Search billions of records on
William Harrison, the Patriarch~

William Harrison, (not a proven son of Benjamin Harrison (IV), was born about 1730 in either Charles City County, Virginia, or Berkeley (Berkeley could be interpreted either as Berkeley Plantation or Berkeley County, Virginia), and died about 1812 in Pennsylvania.

    "Although Charles City County is considered one of the "burned counties", it possesses a rather large number of extant records..." of interest.  William married (1st) Unknown in about 1750.  He married (2nd) Worlenda Davis in about 1769.  In 1874 James H. Stone published "A Biographical Sketch of  Judge Bazel Harrison, The First White Settler in Kalamazoo County", republished in 1913 by "The Express" in Schoolcraft, Michigan.  Bazel Harrison was the son of William Harrison and his second wife Worlenda (Davis) Harrison.  Mr. Stone's "biographical sketch" can also be found in the "Michigan Pioneer Collections", Volume 11, 1887, contributed by A.D.P. Van Buren.  There are several points of contention and disputed facts in Mr. Stone's sketch of  Judge Bazel Harrison.  Stone wrote:

"His paternal grandfather, William Harrison, was a native of of Scotland, and his grandmother of Welsh birth."
    This would mean that Bazel Harrison's father, William Harrison was also the son of  a William Harrison, who married a lady of Welsh origin.  The James River Harrison's were not of Scottish origin, they were of English ancestry.  Stone continues:
"William Harrison was a descendant of the great Gen. Harrison who held a commission under Cromwell.  These grandparents immigrated to Virginia and settled in either Berkeley or Charles City County, early in the last century."  His father's name was also William Harrison, and he was born in Berkeley, Virginia, about 1730.  William Harrison, Jr. was twice married and by his two wives had was the father of 23 children, our centenarian being a son of the second wife, whose name was Worlenda Davis.  His father married her in Maryland about the same time his younger brother, Benjamin Harrison (father of President Harrison and uncle of the Judge), married her mother, Clara Davis, a widow."
    This excerpt directly contradicts itself.  Benjamin (V) Harrison, the father of President William Henry Harrison, was born in 1726 (which would have made him William Harrison's older--not younger brother).  Benjamin (V) Harrison did not marry Clara Davis, he married Elizabeth Bassett who is the executor of his will.

    Below is an additional excerpt from Mr. Stone's biographical sketch:

"These two brothers seem to have been very unlike in tastes and character. Benjamin Harrison, as is well known, was one of the prominent men of the revolution, a man of great intellectual power and brilliant career. He entered public life at 24, as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, of which he soon became one of the leaders. He participated in the proceedings of the first congress, and was a signer of the Declaration, and during the first two years of the war served with distinction as chairman of the board of war. He was an intimate friend of Washington, and was three times elected governor of Virginia. William Harrison, the father of the subject of our sketch, was not lacking in natural capacity and not behind his younger brother in patriotism.  But he seems to have been one of those characters, so frequently found in great families, who are never successful. He was, so far as we are able to learn, of good habits and industrious, but as his grandson (who remembers him well) said to the writer, "he never got ahead. He farmed it all his life, yet never owned a farm!" If, however, he did not render so great services to his country as his illustrious brother, he did not live in vain and was not lacking in patriotic endeavor. Of his twenty-three children sixteen attained their majority and Judge Harrison has several times described to us with pride and enthusiasm the departure of six of his older brothers for Washington's army. It must have been in the year of 1778, perhaps just after Clinton's defeat at Monmouth had kindled the hopes of patriots, or the inhuman massacre, by Butler's savages, at Wyoming, had aroused their indignation and fears and the father's address to his sons was worthy of a sire of Rome or Sparta. "Boys," said he to his six stalwart grown sons, "I cannot go into the army myself,--I am too old, and must remain to care for mother and the younger children. But I will look after the farm and raise the corn while you are gone. We must not let the British get a foothold in this country. We had better all die than do that. Go and fight for your country and follow where Washington leads, and may God bless and keep you." As the old Judge last summer described to us this scene, there was something of youthful fire in his half dimmed eyes, and his voice strengthened as he related this event of nearly a hundred years ago. It evidently made an impression on his youthful mind never to be effaced. "Oh yes, I remember well," said he, "We all helped them to put on their guns and swords, and I saw them march away together, just at daylight, to fight under Washington." And then he related some of their narrow escapes and spoke of wounds they had received; how "Kinzie had a bullet in his neck" which he would never have extracted, but carried with him to his grave this souvenir of battle.  The Judge's father had learned to love honor Washington for he had been with him in Braddock's expedition, and often told his children the story of that awful day, and the charmed life that the young Virginian colonel, who was afterwards to be so great in history, seemed to wear."
    Mr. Stone was correct when he said that: "These two brothers seem to have been very unlike in tastes and character." William Harrison farmed all his life yet never owned a farm.  His supposed brother on the other hand was a Signer of the Declaration of Independence and a very wealthy and influential man (the will of Benjamin (IV) Harrison can be found by clicking on Benjamin (V) Harrison above).  There is no mention of William Harrison in the will of his supposed father Benjamin (IV) Harrison.  This "biographical sketch" by Mr. Stone has confused and frustrated family researchers for many years.  The discovery of William Harrison's proven lineage remains to be discovered.  Was Mr. Stone's "biographical sketch" of Judge Bazel Harrison a fabrication, a misrepresentation of the facts by a journalist, or an elderly Bazel Harrison and his son William "Uncle Billy" Harrison who were misunderstood or perhaps juxtaposed some important details of the family history which clouded these relationships.

