Tippecanoe and 17, too!


Yeah, I know the glow of Friday has been dulled some in recent months, but don’t worry; promise you that we’ll get it back. (-:

Anyway, in other news, let’s talk us some “17,” shall we?!

Now, this is definitely kind of a weird one, but let’s give it a shot.

(Before we do, though, may I briefly say that although today’s post will mention former U.S. Presidents, I have absolutely no hidden political agenda here; only mentioning a former P.O.T.U.S or two for historical reasons.)

With that now out of the way, and as I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of info. here, but I’ll try to make it work!

So, Tippecanoe. (No, not messing with ‘ya. It was actually the site of a battle in Indiana, on the Tippecanoe river, near Lafayette, Indiana, during the War of 1812. And to add to some of the oddities surrounding it, the battle was actually fought in November 1811, nearly a year before war was even officially declared.)

The battle, pitting a U.S. expeditionary force vs. the then-Shawnee Indians, featured future U.S. President William Henry Harrison, then an army general and the force’s commander.

History tells us that the two sides suffered nearly equal losses in a short, but bloody, battle. And records indicate that the actual fighting only lasted about two hours, total, with General Harrison, bravely fighting alongside his men.

Harrison and some of his senior officers took to fighting on horseback, with Harrison spearheading the charge on the counterattack that led to victory. Praised for his valor and all-out guts – inciting his men to repel three different attacks, before leading a very risky, yet decisive counterattack – Harrison came to be known as the “hero of Tippecanoe,” an honor that ultimately helped propel him to the White House.

OK, you’ve got to be thinking, “Yeah, J. Fish, but what the hell does any of that have to do with 17?”

Promise you I’m getting there.

So after Harrison became a war hero, he started to become a player in the political arena. Though he was born in Virginian, the marquis moments of his early political career took place in Ohio. (Yep, the 17th U.S. State.)

And after having moved to North Bend, OH (just west of Cincinnati) he served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1816-1819) and a U.S. Senator from Ohio (1819-1821). Some years later, Harrison decided to run for President.

And with his connections to the 17th State, to its Ohioans who adopted him as one of their own, Harrison and his Buckeye brethren made their move.

Speaking of “Buckeyes,” (and even though the nickname is largely attributed to the buckeye tree, featuring nuts that look like the eye of a deer), Ohioans who wanted to see Harrison supplant then-incumbent President Martin Van Buren, came up with a campaign plan that would make James Carville green with envy.

It seems that Van Buren didn’t think too much of Harrison’s level of sophistication. In fact, when Van Buren learned that Harrison was planning to run against him, he commented that Harrison was best suited to be sitting in a log cabin vs.
the White House.

Harrison’s supporters, though, decided to turn Van Buren’s barb into a positive, dubbing the hero of Tippecanoe the “Log Cabin Candidate,” later creating a campaign emblem of a log cabin made from buckeye timbers.

That show of solidarity, plus the clever slogan of “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too” (to champion Harrison and his chosen running mate, John Tyler), more than legitimized Harrison’s candidacy.

Soon after, in November 1840, Harrison soundly defeated Van Buren. And shortly after the election, Ohio, the 17th state in the Union, officially became known as the “Buckeye State.”

As for Harrison, and quite ironically, given his reputation as a feared, but beloved battlefield hero, he caught pneumonia at his inaugural in January 1841. And he died one month later.

A lot to chew on, gang, but I hope you dig today’s minutia.

Have a great weekend,





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