Harrison family of Virginia

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U.S. postal stamp commemorating Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president of the United States. President Benjamin Harrison was the eighth of that name in his family.

The Harrison family is a prominent political family in U.S. history. Most famously, this family produced numerous Governors of Virginia (serving during both the Colonial era and after independence), as well as two U.S. Presidents: William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison.

The family has a longer recorded heritage in politics, however. Their earliest notable ancestor is the thirteenth century Baron Robert II de Holland, also an ancestor to James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and Winston Churchill. Some genealogists speculate that the Harrisons were Viking warriors of Norse origin, and that they arrived in England with Canute the Great. Other sources say that they are of Norman, Irish and Scottish descent.

Among the First Families of Virginia, they came to the Colony of Virginia in 1630 when Benjamin Harrison (the first of many to bear that name) left England for the Americas.

His son, Benjamin Harrison Jr., fathered Benjamin Harrison III, who fathered Colonel Benjamin Harrison IV in 1693. His son is known in modern times as Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a Governor of Virginia. For the next two centuries the Harrisons would play some role in American political history.

Benjamin Harrison VI was brother to General and President William Henry Harrison, who was the father of John Scott Harrison, an Ohio congressman. John Scott Harrison was the father of President Benjamin Harrison and is the only person to be both the son and the father of a U.S. president. President Benjamin Harrison was named after Benjamin Harrison V and John Scott Harrison's brother, Dr. Benjamin Harrison VII, making President Benjamin Harrison the eighth member of his family to bear that name. Since the other seven are less historically prominent, he is usually known simply as Benjamin Harrison, even though Benjamin Harrison VIII is technically correct.

By marriage the Harrisons are related to the Lee family, the Washington family, the Tyler family and the Randolph family.

Plantation, namings[edit]

Berkeley Plantation in Charles City County, Virginia, the site in 1619 of the first Thanksgiving in what is now the United States, was long the seat of the Harrison family. Other historic homes associated with the Harrison family include Brandon Plantation, Upper Brandon, and Kittiewan, home of Dr. William Rickman and his wife Elizabeth Harrison.

Nearby along Virginia State Route 5 and the Virginia Capital Trail, the Benjamin Harrison Memorial Bridge, a major drawbridge across the James River, is named in honor of Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of Virginia. The U.S. Army Fort Benjamin Harrison near Indianapolis, Indiana was named for President Benjamin Harrison, who was born in Ohio but is descended from the Harrison family of Virginia.[1][2]

Family tree (partial list of noteworthy persons)[edit]

All the Harrisons up to Benjamin Harrison V are related to King Edward I of England, because of Benjamin Harrison IV's intermarriage with the Carter family.

  • Reverend Dr. James Blair (1656–1743), born in Scotland, Highest ranking representative of the Church of England in the Colony of Virginia as Commissary of the Bishop of London; he helped found and became First President of the College of William and Mary in 1693, married Sarah Harrison, daughter of Benjamin Harrison Jr. (II).
  • Philip Ludwell (II) (1672–1726) married Hannah Harrison, daughter of Benjamin Harrison II. (Ludwell was the son of Philip Ludwell, the Royal Governor of the Colony of Carolina, which was the predecessor of the State of North Carolina.)
  • Peyton Randolph (1721–1775), Brother-in-law of Benjamin Harrison V, Delegate to the Continental Congress from Virginia 1774–1775.
    • Edmund Jennings Randolph (1753–1813), Nephew of Peyton Randolph, Delegate to the Virginia Constitutional Convention 1776, Attorney General of Virginia 1776–1782, Delegate to the Continental Congress from Virginia 1779–1782, Governor of Virginia 1786–1788, Virginia House Delegate 1788, Attorney General of the United States 1789–1794, U.S. Secretary of State 1794–1795.
  • Benjamin Harrison V (1726–1791), Brother-in-law of Peyton Randolph, Delegate to the Continental Congress from Virginia 1774, member of the Virginia General Assembly 1776, Governor of Virginia 1782–1784.
    • Carter Bassett Harrison (1752–1808), Son of Benjamin Harrison V, member of the Virginia General Assembly, U.S. Representative from Virginia 1793–1799.
  • John Cleves Symmes (1742–1814), Father-in-law of William Henry Harrison, Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court 1777–1787, Delegate to the Continental Congress from New Jersey 1785–1786, Justice of the Northwest Territory Supreme Court 1788–1802.
    • Beverley Randolph (1754–1797), Nephew of Benjamin Harrison V, Governor of Virginia 1788–1791.
    • Burwell Bassett (1764–1841), First cousin of William Henry Harrison, Virginia House Delegate 1787–1789 and 1819–1821, Virginia State Senator 1794–1805, U.S. Representative from Virginia 1805–1813, 1815–1819, and 1821–1829.
    • William Henry Harrison (1773–1841), son of Benjamin Harrison V, Secretary of the Northwest Territory 1798–1799, U.S. Congressional Delegate from the Northwest Territory 1799–1800, Governor of Indiana Territory 1801–1812, U.S. Representative from Ohio 1816–1819, Ohio State Senator 1819–1821, candidate for Governor of Ohio 1820, U.S. Senator from Ohio 1825–1828, U.S. Minister to Gran Colombia 1828–1829, candidate for President of the United States 1836, President of the United States 1841.
      • John Scott Harrison (1804–1878), son of William Henry Harrison, U.S. Representative from Ohio 1853–1857.
        • Benjamin Harrison (1833–1901), son of John Scott Harrison, candidate for Governor of Indiana 1876, U.S. Senator from Indiana 1881–1887, President of the United States 1889–1893.
        • Alvin Saunders (1817–1899), father-in-law of Russell Benjamin Harrison, grandfather of William H. Harrison, delegate to the Iowa Constitutional Convention 1846, Iowa State Senator 1854–1856 and 1858–1860, delegate to the Republican National Convention 1860 and 1868, Governor of Nebraska Territory 1861–1867, U.S. Senator from Nebraska 1877–1883.
          • Russell Benjamin Harrison (1854–1936), son of President Benjamin Harrison, son-in-law of Alvin Saunders, father of William H. Harrison (U.S. Representative from Wyoming), Indiana Representative 1921–1925, Indiana State Senator 1925–1933.
            • William H. Harrison (1896–1990), son of Russell Benjamin Harrison, grandson of Alvin Saunders and President Benjamin Harrison. Indiana State Representative 1927–1929, Wyoming State Representative 1945–1950, U.S. Representative from Wyoming 1951–1955, 1961–1965, and 1967–1969, candidate for U.S. Senate from Wyoming 1954.
      • Carter Harrison, Sr. (1825–1893), grandnephew of Benjamin Harrison V, U.S. Representative from Illinois 1875–1879, Mayor of Chicago, Illinois 1879–1887 and 1893; candidate for Governor of Illinois 1884.
        • Carter Harrison, Jr. (1860–1953), son of Carter Harrison, Sr., Mayor of Chicago, Illinois 1897–1905 and 1911–1915; delegate to the Democratic National Convention 1916, 1920, 1932, and 1936.
          • J. Hartwell Harrison (1909-1984), third great grand nephew of Benjamin V, of Boston, collaborated in the first kidney transplant in 1954.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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