The listing of the children of William Harrison is taken from the biography of his son, Judge Bazel Harrison (linked above).

The children of William Harrison  and (1st) wife Unknown:
1. William Harrison, was born in about 1754.  A William Harrison married Elisabeth Hall, a widow, on 19 March 1775:
 "3. William Harrison and Elisabeth Hall, widow until now, both on Bush Creek  in Frederick County.  Feb. 26, Mar. 5, 12.  Witnesses, John Saffel and his wife."
Taken from "Frederick Maryland, Lutheran Marriages and Burials 1743-1811", translated and edited by Frederick Sheeley Weiser, published by the National Genealogical Society, fourth printing 1993, page 9.  A William Harrison also married Mary David, on 19 November 1778 (same reference as above page 21):
"62. William Harrison & Mary David by license.  Witnesses: Philipp and Elisabeth and Rebecca Davis, Josias Harrison, Sarah Harn.
Nothing more about William Harrison's oldest son is known.  It has been suggested that he was the William Harrison, researched and documented by an amateur genealogist, Alice McColly in the 1920's, however, Alice "thought" but never proved that this was her line.

2. Samuel Harrison, married Elizabeth Showne/Schaun on 20 February 1778 in Frederick County, Maryland (DAR Volume 85).

3. Kinsey Harrison    was born in about 1758 in Maryland and died on 9 July 1834.  He married Sarah Saffle on 9 March 1779.  The copy of the transcription of Kinsey Harrison's Revolutionary War Pension file # W9053 was contributed by Cathy Gowdy.

Kinsey is listed as a "pt" or private in Rawlings' Regiment, in the "Archives of Maryland"; Volume XVIII; page 124.  His discharge date is shown as "9 Aug 79".

Additional information on the family of Kinsey and Sarah Harrison appears after the pension file, and was submitted by Velma McKay. Kinsey Harrison's will was transcribed by Cathy Gowdy from Anne Arundel County, Maryland, Will Book 40, page 224, dated 21 February 1833.

4. Josias Harrison was born in about 1760 and died before 1816, married at Frederick Lutheran Church:

"31. Josias Harrison & Elisabeth Davis by license.  Witnesses: William and Grove Harrison, Philipp and Barniby Davis."
Dated 15 August 1779, taken from "Frederick Maryland, Lutheran Marriages and Burials 1743-1811", translated and edited by Frederick Sheeley Weiser, published by the National Genealogical Society, fourth printing 1993, page 23.

The following is taken from the “Revolutionary Patriots of Frederick County Maryland 1775-1783”, by Henry C. Peden, Jr., published in 1995:

"Harrison, Josiah (of William)-Petitioned the General Assembly under the act of May 12, 1780 stating that he had been a non-juror to the Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity in 1778 due to “Ignorance” and now desired relief under the act and to take the Oath."  [Ref. L-101]”.  Taken from “Some Little-Known-Data Regarding Maryland Signers of the Oath of Fidelity”, by Richard B. Miller, published in the Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin, Volume 27, No. 1, 1986.
Josias did father at least a son, Zephaniah Harrison, mentioned in the will of his brother, Zephaniah Harrison, below.

