Before he was President: William Harrison

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

James Knox Polk, 1845-1849 clerk of the state senate
James Polk entered the University of North Carolina as a sophomore in 1816, graduating with honors in 1818. He then studied law under Felix Grundy, a prominent lawyer in Nashville who later became a U.S. senator and attorney general in the Martin Van Buren administration. Polk passed the state bar exam in 1820. While working on his legal studies, he secured a job as clerk of the state senate—the bureaucratic post responsible for directing the flow of legislative paperwork. It was a wise move for the young man, who by then had decided to use the law and his statehouse connections as stepping stones to a political career. Source

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

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