Severe Weather Casts Dark Shadow over Inaugurations One President Died in 1841 after Catching Chill

By Randolph E. Schmid The | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 3, 1997 | Go to article overview

Severe Weather Casts Dark Shadow over Inaugurations One President Died in 1841 after Catching Chill


Randolph E. Schmid The, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


THE SNOW BLEW into drifts and even toppled utility poles; 6,000 shovelers struggled to clear the streets between the Capitol and White House. Yet as noon approached on Inauguration Day, it was still snowing, and the temperature was at the freezing mark.

"I always knew it would be a cold day when I got to be president," William Howard Taft quipped to a reporter on that frigid day in 1909.

Nature does not always frown on presidential inaugurations, but occasional storms have been miserable, even fatal. William Henry Harrison declined the offer of a closed carriage and rode on horseback to the Capitol, braving cold temperatures and a northeastern wind on March 5, 1841. After speaking for more than an hour, he returned to the White House, again on horseback, catching a chill that eventually turned to pneumonia. He died a month later. "He was the first American president to die in office, a victim of his militant disdain for the elements," Patrick Hughes, a historian, observes in Weatherwise magazine. Ronald Reagan, who broke Harrison's record as the oldest man to become president, was more cautious in 1985 when the coldest weather in inaugural history struck Washington. Reagan moved the ceremonies indoors and canceled the parade. When Franklin Pierce was sworn in on March 4, 1853, the weather was raw and windy with light snow falling. Abigail Fillmore, wife of outgoing President Millard Fillmore, caught cold while sitting on the windswept inaugural platform. She died of pneumonia within weeks, Hughes says. Originally, presidential inaugurations were held on March 4, a date selected in an era of slow travel so that all the participants could be present for the ceremony. By the 1930s, transportation was much better. And politicians wanted to shorten the long "lame duck" period between the election in November and the inauguration, so a decision was made to change the date to January. Weather records showed that Jan. 20 tended to have mild conditions, so it was chosen. But the first ceremony on that date, in 1937, took place in a deluge, with 1. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Severe Weather Casts Dark Shadow over Inaugurations One President Died in 1841 after Catching Chill
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.