Caroline gave birth to Mary Scott Harrison. In 1861 she gave birth to a second daughter, who died soon after birth.
While Benjamin Harrison’s star rose rapidly in his profession, Caroline cared for their children and was active in the First Presbyterian Church and Indianapolis orphans’ home. Benjamin’s long hours at the law office and his pursuit of a living drove a wedge between the young couple and although Caroline did not complain, the strain showed.
At the onset of the Civil War, both Harrison’s sought to help in the war effort. Caroline joined Indianapolis groups that raised money for supplies to help care for wounded soldiers. In 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for more troops, Benjamin recruited a regiment of over 1,000 men from Indiana. When the regiment left to join the Union Army at Louisville, Kentucky, Harrison was promoted to the rank of colonel, and his regiment was commissioned as the 70th Indiana Infantry.

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Brigadier General Benjamin Harrison of the XX Corps, 1865

In May 1864, the 70th Indiana regiment joined General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign and moved to the front lines, and Harrison was promoted to command the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division of the XX Corps. Harrison’s brigade participated in the brutal Battle of Nashville in December 1864, considered by historians to be the “Gettysburg of the West”. On March 22, 1865, Harrison earned a promotion to the rank of brigadier general.
The horrors of the Civil War taught General Harrison what was really important in his life and the tone of his letters to Caroline during the war are filled with a deep passionate tone. When he returned home, she would never again reproach him for neglect. His law practice and his fame grew, and he became a political force.
After the war, Benjamin Harrison spent the next decade practicing law and getting involved in politics. He ran for governor of Indiana in 1876, but lost. The Harrison home on North Delaware Street was built in 1874-75, and soon became a center of political activity. Her husband’s election to the Senate in 1880 brought Caroline to Washington, DC, but a serious fall on an icy sidewalk that year undermined her health. In 1883, she had surgery in New York that required a lengthy period of recovery. She had also suffered from respiratory problems since a bout with pneumonia in her youth, and did not participate much in Washington’s winter social season.
In the fall of 1887 Harrison was nominated for President by the Republican Party. In the campaign, Caroline was a definite asset. Her natural charm and open manner offset her husband’s chilly reserve (He often wore gloves to protect him from infection from others, and it bothered him to shake the hands of White House visitors), and the press loved her. In November 1888, Harrison defeated the incumbent Grover Cleveland.

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First Lady Caroline Harrison.

Caroline Harrison was 56 years old when she became first lady. Historians regard her as one of our most underrated First Ladies who, in contrast to her husband’s conservative policies, was earnestly devoted to women’s rights. She became known for her many “firsts” as First Lady. Caroline was the first first lady to deliver a speech she had written herself after she became the first president of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Caroline’s sister died in early December 1889 at the executive mansion and Mrs. Harrison decided to have the funeral in the east room of the White House. It would be the first funeral in that room since Abraham Lincoln in 1865. In spite of the family tragedy, Caroline went ahead with her plans to raise the first Christmas tree in the White House that same month. She had John Phillip Sousa and the Marine Band play and, for the first time since Sarah Polk was First Lady, there was dancing in the White House.
Perhaps her biggest first came when she had electricity installed in the White House, even though she was terrified by the new technology. Seems that President Benjamin Harrison received a shock from an Edison dc current light switch, after which his family feared touching the switches. Mrs Harrison rarely operated the light switches herself, choosing instead to sleep with the lights on when neither she nor her husband were willing to touch them for fear of electrocution. Servants were often made to turn the lights on and off for the Harrison family.
The First Lady was noted for her elegant White House receptions and dinners, but she is most remembered for her efforts to refurbish the dilapidated White House. She was horrified at the filth and clutter and thought the White House was beneath the dignity of the Presidency, describing it as “rat-infested and filthy.” She brought in ferrets to eat the rats, and lobbied to have the White House torn down and replaced with a more regal Executive Mansion. Instead the old building was refurbished from basement to attic, including a new heating system and a second bathroom. The old, sagging worn-out floors were replaced.
She hated the crowded living area and the tourists made it impossible to use the first floor. In 1889 Caroline Harrison found fault with the “circus atmosphere” in the mansion when she found visitors wandering uninvited into the family quarters. Harrison complained about the lack of privacy on the White House grounds, saying, “The White House is an office and a home combined. An evil combination.” She was the first to suggest the addition of office space to the Executive Mansion when she made up very detailed plans to add an East and a West Wing so that the original mansion could be used for entertaining and the family’s living area. Caroline Harrison’s plan was the first to move the office spaces out of the house.
As she worked to remodel the White House, Caroline was careful to inventory the contents of every room. She cataloged the mansion’s furniture, pictures and decorative objects, working to preserve those that had historical value. Caroline unearthed the chinaware of former presidential administrations found hidden away in closets and unused attic and basement spaces. She personally cleaned, repaired and identified which pieces belonged to which past President. She used their items to create a popular museum display case that remains in the White House to this day.
Artistically talented, Caroline taught classes in painting to anyone who wanted to learn and became the first First Lady to design her own White House china. She wanted new china that would be “symbolic and meaningful to Americans.” The first lady placed the Coat of Arms of the United States in the center ringed by a goldenrod and corn motif etched in gold around a wide outer band of blue. The corn represents Mrs. Harrison’s home state of Indiana and 44 stars, one for each state in the Union at the time, made up the inner border.
In the winter of 1891-1892 while she tried to fulfill her social obligations, Mrs.Harrison was frequently ill with bouts of bronchial infections. In March of 1892 she developed catarrhal pneumonia, followed by hemorrhaging of the lungs and was moved to a three-bedroom cottage on Loon Lake in the Adirondack Mountains in July. Following a brief rally, her doctors diagnosed her condition as tuberculosis, which at the time had no known cure or treatment other than rest and good nutrition. Although she briefly recovered at the mountain retreat, she suffered a setback in September and asked to be returned to the White House.

