Harrison descendant is researching family from local area

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 23, 2013

A recent response from some earlier columns has prompted an interest in reviewing the Harrison family. Rex Harrison, a current resident of the State of Maine, is seeking assistance in clarifying some of his Harrison genealogy. For expediency, his notes and queries will be presented in this writing.

A quick look at local records show there were members of this family in Covington County as early as 1854 when Moses Harrison acquired considerable land acreage in the Panther Creek Township.

During that year, he purchased two tracts of 240.48 and 79.78 acres.

During the next year, 1955, William Harrison acquired two tracts, 79.67 acres and 239.01 acres in the Leon Township in the very northern area of the county, which would become a part of Butler and later Crenshaw County.

Moses also homesteaded 40.10 acres in the Panther Creek Township in 1901.

During the 1880s and 1890s there were other Harrisons who purchased land in Covington County. In 1887, William L. Harrison homesteaded 159.34 acres of land in the Opp area.

In 1889, Brian Harrison homesteaded 139.84 acres in the Carolina community. In 1892, Hub Harrison homesteaded 80 acres in Loango, and Joshua Harrison, homesteaded 159.84 acres in Opp.

In 1898, Amanda Harrison homesteaded 114.23 in an area south of Falco.

This means there were Harrison families spread throughout the county during the last half of the 1800s.

When the 1860 federal census for Covington County was enumerated, there were two Harrison households recorded. Benjamin Harrison, a native of Georgia and a farmer, was 20 years old and married to Mary E. Harrison who was 17 years old. J.C. Harrison, a native of Georgia and a carpenter, was 40 years old. His wife, Rebecca, was also 40, and they had the following children in their household: Isabella, 18; Martha, 17; William, 13; Temperance, 12; John, 10; Nancy, 5; Sarah 3; Amanda, 1; and Columbus, 1 month. Sarah was listed as the first one born in Alabama, so they must have arrived from Georgia circa 1856.

This writer has not located any significant genealogical data on these Harrison families. It is hoped that someone reading this story will respond who might have related family information.

It appears that more Harrison families settled and resided in nearby Coffee County.

In the meantime, the gentleman, Rex Harrison, mentioned above has compiled an outline of his family and the information he is seeking.

He is especially interested in John Harrison whom he believes is his third great grandfather, and his wife, Mary “Polly” Wasden Harrison.

This John Harrison was born in 1798 in Wilkinson County, Ga., and died in 1870 in Elba, Coffee County.

His wife was born circa 1802 in Georgia and died in 1850 in Coffee County. It is believed John was buried in the New Home Cemetery, located east of Opp in Coffee County and near the junction of AL 189 and AL 141, but there is no idea for his wife’s burial site.

John is believed to be the son of William Harrison, Sr., who was born in 1758 in Old 96 District, Edgefield County, S.C. and died in 1832 in Kinston, Coffee, Co., Ala., and Martha Louise Holly (1760-1866). It is believe that his wife, Mary “Polly” Wasden, was the daughter of William J. (1768-1850) and Elizabeth (1775-1860) Wasden.

Rex believes John and Mary “Polly” Harrison had the following children: James Edmon, b. 1822 or 1825 in Lowndes County, d. ?, m. (1) 1844 Fannie Grimes (1822-1913) (2) Martha A. Prescott (1833-before 1861) (3) 1861 Mary Moore (4) 1867 Nancy Smith (1822-1911); Mary, b. 1827, d.?; Benjamin, b. 1829, d. ?; Martha, b. 1833, d. ?; Melissa, b. 1834, d. ?; John Henry “Jack,” b. 1837, d. 1910, m. Martha Jane Underwood (1834-1923); Louis, b. 1840, d. ?; Narcissa, b. 1841, d. ?; and Julia Ann, b. 1843, d. ?.

Rex believes he is a descendant of the oldest son, James Edmon Harrison, but he has questions about some of the data he has compiled, especially his places of residence.

He believes James Edmon was in Lowndes, Clarke and Butler Counties.

He further believes he is descended from James Edmon and his second wife, Martha A. Prescott’s, son, James Edward Harrison, born in 1856 in Butler County and died in 1934 in Post Oak Bend City, Kaufman County, Tex.

Rex is seeking to confirm the following facts concerning his Harrison ancestry.

First he wants to document that James Edmon Harrison is actually the son of John and Mary “Polly” (Wasden) Harrison and to determine the correct dates and places of birth and death.

He also wants to validate James Edmon’s wives.

All censuses show James Edmond and John Harrison to be farmers.

Does anyone have information of any specialties either might have had in farming or other lines of work?

Although census reports strongly support John Harrison being the son of William Harrison, Sr., is there any other evidence?

Can anyone fill in the blanks for dates and places of births and deaths for any of the persons listed above?

Also, does anyone have knowledge of a Petry Harrison or a Sexton Harrison as to who they were or if they might be related to this family?

The following is a quote from Rex Harrison. “I hope this request reaches people of the following counties, and if they can help, I ask them to contact me: Butler, Clarke, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Dale, Lowndes, Monroe, Montgomery, Pike and Wilcox.

These are counties that the Harrisons settled in, and the families who traveled and farmed alongside of them were the Burgesses, Grimes, Holleys, Justices, Kirklands, Moores, Morgans, Prescotts, Smiths, Wasdens and Weeks.

“I want to say to the people of Alabama that I have enjoyed studying the beginnings of our country and the growth that brought my ancestors to Alabama.

“When I was in grade school, I only learned about wagon trains going west.

“These early families moving south from Virginia into North and South Carolina also moved by wagon trains, stopping and growing several crops before moving again. After the Revolutionary War, the old British Fort 96 in South Carolina became Old 96 District, a stopping off place for wagon trains to resupply themselves.

“After the Creek Wars in Georgia, these settlers were enticed by the government to move again. When the Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians moved to Oklahoma, the government surveyed this new territory and once again these families settled land new to them, Alabama.

“Many of these families started out in Virginia together, moving, farming and inter-marrying. At each stop along the way, these same family names are mentioned over and over again. Land patents are among the best remaining records that show their existence, those and family Bibles, if one can find them. To all the families I mentioned earlier and all the ones I’m unaware of, well, I wish I could meet you all and tell you how highly I think of you all.

“Lastly, I originated from Texas and came to the State of Maine while in the military, falling in love with the hunting and fishing. Now I am totally and permanently disabled.

“This genealogy study is a lasting legacy I want to leave for my own family. I have few resources to travel and do the research on my own.

“That’s the main reason I’m reaching out for help this way. Any and all assistance will be most appreciated.

“I have plenty of information on generations of the recent past, and I am willing to freely share what information I have to anyone who is interested.

“Thank you all for your assistance and may God bless you all. Very respectively, Rex J. Harrison.”

Rex may be contacted at 8 Aspen Lane, Bath, Maine 04530-2200; 207-443-3749; or Email: rjharr@gwi.net.

Anyone who finds any incorrect information above or who has additional information on any of the Harrison families is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.