Before he was President: Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1893 court decisions reporter of the Indiana Supreme Court, journalist
Benjamin was 7 years old when his grandfather, William Henry Harrison, became the 7th President of the United States. As you might expect, the grandson of the President had access to many books and lots of education. Although not considered wealthy, Benjamin's father did send his sons to a private school in their teenage years. He became an attorney at 20 years of age.

Benjamin and his wife Carrie moved to the new city of Cincinnati. They were able to ship all of their possessions there for 91 cents. Even with the celebrity of his grandfather, Benjamin had a tough time getting new clients so he took a second job as the town's court crier for $2.50 a day.

Harrison also had electricity installed in the White House for the first time by Edison General Electric Company, but he and his wife would not touch the light switches for fear of electrocution and would often go to sleep with the lights on. Benjamin Harrison By Charles William Calhoun

William McKinley, 1897-1901 teacher, soldier
In 1861 McKinley had to drop out of college due to illness and shortage of money. He took a job at the post office and then a job as a teacher making $25.00 a month. However, he would go back to college after the Civil War and complete a law degree.

In June of 1861 he joined the Army. He was given a $400.00 signing bonus (over a year’s salary for him) and $13.00 a month as a private.

Theodore Roosevelt, 1901-1909 rancher
An early business venture of Theodore Roosevelt's was that of a rancher. He started his own ranch in the Dakota Badlands and called it Elk Horn. He had a few employees, but did the same work that was required of them. Unfortunately, the ranching did not work out for Roosevelt, but during this time he also acquired a tough guy reputation. One story recounts he tracked down the thieves that stole horses from his ranch. He and two of his employees snuck up on the three thieves, caught them, and then, forced them to march for one week to the nearest sheriff. Another story tells of a bar fight he was in when a drunk patron armed with two pistols called Roosevelt "4 Eyes" because of the glasses he wore. However, before the drunk bully could lift up his hands Roosevelt knocked him out cold.

More stories: Duncan Hines   George Washington   Thomas Jefferson   Benjamin Franklin   James Garfield   Harry Truman   Henry Ford

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