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Harrison Heritage

William Harrison Family of William Harrison

Earliest documented Harrison ancestor.  William was born about 1730 in Virginia; his father may have also been named William but his lineage is disputed.  A biography of Bazel Harrison by James H. Stone published in 1874 states that William was the son of William Harrison and the brother of Benjamin Harrison, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the father of President William Henry Harrison.  This is not correct as Benjamin (V) Harrison was the son of Benjamin (IV) Harrison.  This biography also states that Bazel had worked for his cousin Gen. W. H. Harrison so there must have been some kind of link between these two families.

William had a total of 23 children, 16 survived to their majority: ten by his first wife (unknown) and six by his second wife Worlenda Davis.  Six of his sons served in the Revolutionary War and he travelled with George Washinton during Braddock's Expedition. 

William was a farmer who farmed all his life but never owned a farm.  For more information please refer to The Descendants of William Harrison website. 


Bazel Harrison Family of Bazel and Martha Harrison

The following biography is from the American Biographical History of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Michigan, Volumes I-II. n.p.: Western Biographical Publishing Company, 1878: 

Bazel Harrison late of Schoolcraft, the first white settler of Kalamazoo County, and, at the time of his death,--which occurred August 30, 1874,--its oldest inhabitant, was born March 15, 1771, in Frederick County, Maryland, thirty miles from Baltimore.  He reached, therefore, the advanced age of one hundred and three years, five months, and fifteen days. 

His ancestors were a remarkably hardy and prolitic race.  His paternal grandfather, William Harrison, was a native of Scotland; and his grandmother, of Wales.  They came to this country early in the eighteenth century, and settled in Berkeley County, Virginia.  There, in 1730, William Harrison, Jun., the father of the subject of this sketch, was born.  He was twice married, and had twenty-three children, of whom Bazel was the twentieth, --the third by his second wife, Worlenda Davis.  Benjamin Harrison, a brother of William Harrison, Jun., was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence; he was the father of William H. Harrison, who was, therefore, first cousin to Bazel. 

When Bazel Harrison was nine years old, his parents removed to a farm near Winchester, Virginia, where they remained five years, and then settled in Pennsylvania, near Greencastle, Franklin County.  Here, at the age of fourteen, he went to work in a distillery, where he remained until he left the State.  He was steady, industrious, and thorough; but had scarcely any opportunities for study, having attended school but three months in his life.  He learned to read and write, however; and was not in any way at a disadvantage as compared with those about him. 

At the age of nineteen, he became engaged to a neighbor's daughter, Martha Stillwell; but, as their marriage was opposed by her mother, the courtship terminated, March 17, 1790, in an elopement, in which the lady's father was an able assistant.  They remained in Franklin County for three or four years, during which time Mr. Harrison cast his first vote, --for Washington, for his second term.  From there he removed across the Alleghany Mountains to Washington County, where he remained until 1810.  In that year he went with his family, now numbering eight children, to Kentucky, opposite Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was engaged two years in the distillery business. 

During this time General Harrison gained his victory over Tecumseh, at Tippecanoe; and, at the breaking out of the second war with England, being appointed to the command of the north-western frontier, he engaged his cousin Bazel to work his farm, at Millbrook, a few miles below Cincinnati, on the Ohio.  Here Mr. Harrison remained until the close of the war, when he bought a farm of three hundred acres, near Springfield, Ohio, on which he lived for ten or twelve years.  During that time there was much confusion of land titles, growing out of what were known as "military claims;" and, after Mr. Harrison had bought three such claims, in order to perfect his title, and a fourth was presented, for which seven hundred dollars was asked, he lost patience, and determined to emigrate. 

Stimulated by stories of the wonderful richness of the Territory of Michigan, and being fond of adventure and well-fitted for pioneer life, he decided to remove to Michigan,--the most remote, and then least known, of the lands of the great North-west.  He accordingly gathered a party, consisting chiefly of his own family, and, September 20, 1828, began the journey.  After leaving Fort Wayne, then the limits of civilization, they traveled laboriously through the unbroken forests of Northern Indiana, until they reached the boundary of the Territory they sought.  Then, after prospecting by scouting parties for a few days, they found the beautiful Oak Openings, called by the Indians "Waweoscotang,"--Round Fire Plain.  Here they camped, November 5, six weeks after leaving Springfield, Ohio.  They soon met Saginaw, Chief of the Pottawatomies, with whom they became very friendly.  Mr. Harrison was always a favorite with the Indians, as well on account of his commanding presence, as for his unswerving integrity and kindness of heart. 

The little settlement grew steadily, the necessary hardships being easily endured by the ready helpfulness which comes of common need.  Mr. Harrison was the patriarch of the little world.  Before the organization of the Territorial courts and lesser tribunals, he was the arbiter of all disputes among the settlers; and his decisions were always felt to be just.  He was chosen Justice of the Peace; and was afterwards Judge of the County Court, which position he held until 1834.  He was naturally a peacemaker; and it is said that he would go half a day's journey to prevent a quarrel. 

