Showing posts with label Harrison. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Harrison. Show all posts

Friday, July 4, 2014

My Military Ancestors

     This 4th of July I am thinking back about my ancestors that served the United States in times of conflict.  My ancestors fought in nearly ever major war, from the French and Indian War, through the Revolution and in to the 20th Century (the exceptions being World War I and the Mexican-American War).  Below is what I have been able to uncover so far about the military service of my ancestors.

French and Indian War

Battaile Harrison (1725-1776)
Lieutenant in VA Militia

Henry Francis (1734-1780)
Sergeant, 1st VA Regiment

John Hurlbut, Jr. (1732-1782)
Private, Connecticut Militia, Capt. Daniel Bradley's Company of Col.Andrew Burr's Regiment.
Kept a diary of his service at Fort Ticonderoga. More info.

Grave of Henry Francis, at the site of the Battle of Shallow Ford

Revolutionary War

Henry Francis (1734-1780)
Captain, VA Militia
Killed in action at Battle of Shallow Ford (NC), October 14, 1780. More info.

Battaile Harrison (1725-1776)
Lieutenant, MD & VA Rifle Regiment
Killed in action at Battle of Fort Washington (NY), November 16, 1776 More info.

Elisha Blackman
Elisha Blackman III (1760-1846)
Private, Pennsylvania Militia under Captain Bidlack.
Survivor of the Wyoming Massacre (PA) (July 3rd 1778) More info.

Reuben Harrison Sr. (1749-1824)
Ensign, Amherst Co., VA Militia

Hezekiah Stone (1752-1798)
Corporal, 6th VA Regiment (Lunenburg Co.) Commanded by Capt. Garland.
Present at Valley Forge, PA in January, 1778.

Joshua Ferguson (1753-1837)
Private, Fairfax Co. VA Militia under Col. Waggoner.
Met George Washington and defended Mount Vernon and Alexandria, VA. More info.

Isham Beasley (1760-1855)
Private, Enlisted November, 1779, North Carolina

John Knight (1760-1843)
Private, in Regiment Commanded by Col. Matthew Locke in North Carolina.

John Stewart (1730-1805)
Private, 3rd VA Regiment (Halifax Co.) Commanded by Col. Thomas Marshall.

War of 1812

Reuben Harrison Jr. (1782-1844)
Major, Kentucky Mounted Militia.

Samuel Shelton Sr. (1793-1868)

John Selby (1786-1851)
Private, Virginia Militia, Commanded by Capt. Baldwin

Civil War

Jacob Frank (1833-1909) (Union)
Private, 9th Cavalry Regiment, Missouri State Militia Vols, Co. D.
Patrolled Missouri, mostly in Franklin and Gasconade counties. Protected rail lines from saboteurs. Reenlisted 1863, Thomas’ Callaway County Volunteer Militia G.O. #3 (Callaway County Home Guard)

James L Crisp (1830-1887) (Union)
Private, Company C, 42 Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia

Patrick Sullivan

Patrick Sullivan (1839-1888) (Union)
Private, Co. B, 7th Mo. Reg't Inv. Vols. under Captain Coffee.
Siege of Vicksburg, MS, May 18-July 4, 1863. Reenlisted as a veteran Dec 13, 1863 at Vicksburg, MS. Transferred to 11th Mo. Reg't Inf. Vols., Co. C under Captain Scott. Injured while on patrol in TN in 1865. More info.

George Gruenewald (1844-1917) (Union)
Private, 1st Missouri Vols., Co. C.

Jacob Gruenewald (1815-1869)(Union)
Private, 1st Regiment, Missouri State Militia Infantry, Co.K

Joseph Selby (1824-1874) (Union)
Private, 7th Regt Iowa Infantry, Co. E. Reenlisted as a veteran 1863 in Missouri

Jesse Beasley (1827-1904) (Confederate)
Private, 24th TN Inf., Co. H
Battle of Shiloh (TN, April 6-7, 1862)
Battle of Perryville (KY, October 8, 1862)
Battle of Murfreesboro(TN, December 31, 1862)
Battle of Chickamauga (TN, September 19-20, 1863)
Battle of Missionary Ridge (TN, November 25, 1863)
Atlanta Campaign (GA, May-July 1864)
Battle of Franklin (TN, November 30, 1864)

Forrest Frank Jr. and wife Ruth, Alabama, 1941

World War II

Forrest F. Frank, Jr.
Private, U.S. Army
Served in Pacific Theater, stationed at base in Philippines.