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The Death of First Lady Caroline Harrison in the White House.

On September 20, she returned to her favorite pale green and silver bedroom in the White House. It was sometimes used as a music room, furnished in pale green plush. One account states that Mrs. Harrison’s bedroom was: “Daintily appointed in pale green and silver, it stands just as Mrs. Harrison left it, and like the rest of the beautified White House, is a memorial to her refined and artistic taste.” Caroline must have been fond of the pale green palate as many of the multi-colored fabric pieces are done in green tones.
Caroline did not live to see her husband’s defeat for a second term as President. On October 25, 1892, Caroline died at the age of sixty of Typhoid fever. It was an election year, and out of respect for the president’s lady, after her death neither Harrison nor Cleveland actively campaigned for the presidency. Two weeks following her death, Harrison lost his bid for reelection. Daughter Mary Harrison McKee was already living at the White House with her family, and she took up the responsibilities of first lady for the last few months of Harrison’s term.
After private services were held in the East Room, the family brought her back to Indianapolis for interment. An official funeral service was held at the First Presbyterian Church. After the service, the cortege proceeded past the Harrison’s Delaware Street home before going on to Crown Hill Cemetery for burial.
Caroline Harrison’s legacy has proved to be historically important. The current architectural plan of the White House, in particular the East and West Wing, reflects the plan suggested by her in 1889, and the White House china room is certainly a testament to her historical sensitivity in rescuing, repairing and identifying artifacts from previous administrations. Caroline Harrison was not able to use the china she had ordered. She died before it was delivered. It arrived at the White House in December of 1892.

 

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Benjamin Harrison home at 1230 North Delaware Street in Indianapolis.

You can honor Caroline Harrison’s memory with a visit to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site at 1230 North Delaware Street. The home offers tours daily. Another option, perhaps more consistent with the season, would be to visit her final resting place at Crown Hill Cemetery at 3402 Boulevard Place. Tour Guide and historian Tom Davis will be reprising his popular “Skeletons in the closet” tours (there are 2 different) on October 24, 25, 26 and November 2. Check their web site for specifics. Although I don’t think Caroline’s gravesite is particularly featured on Tom’s tours, I’m pretty sure he’ll take you there if you were to ask him. After all, Tom knows where all the bodies are buried.

