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James Harrison (1748 - 1815)

Goochland & Cumberland, VA; Halifax, NC; Greenville Co. SC

Surnames Mentioned: COOPER HARRISON

Repository ID #1143 - extensive ancestry available in our online database.

James Harrison and Elizabeth Hampton

by Gary Cooper

One of the most interesting relatives that I have researched was James Harrison, a son of John Harrison and Sarah Daniel. His sister was Mary Polly Harrison, who married William Cooper I. I am including the children and grand-children of James Harrison and Elizabeth Hampton, his wife, because of their great success. Elizabeth Hampton's brother was Wade Hampton of the Revolutionary War James Harrison and Elizabeth Hampton were married 20 July 1773 in Surry County, North Carolina. They and the Hampton's came by wagon train to Upstate South Carolina and became Indian traders. James Harrison had a store in the South Tyger River area. Elijah Harrison Cooper, son of William Cooper and Mary Polly Harrison, apparently, was a favorite of James Harrison. He worked in the Harrison store as a young man and stayed with the Harrison's. It is likely Elijah H. Cooper influenced William and Mary Polly to move to Union County, South Carolina William Cooper was a carpenter and it is likely that Elijah H. Cooper was skilled in this trade as well. James Harrison later migrated to Greenville County, South Carolina. He was an aggressive business man and eventually acquired 16,000 acres that became the Cripple Creek Plantation. This was a dangerous time in that area. There was an Indian massacre of the Hampton family where many of their family were killed as well as one of James Harrison's babies. The child's head was smashed against the log house and the brains of the child could be seen on the logs. When James Harrison built his mansion on Cripple Creek, he had port holes built in the brick walls of the house so they could fire at hostile Indians if need be.

Elijah H. Cooper helped build and supervise the house, perhaps William Cooper assisted. This house was the finest in Upstate South Carolina. The brick were made on the plantation. Some of the marble and other supplies were brought by wagon as faraway as Charleston, South Carolina.

Harrison Wall

A cemetery was built a few hundred yards from the house. This was a rectangular plot that had 6 foot walls made of large stone and no mortar was used. This area, 20 feet X 30 feet still stands today. Some of the stones would weigh 4 - 5 hundred pounds and unless it is destroyed by man, this cemetery will stand like the pyramids of Egypt.

James Harrison Grave

I met with Bob Harrison, the only remaining descendant that still lives in this area. He said, "the bodies were put inside the wall through an opening in the south end of the wall, after the last body was interred the opening was closed." Some other family members, as well as some slaves, are buried outside the wall. The cemetery is the only remaining land that still belongs to the Harrison's and consist of just a few acres. The balance of the 16,000 acres has been sold.

Stone Wall SC

This is another picture of the cemetery, it gives a little different perspective. The pointed stones are the markers for the slaves. One of his son's Isham had sons that were MD's and generals in the confederate army in MS.


James Harrison was a "planter, surveyor. Educated at Donald Robertson's Academy, King and Queen Co., VA 1761-62. soldier, SC militia, Rev. War Estab. Fairforest plantation and Harrison's store, Union Co., SC, ca 1777: commr roads. 1778: rep Upper Dist. SC House 1782-86: Union Co. 1786. Estab Cripple Creek plantation. Greenville Co.. SC 1784; moved there 1786. Surveyor to lay off lots in new capitol, Columbia, 1786. First state senator from Greenville Co., 1789-90. Washington Dist. (Greenville Co.), 1791; rep. Greenville Co.. in SC House, 1794-96. Owned over 15,000 acres land in several plantations. His account book for 1783-90 is with the Harrison Family Papers, USC. Buried with wife in family cemetery at Cripple Creek. Listed in DAR Patriot Index and Biographical Directory of the South Carolina Senate."

Samuel Henderson and Anthony Hampton signed the marriage bond of James Harrison and Elizabeth Hampton which was witnessed by Wade Hampton. James and Elizabeth joined the wagon train and accompanied the Hampton's to the Up-Country of SC.

DAR No.79 68; No.83 227.

Original article by Gary Cooper printed here with permission.
Submitted by Gary Cooper.
Reference: Tennessee Cousins, by Worth S. Ray The Venturers, by Virginia Meynard

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Last Updated: 1 Nov 1998
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