John Pollard Harrison, physician, teacher and writer, of Cincinnati, Ohio was born in Louisville, Kentucky, June 5, 1796. His father was Major John HARRISON who served from Virginia as an officer in the Revolutionary War. His mother was Mary Ann JOHNSTON, a daughter of Benjamin JOHNSTON, sixth and youngest son of Sir William JOHNSTON. (1)
He received his early education from Rev. John TODD of Louisville. He started his study of medicine at about 15 years of age under the instruction of Dr. John GROGAN. In 1817 he went to Philadelphia to attend medical lectures at the University of Pennsylvania.
In April of 1819, he received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania and began practicing medicine in Louisville, Kentucky.
He married Mary T. WARNER, of Philadelphia in 1820, and became an attending physician at the newly founded Louisville Hospital the same year and began his career as a teacher at Daniel DRAKE’s Cincinnati College.
Dr. HARRISON moved back to Philadelphia in 1825 and published a volume of medical essays. In the same year he was elected professor of Materia Medica at the Cincinnati College.
In 1841 he was elected Professor of Materia Medica and Lecturer on Pathology at the Medical College of Ohio.
In 1847 Dr. HARRISON was transferred to the Chair of Theory and Practice of Medicine and served in that position until he died in 1849. (2)
Also in 1847, he was the Associate Editor of the "Western Lancet". In 1849, the year that he died, he was on the staff of the Commercial Hospital and Vice President of the American Medical Association. (1)
"Dr. HARRISON’s success as a teacher was the output of his brilliant and seductive personality" (2). His brilliance did not transfer well to his writing, and the medical book that he wrote did not do well. Also, unfortunately, he was a believer in the theory of "Solidism", and this also contributed to the failure of his book. The Theory of Solidism taught that drugs were absorbed en masse and produced their effects directly on certain organs and tissues without any help from the circulatory or nervous systems. (2)
Dr. HARRISON died of Cholera 2 September 1849, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Children of Dr. John Pollard Harrison
1. Algernon HARRISON 1821-1843
2. Mary HARRISON m. David OLIVER
3. Sarah HARRISON m. Eliphalit L. RICE
4. John Pollard HARRISON, Judge b. 23 Jan 1828 d. 2 Feb 1908
5. Rebecca HARRISON m. James CAVILLE
6. Lydia Colton HARRISON m. Charles Leslie MOORE
7. Sophia Jones HARRISON b. 1838 d. 1898 m. William H. PRICE
(1) Daniel Drake and his Followers by Otto Juettner
(2) American Medical Biographies ed. by Kelly and Burrage, 1920 Pages 497-8