| 4 By Natural Causes
|| 9||William Henry Harrison|
Harrison was 68 years old and (until the election of Ronald Reagan) was the oldest American President . On a cold (about 48℉), rainy March 4, 1841 day, he delivered the longest inauguration speech of all time. His 8,445 word proclamation consumed more than 2 hours during which time he did not wear a hat or coat. Later, (probably still in his wet clothes), he attended 3 inaugural balls.
Three weeks later, he developed pneumonia and died on April 4, 1841. His 31 day presidency is still the shortest in American history.
It was long believed that Harrison's inattention to health concerns on his Inauguration Day led to his rapid demise.
However recently, it has been thought that Harrison's death may have been a result of the poor water sanitation in the Washington, DC area in the mid-1800's. Washington DC was literally built on a swamp and the public water supply was poorly maintained. (The sewage was not adequately separated from the drinking water which may have created a breeding ground for the bacteria that cause enteric or typhoid fever.) Basically, Harrison's death may have been due to sepsis.
On an hot July 4, 1850 day, Zachary Taylor consumed a huge amount of cherries and iced milk and then later drank several glasses of water in the White House. He fell ill and shortly thereafter, on July 9, 1850, he died. It is believed he may have succumbed to food poisoning.
However, due to the poor sanitation practices of the Washington DC public water supply in the mid-1800's, his cause of death may have been due to cholera.
In any event, Zachary Taylor served the third shortest presidency - 492 days.
Warren G. Harding - heart attack||32||
Franklin Delano Roosevelt - cerebral hemorrhage|| ||
| 4 Were Assassinated||16 ||
Shortly after 10:00 pm on April 14, 1865, while attending a performance of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater, President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth.
The next day at 7:22 am, Lincoln passed away at Petersen's Boarding House, Washington DC.
Less than four months into his only term as President, at 9:30 am on July 2, 1881, James Garfield was shot by Charles J. Guiteau at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C.
Garfield's assassin, Guiteau was insane and deluded himself into thinking that he was largely responsible for Garfield's election and for his imagined political help, Guiteau thought he deserved a consulship but instead received nothing from Garfield or his staff. Guiteau believed that for this political "snub", Garfield must die.
Although doctors were very concerned that Garfield would soon die from the most serious gunshot wound he received, he actually died 79 days later on September 19, 1881 in Elberon, New Jersey.
Most people now believe that Garfield probably could have survived this wound if the doctors followed better antiseptic practices. Many unsuccessful attempts were made to locate the bullet, which was never found until Garfield's autopsy. These bullet searches were conducted by doctors using their unsterilized fingers leading to further infections and damage to other organs. Even the legendary Alexander Graham Bell devised a metal detector, but Garfield's doctor would only allow it to be used on just one side of Garfield's body - the wrong side!!
These rather unwise medical practices (by today's standards), undoubtedly led to James Garfield having the second shortest American presidency - 199 days.
On September 6, 1901, William McKinley, was shot in the Temple of Music of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. While shaking hands with the crowd, McKinley was approached by the anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, who shot him twice in the stomach. McKinley died on September 14, 1901 from gangrene caused by these wounds.
On November 22, 1963, at 12:30 pm (CST) while riding in a presidential motorcade through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, John F Kennedy was shot three times by Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine, who fired these shots from the sixth floor of the nearby Texas School Book Depository.
Kennedy was then rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1:00 pm (CST).