When Martin van Buren’s term ended, William Henry Harrison took over as the country’s 9th President. Unfortunately, Harrison has the distinction of being this country’s shortest acting President. He took the oath of office on March 4th, 1841, and died exactly one month later – April 4th, 1841 of what is suspected to have been septic shock from enteric fever.
During his brief time in office, Harrison owned a pet of sorts – a cow named Sukey. While it might seem odd for a President to own a cow, when Harrison was in office times were quite different and cows were commonplace. Many households owned one or more cows for the milk and meat that they provided.
Sukey was purchased from a Maryland farmer before Harrison took office, and brought along with the family when they moved into the White House. Along with a bible, she was one of the last purchases Harrison made before his death. When the President passed away, it is likely that Sukey remained with Mrs. Harrison and their 10 children as cows were very useful animals.