William Henry Harrison (Wyoming politician)

William Henry Harrison (August 10, 1896  October 8, 1990) was an American politician who served as a U.S. Representative from Wyoming on three occasions; from 1951 to 1955, from 1961 to 1965, and from 1967 to 1969. A member of the Republican Party, Harrison was also his party's nominee in a special election and a general election for the U.S. Senate, both held on November 2, 1954.

William H. Harrison
Pocket Congressional Directory of the Eighty-Third Congress, 1953
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's at-large district
In office
January 3, 1967  January 3, 1969
Preceded byTeno Roncalio
Succeeded byJohn S. Wold
In office
January 3, 1961  January 3, 1965
Preceded byEdwin Keith Thomson
Succeeded byTeno Roncalio
In office
January 3, 1951  January 3, 1955
Preceded byFrank A. Barrett
Succeeded byEdwin Keith Thomson
Member of the
Wyoming House of Representatives
from Sheridan County
In office
Member of the
Indiana House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
William Henry Harrison

( 1896 -08-10)August 10, 1896
Terre Haute, Indiana, U.S.
DiedOctober 8, 1990(1990-10-08) (aged 94)
St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Mary Elizabeth Newton
RelativesHarrison family of Virginia
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Battles/warsWorld War I

Harrison was a grandson of the 23rd U.S. President, Benjamin Harrison, and a great-great-grandson of the 9th U.S. President, William Henry Harrison.

As of 2018, he is the last of his famous family to hold elective office.

Political career

Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, on August 10, 1896, Harrison was raised in Indiana, Washington, D.C., and Nebraska. During World War I, he served in the United States Army as a Private in the Air Corps.

He attended the University of Nebraska in 1919 and 1920, studied law, was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1925, and practiced in Indianapolis until 1936. He served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1927 to 1929.

In 1937, Harrison moved to Wyoming, where he practiced law in Sheridan County. From 1945 to 1950 he served in the Wyoming House of Representatives from Sheridan County. He served as the Secretary to the Wyoming Interim Committee from 1947 to 1950. (The Interim Committee is made up of members of the Wyoming House and Senate and is empowered to act on certain matters when the full legislature is not in session.)

Harrison was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1950. Re-elected in 1952, he served from 1951 to 1955. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1954, but ran as the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Sen. Edward D. Crippa from Wyoming. Crippa had been appointed in June 1954 following the suicide of Sen. Lester C. Hunt. As such, there was a simultaneous special election to fill the remaining months of Hunt's term. Harrison lost both the special election and the general election by three points to former Sen. Joseph C. O'Mahoney.

After his loss, Harrison served as the regional administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency from 1955 to 1956 and as liaison officer for the agency from 1957 to 1958. He was returned to Congress in 1960 and re-elected in 1962, and he served from 1961 to 1965. He was an unsuccessful candidate for re-election in 1964, finding himself amongst dozens of Republican members of Congress swept out of office in the landslide brought about by the 1964 presidential election, in which President Lyndon B. Johnson was elected to a full term over Sen. Barry Goldwater from Arizona by over twenty-two points.

Harrison ran again in 1966 and was elected to the Ninetieth U.S. Congress, serving from 1967 to 1969. He was denied re-nomination in 1968, losing the Republican primary that year to John S. Wold by two points. Harrison is, thus far, the only incumbent U.S. representative to lose re-nomination in Wyoming.

Harrison was appointed by President Richard Nixon to the Federal Renegotiation Board on July 23, 1969, and served until 1971. (The board was created in 1951 to review the annual profits of defense contractors, determine whether profits under no-bid contracts were excessive, and negotiate reductions. It was abolished in 1978.)

In retirement, Harrison lived in North Redington Beach, Florida, until his death in St. Petersburg in 1990. He was buried at Sheridan Municipal Cemetery in Sheridan County, Wyoming.


Many of Harrison's family members were politicians:

  • United States Congress. "William Henry Harrison (id: H000278)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • William Henry Harrison at Find a Grave
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Frank A. Barrett
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's at-large congressional district

January 3, 1951 January 3, 1955
Succeeded by
Edwin Keith Thomson
Preceded by
Edwin Keith Thomson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's at-large congressional district

January 3, 1961 January 3, 1965
Succeeded by
Teno Roncalio
Preceded by
Teno Roncalio
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's at-large congressional district

January 3, 1967 January 3, 1969
Succeeded by
John S. Wold
Party political offices
Preceded by
Edward V. Robertson
Republican nominee for
U.S. Senator from Wyoming (Class 2)

1954 (special), 1954
Succeeded by
Edwin Keith Thomson

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.

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