Many anecdotes, illustrating this trait of character, are related of him, among which is the following: "A settler had loaned a neighbor a wagon, which, not being in very good condition, gave way in some part while being used by the borrower.  The question arose, who should repair the damage,--out of which grew hard feelings and the prospect of a lawsuit.  The parties were induced, however, to submit the case to the unofficial arbitration of Judge Harrison.  After hearing the statement of each, without a word, he arose, went into his barn, and, returning, replaced the broken part with a piece of wood selected from a supply which he had brought with him from Ohio.  Of course, each party was willing to pay him for the piece replaced, but he refused." 

In 1830 he was one of those who formed the first Board of Commissioners of Highways, which, in a new country, embraces important and laborious duties; upon them devolved the task of laying nearly all the roads and building the bridges in the entire southern half of the county.  In politics, Mr. Harrison was always active.  He voted for Washington for his second term, and at every Presidential election after that, except in the years 1828 and 1872: the first of these being the year of his removal to Michigan; and the second, one in which he was prevented by illness.  From the time of the Presidency of Andrew Jackson until 1860, he was a Democrat, --having even voted against his cousin, General Harrison, for President.  In 1860, however, he voted for Lincoln.  His name appears as a delegate to almost every convention during his active life.  During the civil war he followed, with eager interest, the fortunes of the Union army; and no one rejoiced in the final victory more than he. 

Mr. and Mrs. Harrison had seventeen children; namely, William, Sarah, Nathan, Shadrach, Ephraim, Joseph, Cynthia, Elias S., Worlenda, Bazel, Martha, Rachel, Amanda, John S., Almira, Diana, and an infant who died unnamed.  Of these, seven are still living; namely, William, Nathan, Worlenda, Bazel, Martha, John S., and Almira.  The eldest, William,--now eighty-seven years old, and still strong and well, --illustrates finely the hardihood of the Harrison family. 

During the last few years of his life, Mr. Harrison remained closely at home.  His last appearance in public was at a meeting of the pioneers at Schoolcraft, in September, 1873, when he remarked to the friends gathered around him: "I am one hundred and two years old, and I have not an enemy in the world."  He was a man whose integrity was never questioned; his word was relied upon to the fullest extent.  He was, moreover, of a strongly devotional nature, and lived an active and religious life; for more than half a century a member of the Methodist Church, his life gave evidence of the genuineness of his professions.  In the government of his family, he was strict in exacting obedience, but never harsh; his words, which were few, were always heeded. 

At his funeral, which occurred September 2, 1874, from the residence of his son, John S. Harrison, --almost exactly on the spot where he had settled forty-six years before, --about one hundred of his children and grandchildren were present.  There are now living of his descendants about one hundred and fifty persons. 

The biography by James H. Stone contains more detail on Judge Bazel's life.


Nathan Calvin Harrison Family of Nathan and Anna Harrison

Nathan Calvin Harrison was born July 6, 1796, in Washington County, Pennsylvania.  In 1810 his family moved to Kentucky, just opposite Cincinnati; then following the War of 1812 his family moved to a 300 acre farm twelve miles east of Springfield, Ohio.  Nathan was married on June 7, 1821 in Clark County, Ohio to Anna "Annie" Botkin. 

Nathan's family is listed in the 1830 census for Brady township, St. Joseph county, Michigan: 
1 male, 30 & under 40 1 female, 20 & under 30
1 female, 10 & under 15
1 male, 5 & under 10 2 females, 5 & under 10
1 male, under 5 2 females, under 5

During the period of 1833 thru 1838 Nathan filed land patents for several parcels located in Kalamazoo county, Michigan.  He was also licensed to operate a ferry over the Kalamazoo River and became known as the "river ferryman".  Reminiscences of Nathan are as follows.

"At the foot of Main St., on the bank of the river, at this time was a cabin, occupied by Nathan Harrison, who had established a ferry there, consisting of a canoe or two, and a large skiff, with which to accommodate the immigrants and settlers who desired to cross the river.  "Uncle Nate" was known to the country through, for he was a great hunter, and foremost at all shooting matches, and hunting parties.  He was, however, one of those wandering pioneer spirits that could not long brook the advances of civilization; and he soon sought a new home, where the sound of the axe and the hammer had not yet disturbed the peaceful repose of nature."

"Nathan was always known as "Uncle Doc/Uncle Nat" a nickname given to him by his father due to his ability to doctor all the families livestock and the fact Nathan knew how to do everything imaginable and yet remained grounded.  Nathan lived to be an old man, however was in ill health for many years, he was ailing when his father was still alive.  Nathan and Annie had 12 children; three dying in childhood; all together 7 daughters and 5 sons."

