William Henry Harrison is widely accepted as the ninth President of the United States. In fact he was a fictitious character because the United States did not have a satisfactory presidential candidate by the planned inauguration date, March 4, 1841. This situation has never happened again although the United States came close when the American people had to choose between Senators Obama, Clinton, and McCain before the inauguration date of January 20, 2009.
In this particular election in 1841, the leaders of America realized throughout the campaigns that the American people did not have a clear-cut candidate so they invented William Henry Harrison. The government went so far as to give this fictitious character a stellar military record stretching back to the War of 1812. They also commissioned an artist to paint a portrait of him. When the votes were tallied, they gave the office to Harrison.
A portrait of the first fictitious President of the United States.
For 30 days, 12 hours, and 30 minutes, the government continued the hoax until they settled upon John Tyler as the tenth president of the United States, who is technically the ninth president. Tyler spent four turbulent years while in office, at one point losing all but one cabinet member.