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Benjamin Harrison Grave in Crown Hill Cemetery.
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Caroline Harrison Grave in Crown Hill Cemetery.
Indianapolis, Politics

Caroline Harrison-Indianapolis loses a First Lady.

death-at-white-houseOriginal publish date:                 October 20 2013

121 years ago this Friday, America lost it’s first lady, Benjamin Harrison lost a wife and two weeks later, he lost the Presidential election. Caroline Scott and Benjamin Harrison were married on October 20, 1853. The newlyweds lived at the Harrison family home at North Bend, Ohio for the first year until Benjamin completed his law studies aand they moved to Indianapolis and set up his first practice.
During the first few years of their marriage, the couple rarely spent time together, as Benjamin worked to establish his law practice and became active in fraternal organizations to help build a network. In 1854, their first child Russell Benjamin Harrison was born. Not long after, a fire destroyed the Harrison home and all their belongings. Benjamin took a job handling cases for a local law firm and the family managed to recover financially. In 1858, Caroline gave birth to Mary Scott Harrison. In 1861 she gave birth to a second daughter, who died soon after birth.
While Benjamin Harrison’s star rose rapidly in his profession, Caroline cared for their children and was active in the First Presbyterian Church and Indianapolis orphans’ home. Benjamin’s long hours at the law office and his pursuit of a living drove a wedge between the young couple and although Caroline did not complain, the strain showed.
At the onset of the Civil War, both Harrisons sought to help in the war effort. Caroline joined Indianapolis groups that raised money for supplies to help care for wounded soldiers. In 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for more troops, Benjamin recruited a regiment of over 1,000 men from Indiana. When the regiment left to join the Union Army at Louisville, Kentucky, Harrison was promoted to the rank of colonel, and his regiment was commissioned as the 70th Indiana Infantry.
In May 1864, the 70th Indiana regiment joined General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign and moved to the front lines, and Harrison was promoted to command the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division of the XX Corps. Harrison’s brigade participated in the brutal Battle of Nashville in December 1864, considered by historians to be the “Gettysburg of the West”. On March 22, 1865, Harrison earned a promotion to the rank of brigadier general.
The horrors of the Civil War taught General Harrison what was really important in his life and the tone of his letters to Caroline during the war are filled with a deep passionate tone. When he returned home, she would never again reproach him for neglect. His law practice and his fame grew, and he became a political force.
71035-004-D5F69C40After the war, Benjamin Harrison spent the next decade practicing law and getting involved in politics. He ran for governor of Indiana in 1876, but lost. The Harrison home on North Delaware Street was built in 1874-75, and soon became a center of political activity. Her husband’s election to the Senate in 1880 brought Caroline to Washington, DC, but a serious fall on an icy sidewalk that year undermined her health. In 1883, she had surgery in New York that required a lengthy period of recovery. She had also suffered from respiratory problems since a bout with pneumonia in her youth, and did not participate much in Washington’s winter social season.
In the fall of 1887 Harrison was nominated for President by the Republican Party. In the campaign, Caroline was a definite asset. Her natural charm and open manner offset her husband’s chilly reserve (He often wore gloves to protect him from infection from others, and it bothered him to shake the hands of White House visitors), and the press loved her. In November 1888, Harrison defeated the incumbent Grover Cleveland.
Caroline Harrison was 56 years old when she became first lady. Historians regard her as one of our most underrated First Ladies who, in contrast to her husband’s conservative policies, was earnestly devoted to women’s rights. She became known for her many “firsts” as First Lady. Caroline was the first first lady to deliver a speech she had written herself after she became the first president of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Caroline’s sister died in early December 1889 at the executive mansion and Mrs. Harrison decided to have the funeral in the east room of the White House. It would be the first funeral in that room since Abraham Lincoln in 1865. In spite of the family tragedy, Caroline went ahead with her plans to raise the first Christmas tree in the White House that same month. She had John Phillip Sousa and the Marine Band play and, for the first time since Sarah Polk was First Lady, there was dancing in the White House.
Perhaps her biggest first came when she had electricity installed in the White House, even though she was terrified by the new technology. Seems that President Benjamin Harrison received a shock from an Edison dc current light switch, after which his family feared touching the switches. Mrs Harrison rarely operated the light switches herself, choosing instead to sleep with the lights on when neither she nor her husband were willing to touch them for fear of electrocution. Servants were often made to turn the lights on and off for the Harrison family.
