Before he was President: Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren, 1837-1841 lawyer, U.S. senator, governor of New York, vice president under Jackson
Van Buren did not attend college - which was not surprising for young men in the early nineteenth century - but in 1796 his father called in a political favor and managed to place his son with a lawyer's office as a law clerk. Martin clerked for Francis Silvester for seven years, sweeping floors or running errands by day and studying law at night. He moved to New York City—at that time inhabited by 60,000—for about a year, and gained admission to the state bar in 1803 at the age of twenty-one. Source

William Henry Harrison, 1841 Clerk of Hamilton County
Harrison's father was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Until 1790 Harrison was home schooled. He then went to medical school for one year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1791 his father died and by law his wealth was transferred to the oldest sons. Since William was the third son he did not receive any money and had to quit school in order to get a job. That job turned out to be the military where he served for many years.

William Harrison served as President about 1 month before he died from pneumonia, some say brought on by the incredibly long inaugural address he gave in freezing temperatures.

William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States, was appointed Hamilton County Clerk of Courts in May, 1836 and was still the Clerk when he was elected president in 1840. Source

John Tyler, 1841-1845 lawyer
Tyler was taught to play the fiddle by his father and Tyler dreamed of become an accomplished concert violinist but pursued the law instead. At the age of 14 Tyler entered William & Mary college. John Tyler was admitted to the bar at 19 in 1809. The legal age was 20 but no questions were ever asked or raised. (John Tyler's father was a friend of President Jefferson.) After he retired from public life, he often performed for guests at parties. His second wife, Julia, sometimes accompanied him on the guitar. Source1 Source2

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

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