Selected Sources

Diary of John Hurlbut, Jr.
Describes his march from Connecticut to upstate New York and the capture of Fort Ticonderoga from the French in 1759.

Battaile Harrison Revolutionary War Land Bounty Application
Filed by his nephew.

Ancestor Spotlight Elisha Blackman III
My blog post recounting Elisha Blackman's experience during the Wyoming Massacre.

Revolutionary War Pension application of Joshua Ferguson.     
In which he recalls his wartime activities in Fairfax County, Virginia, including meeting General George Washington. Transcript

Civil War Pension application of Hannah Sullivan, widow of Patrick Sullivan.
Includes testimony regarding his service and injury, as well as family birth and marriage records.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Harrison Family

The Harrison family has its origins in England. Beyond that, the exact origins are unknown. At least three different genealogists have tried to uncover English records for this Harrison family. Best guesses are that the family is from either Cambridge or London. But neither of these theories is supported by solid evidence. What is clear is that our line NOT connected within America to the "famous" Harrison line, which includes two presidents and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Our story starts with Andrew Harrison Sr., who was born sometime between 1640 and 1660 in England. He immigrated to Virginia colony sometime before 1683. Records indicate that Andrew Sr. came to the colonies under a "headright" contract with a colony official named Cadwallader Jones.

The Headright system was established by the colonial government as a method of solving the colony's chronic shortage of laborers. Passage to the Americas was not cheap, and often those wealthy enough to afford passage did not wish to pay for a number of servants to accompany them. The headright system gave these future landowners a bonus of 50 acres per person they paid to bring over from England. Many wealthy landowners saw a business opportunity, and established headright contracts, where the landowners paid for the passage of an indentured servant, who then worked for a set amount of time afterwards until the cost of the passage and the cost of the land was paid to the landowner, at which point the servant was freed and received title to the 50 acres.

Location of Andrew Harrison's Plantation in Virginia

If this is how Andrew Sr. came to Virginia, then within a few years Andrew Sr. had made enough to free himself of the debt, because he is listed as a freeman in the mid-1680's. Further, in 1686, Andrew Sr. and some friends entered the lucrative headright business themselves. Andrew Sr. purchased several thousand acres on Golden Vale Creek in Essex Co, Virginia (Now Caroline Co). He lived on 130 acres of the land, and used the rest for headright contracts. At one point he owned 1800 acres as part of his plantation. All this land is now part of the Fort A.P. Hill military training center near the town of Bowling Green, Virginia.

Andrew Sr. was probably a wealthy man by colonial Virginia standards. He was a tobacco plantation owner, with several slaves and indentured servants, and he (and later his son Andrew Jr.) served in the office of Constable for his part of Essex Co. for a number of years. Holding an office in the colonial government speaks to the fact that Andrew Sr. was a man of wealth and privilege.

Picture of a Tobacco PlantationA Tobacco Plantation
Like most colonists, Andrew Sr.'s life revolved around tobacco. The rise and fall of tobacco prices governed not only the wealth of the planters, but also the stability of the government. At least twice during Andrew Sr.'s life rebellions occurred in Virginia colony directly related to tobacco laws imposed by the British. It is likely that Andrew Sr. or his son Andrew Jr. were involved in at least one of these rebellions, when in 1714 a group of planters burned British-controlled tobacco warehouses in Williamsburg, where Andrew Sr. took his tobacco to market. Andrew Sr. was one of a group of planters who sold their tobacco to private warehouses run by free black merchants, who offered better prices than the British government. When the British government tried to ban private wholesalers, the planters rebelled and burned the British-controlled warehouses. We have no record of Andrew Sr. or Jr. directly participating in any of these rebellions, but it is likely that they were somehow involved as they had a large stake in the matter.