Nathan's family is next listed in the 1840 census for Kalamazoo township, Kalamazoo county, Michigan: 

1 male, 40 & under 50 1 female, 30 & under 40
1 male, 15 & under 20 2 females, 15 & under 20
1 female, 10 & under 15
1 male, 5 & under 10 2 females, 5 & under 10
2 females, under 5

After a bridge was built over the Kalamazoo river, Nathan moved to Illinois, purchasing 160 acres in McHenry county on October 27, 1844.  His family appears in the 1850 census of Hebron township, McHenry county, Illinois:

Numbers NameAgeSexOccupationBirthplace
15 15
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Nathan Harrison49MFarmerOH
Ann B. Harrison44F OH
Sally Harrison27F OH
Chas Harrison16M MI
Matilda Harrison14F MI
Edna A. Harrison12F MI
Jemima Harrison9F MI
Wesley M. Harrison7M MI

I have not located Nathan in the 1860 census but his wife Anna and other family members appear in the 1860 census of Hebron township, McHenry county, Illinois:

Numbers NameAgeSexOccupationBirthplace
1806 1772
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Charles Harrison25MFarmerMI
Jemima Harrison19F MI
M Burgit23F MI
Wm Burgit7M IL
Celia Burgit5F IL
Ella Burgit3F IL
Infant Burgit1/12M WI
Albert Crates14M PA
Anna Harrison50F O

By 1870 Nathan and Anna had relocated to Wisconsin; they appear in the 1870 census of Bloomfield township, Walworth county, Wisconsin:

Numbers NameAgeSexOccupationBirthplace
51 51
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Nathan Harrison69MRetired FarmerPA
Annie Harrison66FKeeping HouseOH
Clarinda Hinion57FHousekeeperNY

In the 1880 census Nathan and Anna were enumerated in the Village of Genoa Junction, Bloomfield township, Walworth county, Wisconsin:

Numbers NameAgeSexRelationshipOccupationBirthplace
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Nathan Harrison79M Mail CarrierPA
Anna Harrison76FWifeKeeps HouseOH
Fred Burgett16MgrandsonLaborerIL
Mary Whittier45F ServantNY
Frank Whittier10MBoarder NY
Nellie J. Whittier2FBoarder NY

Nathan died in Genoa Junction (now called Genoa City) on January 11, 1883; Anna died there on March 1, 1887.



Jemima Harrison Family of Irving and Jemima Harrison

Jemima Harrison was born in Michigan in April, 1841 and appears in the family censuses above in 1850 and 1860.  On December 27, 1860 she married Irving Dix in McHenry county, Illinois.  (In the 1860 census Irving was living a few households away from the Harrison family with his parents George H. and Susan Dix.)  Their first son Fred E. was born in Wisconsin in Aug 1861.  The 1870 census shows their family living near Irving's parents in Meridan township, Steele county, Minnesota:

Numbers NameAgeSexOccupationBirthplace
99 100
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Irvin Dix29MFarmerNY
Jemima Dix28FKeeping houseMI
Fred Dix9M WI
Levi Sanders14M WI

Two daughters, Anna and Martha, were born to this couple while they lived in Minnesota.  They then moved to the vicinity of Des Moines, Iowa where their son Nathan was born in 1878.  The 1880 census for Valley township, Polk county, Iowa (below) shows Jemima as widowed, so Irvin apparently died there around 1879.

Numbers NameAgeSexOccupationBirthplace
153 156
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Jemima Dix39FFarmerMI
Fred E. Dix18MFarmerWI
Anna M. Dix9Fat schoolMN
Martha M. Dix8Fat schoolMN
Nathan H. Dix2M IA

By 1900 Jemima and other family members had moved to Genoa Junction, WI (now known as Genoa City); Jemima's parents Nathan and Anna Harrison had previously lived in Genoa Junction; other relatives of Jemima's were also in the vicinity.  She is enumerated there in the 1900 census:

Numbers NameAgeSexRelationshipOccupationBirthplace
19 19
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Jemima Dix59FHead MI
Fred B. Dix38MSonCarpenterWI
Irving E. Dix13MGd Sonat schoolWI
Clyde Dix9MGd Sonat schoolWI
Jessie Dix7FGd Daughterat schoolWI

Jemima died in Genoa Junction on Jun 5, 1900 shortly after the census was taken. 


Ancestors of Gary DixAncestors of Karen Muehleisen
Dix HeritageDix Locations and Records
The Family of George and Susan DixThe Family of Irving and Jemima Dix
The Family of Frank and Louisa SommerThe Family of Nathan and Anna Dix
Dix Photos & ObituariesLand Warrants for George and Alvin Dix (WI, 1849)
Harrison HeritageHarrison Locations and Records
Roth HeritageThe Family of Emil and Karolina Roth
Roth Photos and RecordsEmma (Roth) Kaphengst