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Maj. John Harrison (abt 1754-1821)

by Sam Brown of Benbrook, TX

St. Thomas Parish, Orange Co. VA; Louisville, Jefferson Co. KY


Repository ID #5259 - extensive ancestry available in our online database.


Major John Harrison was born either in St. Thomas Parish, Orange Co. VA., Westmoreland Co. Va. or Spotsylvania County VA. in 1754. He was thought to have accompanied his father to Fayette Co., PA. about 1773. (1)

At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War he took his fatherís gun and joined the company of Captain John Stevensonís Rifle Regiment - 16 Dec 1777. Commissioned Ensign of the 13th Virginia Regiment. Promoted to 2nd Lieutenant Jan 1777, 1st Lt. in 1778 and Capt.- Lt 1 Jan 1781. In 1785 promoted to Maj. Military duty included service in battles of Germantown, Brandywine and Monmouth. Spent the winter in Valley Forge. Retired from the service in 1783 and was granted Land Bounties.

He conversed with the Delaware Indians in their native tongue and also spoke French. (2)

After the war was over, Maj. John Harrison joined others in the search for fortunes in the newly opened lands in Kentucky. He and others went down the Ohio River, via Wheeling, in a flat boat to Louisville in 1785.

Major Harrison, in Kentucky, was a tavern keeper. Across the river in Indiana, he operated a hotel at Spa Springs. He owned land in Indiana, the Ohio Military District, and as far west in Kentucky as Smithfield. His wife inherited land in the eastern bluegrass. (4)

Maj. Harrison married Mary Ann Johnston, daughter of Dr. Benjamin Johnston, on the estate of William Johnston then known as "Cave Hill" , now the celebrated Cave Hill Cemetery.

From 1785, Major Harrison lived in Louisville, KY. and was active in repelling the attacks made by Indians upon the citizens of that part of Kentucky. In 1788, due to increased Indian activity, he placed his family in the fort at Clarksville (Named after his friend General George Rogers Clark) and his first Child Sophia Jones Johnston Harrison was born in the fort. The rest of his children were born in Louisville and they all grew up there.

Major John Harrison died in Louisville, KY on 23 July 1821. At his funeral his remains were followed to the grave by all the military companies of the city and a large concourse of citizens. (3)

His will was proved in Jefferson Co. Court 13 Aug 1821 (Will Book 2).

Children of Maj. John Harrison and Mary Ann Johnston

1. Sophia Jones/Johnston Harrison b. 1788; married Robert A. New

2. Benjamin Johnston Harrison b. 1790; married Miss Cane

3. Col. Charles Larkin Harrison b. 1793; married Amelia Oldham

4. Dr. John Pollard Harrison b. 1796; married Mary Warner

5. James Harrison b. 1799; married (1st) Eunice Overstreet
(2nd) Susan Howard
(3rd) Carlet McGrain


LDS ancestral file # 1BF7-M9




In 1986 DAR Ancestor Roster Pg. 107

Listing: John Harrison Kentucky


Foot notes:

(1) "Charles Harrison, of St. Thomas Parish, Orange County, Virginia and his Descendants" by Robert M. Torrence.

(2) Wisc. Hist. Publications, Draper Series

(3) "History of the Ohio Falls Cities and their Counties" Vol I, 1882, pages 497-498.

(4) "A comment on the Family of Andrew Harrison, who died in Essex County, Virginia in 1718" by James Edward Harrison, 1985.

Original article by Sam Brown of Benbrook, TX printed here with permission.

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Last Updated: 14 June 1998
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