One of Andrew Sr.'s closest friends was John Battaile, a fellow headright who became his neighbor in Virginia and had remained a close family friend of the Harrisons. John Battaile had connections to many of the elite members of Virginia colonial society, which both the Battailes and the Harrisons exploited. John had married into two very important families, the Taliaferros and the Smiths, who had received very large grants of land in the colonies and were prominent members of the aristocracy.

In 1708 John Battaile died, leaving his daughter Elizabeth in the care of the Harrisons. Andrew Sr. was made her guardian. Two years later, Elizabeth married Andrew Sr.'s son, Andrew Jr. The couple inherited several hundred acres of land along Golden Vale Creek when Andrew Sr. died in 1718.

Andrew Jr. was a tobacco plantation owner like his father. He also served as an Essex Co. constable, and later, as an officer in the Spotsylvania county militia and a road overseer for Spotsylvania county. The records that survive show that Andrew Jr. was well-connected and a savvy businessman. For example, in 1727, Andrew Jr. was arrested as part of a suit by a business partner, but Andrew used his connections in the colonial government to turn the tables on his opponent. The court record books of Essex Co. contain the following colorful entry:

"Andrew Harrison, being arrested at the suit of James Gillison, in debt, and he having rescued himself by a superior force out of the sheriff's custody, order is granted to the said plaintiff against the said defendant for what shall appear due at next Court unless the defendant then appear and answer the said suit."
The next year, Andrew Jr. began courting a group of wealthy landowners in the hopes of receiving a choice land patent. A patent is a grant of unclaimed land.

Sir William Gooch, Colonial Governor of Virginia, 1727-1749Sir William Gooch, Colonial Governor of Virginia, 1727-1749

In December 1728 Andrew Jr. sold 600 acres he had bought in Spotsylvania county to a group of wealthy colonists who included the Colonial Governor, William Gooch. In exchange, Andrew Jr. received a patent on 1000 acres along Harris Creek in Spotsylvania county, near Fredericksburg, Va. The land was adjacent to land owned by several prominent members of the colonial militia. Andrew started a new tobacco plantation on this land, which eventually grew to 1800 acres. The land became a part of Orange County when it was formed out of Spotsylvania. Andrew Jr. lived there for the rest of his life. In 1747, he deeded 200 acres of the Harris Creek land to his oldest son, Battaile Harrison.

Battaile lived for a time on the land granted to him by his father, but eventually decided to get into the land business for himself. Battaile used the land given to him by his father, as well as land given to him by his father-in-law in nearby Culpeper county to secure a large land grant in Amherst county, near Lynchburg. Battaile moved there, where he ran a plantation and also acted as road overseer for a nearby road. In addition, Battaile ran an inn along the road, a profession which was generally only undertaken by the aristocracy in colonial Virginia.

Battaile was also lieutenant in the Virginia militia,.  In June, 1776 he joined the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment, commonly called Rowling's Rifle Regiment, a light infantry unit of riflemen in the Continental Army. After the men were recruited the regiment joined up with the main body of George Washington's Continental Army in New York.  Washington had recently been defeated by the British at the Battle of White Plains, and was in the process of retreating to New Jersey.  The regiment was tasked with defending Fort Washington, on the northern tip of the island of Manhattan.

On November 16, 1776, approximately 3,000 Continental Army troops faced approximately 8,000 British and Hessen troops at Fort Washington.  Hearing of the size of the opposing force, General Washington ordered the fort abandoned.  However, Col. Robert Magaw, the fort's commander, declined to follow the order as he believed he could successfully defend the fort.  This proved to be one of the most disastrous errors made in the course of the war.  The result of the battle was a complete rout of the American forces: 59 killed, 96 wounded, 2,837 captured.  Lt. Battaile Harrison was one of the officers killed in action on that day.

Battaile's eldest son was named Reuben (Sr.). Reuben Sr. also served in the Revolutionary War, as an Ensign with the Amherst County Virginia Militia. After the war, a family dispute over the inheritance of his father may have led Reuben to move west. He moved west twice, eventually settling in Barren County, Kentucky by 1811. His son, Reuben Jr., had gone with him to Kentucky. Like his father and grandfather, Reuben Jr. was a military man. He served as a Major in the Kentucky Mounted Milita during the War of 1812. Late in life Reuben Jr. chose to move west again, settling in Miller County, Missouri in the early 1830's.