5. Permella "Mealey" Harrison was born on 2 February 1760, and died on 2 May 1850 in Union Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania; she was married at Frederick Lutheran Church:

"4. Johannes Eck & Mealey Harrison.  Proc. Dec. 29, Jan. 1, 5.  Witnesses: Jacob Eck and wife Cathar. Grove Harrison."
Dated 7 January 1783 (the same date as her sister Sarah below), taken from "Frederick Maryland, Lutheran Marriages and Burials 1743-1811", translated and edited by Frederick Sheeley Weiser, published by the National Genealogical Society, fourth printing 1993, page 33.  Permella and her husband John Ake  are buried in a family cemetery on what was once their farm in Weyant, Pennsylvania. The will of John Ake was copied and transcribed and copied from the Bedford County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.

This line has been accepted by the Daughters of the American Revolution for John Ake's Revolutionary Service.

6. Sarah Harrison  married at Frederick Lutheran Church:

"3. Joseph Aipe & Sarah Harrison, Procl. Dec. 29, Jan. 1 and 5.  Witnesses Parsel Ray, Thomas Wheeler.
Dated 7 January 1783, taken from "Frederick Maryland, Lutheran Marriages and Burials 1743-1811", translated and edited by Frederick Sheeley Weiser, published by the National Genealogical Society, fourth printing 1993, page 33.

Joseph Aipe or "Ipe" later died, as documented in the Archives of Maryland, Volume 71", page 27.

Sarah may have remarried after his death, it is possible, however, not proven that she was the Sarah Queen mentioned in the will of her brother, Zephaniah Harrison (see below).

The Maryland State Archives marriage collection lists this marriage (printed copy):

Sarah Ips to James Nicholls, date of marriage, 11 January 1785, Frederick County Marriage Record, page 21.
This marriage would have occured after the death of Joseph Aipe or "Ipe".

7. Phebe Harrison, was born in about 1763.  Phebe married Eli Wright on 2 December 1784.  Eli was the son of Joseph Wright and Rebecca McDaniel.  The Wright family genealogy was compiled by and is maintained by Gary W. Watson.

8. Grove Harrison married Hannah Fuller on 20 July 1786 at the First German Reformed Church in Frederick County Maryland.  He was mentioned in his brother, Zephaniah Harrison's will as "my brother Grove Harrison and Children of the State of Kentucky".

9. James Harrison born in Frederick County, Maryland, a James Harrison married Rosey Gess at Frederick First German Evangelical Reformed Church, on 1 December 1795 (Church Register).

10. Zephaniah Harrison was born in about 1766 and died in about 1816.  From "Maryland Church Records, Volume 6, Records of the Evangelical Reformed Church, 1790-1828, Frederick County, Maryland", translated by William J. Hinke and edited by Frederick Sheely Weiser, page 6:

"29 Oct. 1793; Saphenia Harrison and Sarah Biddle; witnesses Jacob Medtard and Henry Nichols."

Marie Mackey submitted the will of Zephaniah Harrison from Frederick County, Maryland, probated on 16 August 1819.  Jana Stokes, a descendant of the Biddle Family has compiled some interesting data on Andrew Biddle and Christina Clover, parents of Sarah (Biddle) Harrison.

    The children of William Harrison and (2nd) wife Worlenda Davis:
11. Elisha Harrison was born in about 1769 in Frederick County, Maryland.  An Elisha Harrison married Sarah Beale on 10 April 1796, in Prince George's County, Maryland.  Sarah was born in about 1773, in Prince George's County, Maryland the daughter of James and Elizabeth (possibly Davis) Beale.  From the census of St. John's and Prince George's Parishes, Maryland, taken by Captain Thomas Dent on 31 August 1776:
Bealle,  James,  age 47
Elizabeth                 42
Mary Ann               18
Elizabeth                16
Rebecca                 14
Eleanor                 12
Casandra                9
Samuel                    6
Sarah                      3

Note:  Justin Herbst had correspondence with a possible descendant of Elisha Harrison (living in California).  They were certain that their Elisha was a son of William and Worlenda Davis Harrison and had never heard of Stone's biography of Bazel Harrison.

