America’s ninth president, William Henry Harrison, is remembered for two things: being long-winded and dying tragically. He had the longest inaugural address to date. He also had the shortest presidential term, dying 32 days after his March 4, 1841, inauguration.
The speech, which you can read here sometime if you’re on a transcontinental flight or camped outside the Apple store for a new iPhone, came in at a whopping 8,445 words and took him almost two hours to complete. That’s more than four times as long as President Obama’s 2012 speech. The second-longest speech, delivered by President Taft in 1909, was shorter by 3,000 words.
According to the National Weather Service, conditions during Harrison’s inauguration were “cloudy, cold and blustery.” The official cause of Harrison’s death was pneumonia that developed from a cold that he contracted that day at the Capitol.
However, that diagnosis has been called into question in recent years, instead pointing the finger at a case of typhoid fever. Harrison survived battles with Native Americans and the War of 1812, but the thing that may have taken out “Old Tippecanoe” was a contaminated White House water supply.
Just to be safe, hedge your bets: Be brief, listen to your mother when she tells you to wear a coat and buy a filter for your tap water.