Reuben Jr. was the father of Samuel Toliver Harrison, who was the father of 20 children by two wives (16 with the first wife!). Samuel was a farmer in Miller county, near Eldon, Missouri. His 10th child was Robert Berry ("RB") Harrison, who married Phoebe Ellen Crisp, daughter of James Layette Crisp and Rebecca Waddell on February 22, 1883. RB and Phoebe Ellen moved to Callaway County, Missouri, to the north of Jefferson City. He was a melon farmer, and did well enough for himself that he managed to pay off his farm's mortgage after just the first year's harvest. RB lived in Callaway County until his retirement, when he went to live with his daughter Pearl in Kansas City. RB was the father of Lela Harrison, who married Forrest Frank Sr.

Below are links for more information on the Harrison family. I highly suggest reading Part II of Abner Harrison's manuscript "Andrew Harrison and Other Early Harrisons," which is the source for much of my information and provides a much more detailed look at the world in which Andrew Harrison lived.

Phoebe Ellen Harrison Death Certificate
Robert Berry Harrison Death Certificate
Ancestors of Lela Harrison(PDF)
R.B. Harrison 1930 Census
R.B. Harrison 1920 Census
R.B. Harrison 1900 Census
"Andrew Harrison and Other Early Harrisons," by Abner Harrison
A Chronological Listing of Events in the Life of Andrew Harrison
Harrisons of Miller County, Missouri

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A few words from my Grandfather

I recently found some notes I took last year during a conversation with my Grandfather Forrest Frank Jr., who was telling me his memories of his childhood and family. Here are my notes, in no particular order, told from his point of view:

  • My childhood home was 600 Grand Ave in Fulton.
  • My grandfather Frank went by Charley. He ran a "little red store" in Fulton. It was called either Frank & McClure or Frank & Market.
  • My grandmother Frank's name was Emma. I think her maiden name was Runge. I remember that she had a relative named Frank Runge that visited some.
  • My uncle Melvin also ran a grocery store on 9th St in Fulton. He was in business with my uncle Frank Backer, his brother-in-law.
  • My father Forrest Sr. drove a horse-drawn laundry truck in Fulton. Once a horse stepped on him, injuring his stomach. Later in life he got stomach cancer, and he always believed that it was caused by that horse stepping on him.
  • My father once ran for Fulton City Collector, but as a Republican! I was very embarrassed. After the war, I ran for City Collector and was elected, but as a Democrat.
  • My mother and father divorced when I was 13. My father then moved to Michigan City, Indiana, where he ran a Peptolene gas station on the corner of 10th and Franklin St. The gas station was owned by my uncle Poole Harrison, who was very rich and owned several gas stations in the Chicago area. My mother remarried to a man named Arthur Bergin and lived in Fulton.
  • The summer after my father moved to Michigan City, I went to visit him and worked at his gas station. We also went to the World's Fair in Chicago. (Note: This was 1933, grandpa was 14 -SPF)
  • All of my family is buried in Hillcrest Cemetary in Fulton.
  • My grandfather Harrison was named Robert Berry, but went by R.B. He moved from Cole County (Note: It was actually Miller Co, south of Jeff City - SPF) to Callaway County before I was born.
  • Grandfather Harrison owned a melon farm. He did pretty well for himself and was able to pay off his $13,000 mortgage in the first year.
  • My mother had four sisters and a brother.
  • My aunt Vesta was married when she was young to a man who turnd out to have a drug habit. It was very scandalous and she got a divorce. She then married a man named T. Page Rogers, who was very rich. I think he was in the oil business. They moved to Galveston, Texas, then later to Dallas.
  • After I enlisted in the Army, I stopped to visit my Aunt and Uncle in Dallas along with some Army buddies. Their driver picked us up from the bus station in a limo and drove us to their mansion! We all drank cold beers and ate steak that night. We lived the fancy life for a night. It was one of the best meals I've ever had.