Caroline_Harrison_cph.3b20942The First Lady was noted for her elegant White House receptions and dinners, but she is most remembered for her efforts to refurbish the dilapidated White House. She was horrified at the filth and clutter and thought the White House was beneath the dignity of the Presidency, describing it as “rat-infested and filthy.” She brought in ferrets to eat the rats, and lobbied to have the White House torn down and replaced with a more regal Executive Mansion. Instead the old building was refurbished from basement to attic, including a new heating system and a second bathroom. The old, sagging worn-out floors were replaced.
She hated the crowded living area and the tourists made it impossible to use the first floor. In 1889 Caroline Harrison found fault with the “circus atmosphere” in the mansion when she found visitors wandering uninvited into the family quarters. Harrison complained about the lack of privacy on the White House grounds, saying, “The White House is an office and a home combined. An evil combination.” She was the first to suggest the addition of office space to the Executive Mansion when she made up very detailed plans to add an East and a West Wing so that the original mansion could be used for entertaining and the family’s living area. Caroline Harrison’s plan was the first to move the office spaces out of the house.
As she worked to remodel the White House, Caroline was careful to inventory the contents of every room. She cataloged the mansion’s furniture, pictures and decorative objects, working to preserve those that had historical value. Caroline unearthed the chinaware of former presidential administrations found hidden away in closets and unused attic and basement spaces. She personally cleaned, repaired and identified which pieces belonged to which past President. She used their items to create a popular museum display case that remains in the White House to this day.
Artistically talented, Caroline taught classes in painting to anyone who wanted to learn and became the first First Lady to design her own White House china. She wanted new china that would be “symbolic and meaningful to Americans.” The first lady placed the Coat of Arms of the United States in the center ringed by a goldenrod and corn motif etched in gold around a wide outer band of blue. The corn represents Mrs. Harrison’s home state of Indiana and 44 stars, one for each state in the Union at the time, made up the inner border.
In the winter of 1891-1892 while she tried to fulfill her social obligations, Mrs.Harrison was frequently ill with bouts of bronchial infections. In March of 1892 she developed catarrhal pneumonia, followed by hemorrhaging of the lungs and was moved to a three-bedroom cottage on Loon Lake in the Adirondack Mountains in July. Following a brief rally, her doctors diagnosed her condition as tuberculosis, which at the time had no known cure or treatment other than rest and good nutrition. Although she briefly recovered at the mountain retreat, she suffered a setback in September and asked to be returned to the White House.
On September 20, she returned to her favorite pale green and silver bedroom in the White House. It was sometimes used as a music room, furnished in pale green plush. One account states that Mrs. Harrison’s bedroom was: “Daintily appointed in pale green and silver, it stands just as Mrs. Harrison left it, and like the rest of the beautified White House, is a memorial to her refined and artistic taste.” Caroline must have been fond of the pale green palate as many of the multi-colored fabric pieces are done in green tones.
Caroline did not live to see her husband’s defeat for a second term as President. On October 25, 1892, Caroline died at the age of sixty of Typhoid fever. It was an election year, and out of respect for the president’s lady, after her death neither Harrison nor Cleveland actively campaigned for the presidency. Two weeks following her death, Harrison lost his bid for reelection. Daughter Mary Harrison McKee was already living at the White House with her family, and she took up the responsibilities of first lady for the last few months of Harrison’s term.
After private services were held in the East Room, the family brought her back to Indianapolis for interment. An official funeral service was held at the First Presbyterian Church. After the service, the cortege proceeded past the Harrison’s Delaware Street home before going on to Crown Hill Cemetery for burial.
Caroline Harrison’s legacy has proved to be historically important. The current architectural plan of the White House, in particular the East and West Wing, reflects the plan suggested by her in 1889, and the White House china room is certainly a testament to her historical sensitivity in rescuing, repairing and identifying artifacts from previous administrations. Caroline Harrison was not able to use the china she had ordered. She died before it was delivered. It arrived at the White House in December of 1892.
You can honor Caroline Harrison’s memory with a visit to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site at 1230 North Delaware Street. The home offers tours daily. Another option, perhaps more consistent with the season, would be to visit her final resting place at Crown Hill Cemetery at 3402 Boulevard Place. Tour Guide and historian Tom Davis will be reprising his popular “Skeletons in the closet” tours (there are 2 different) on October 24, 25, 26 and November 2. Check their web site for specifics. Although I don’t think Caroline’s gravesite is particularly featured on Tom’s tours, I’m pretty sure he’ll take you there if you were to ask him. After all, Tom knows where all the bodies are buried.