12. Diana Harrison.

Judge Bazel Harrison, portrait by Benjamin Cooley, 1867

13. Bazel Harrison was born on 15 March 1771 in Maryland, and died on 30 August 1874 (certificate of death) in Prairie Ronde Township, Kalamazoo County, Michigan.  He married Martha Stillwell on 17 March 1790 (no record has been located) in Greencastle, Franklin County, Pennsylvania.  She was born in about 1774 in Pennsylvania, and died on 7 June 1857 also in Prairie Ronde Township.  They are both buried in Harrison Cemetery, in Prairie Ronde Township, Kalamazoo County, Michigan.  A brief biography can also be found at the Harrison Repository (courtesy of Becky Bonner).

14. Shadrack Harrison was born between 1772-1775 in Maryland and also appeared on early tax lists of Fallowfield Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania.  He was probably married sometime between 1804 and 1810.  Shadrack's wife on a deed dated 1816 in Butler County, Ohio was recorded as "Hannah".  The 1820 Federal Census of Pleasant Township, Clark County, Ohio, listed the household of "Shadrach" Harrison consisting of :

1 male 45+
1 female 26-45
1 female 10-16
3 females under 10
2 males under 10

(See also Butler and Clark County, Ohio tax data)

In the 1830 Federal Census of Penn Township, Cass, County Michigan (depending on which version of the transcription you read) he is likely enumerated as "Shedrick" or "Frederick" Harrison.  Recent information from Valona Aspy indicates that Shadrack's daughter, Werlinda or Worlinda Harrison married Thomas England in Cass County, Michigan on 29 February 1831.  The marriage was recorded in Cass County, the image of the record shown below, obtained from the Cass County Clerk, Marriages, Book A:

Two marriages recorded in McDonough, County, Illinois indicate that Shadrack may be the "S. Harrison" recorded on the 1840 Federal Census of Hancock County, Illinois (McDonough and Hancock counties are adjacent near the Iowa border).  The marriages from the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index 1763-1900 were:

Harrison, Shadrick    Marlow, Mary Mrs.    Mc Donough    4/26/1840    A/34    282
Harrison, William    Mays, Susanna             Mc Donough    3/30/1841    A/40    330

1840 Federal Census of Hancock County, Illinois listed:

1 male        50 - under 60
2 females     5 - under 10
1 female     10 - under 15
1 female     40 - under 50
This probably would have been a second marriage for both Shadrack and Mrs. Marlow, however, she is not living with Shadrack in the 1850 census.  There were also two Marlow households enumerated on the same page as "S. Harrison" above:  a Wm. and Manuel Marlow.  There were also two "Mays" families living in McDonough County in 1840: Robert and Elijah Mays.  The biography of Joseph England from the "Portrait and Biographical Album" of Louisa County, Iowa substantiates the Harrison/England family connection.  In the 1850 Federal Census of Penn Township, Jefferson County, Iowa, page 48 were listed the following households:

      #50 50   Wm. Harison            31    m    farmer    600         Io.
                     Susannah                 25    f                                     "
                     Robert                       9    m                                    "
                     William                     6    m                                     "
                     Shadrack                   2    m                                    Md.
                     Samuel England       17   m    laborer                     Mass

#53 53  Shadrack Harrison    79    m    Md
             Rachel                       1/2   f     Io.
Shadrack's son, William Harrison purchased 50 acres as early as February 13, 1843 on Sec. 21, Twp. 73, Rng. 9, of Penn Township.  In the transcribed Cemetery records of Jefferson County, "Shadereck" Harrison is listed a s buried in Walnut Creek Friends Cemetery with an infant son of William Harrison (no markers exist, the names appear on the Cemetery plot map).  He died after 1860--he is listed as 84 years old in the household of his son William in the 1860 Federal Census.

Photo of Bathsheba Jane (Oglesby) Harrison, courtesy of  "The Harrisons...A Bridge Over Time", by Justin Herbst.
15. Joseph William Harrison I was born in about 1773 in Maryland, and reportedly died in about 1827, probably in Ohio.  He married Bathsheba Jane “Bersheba” Oglesby (no marriage record has been located).  "Bersheba" was born on 15 October 1774 in Ninevah, Virginia, the daughter of Alexander Oglesby and Hannah Haines.  Bathsheba died on 15 April 1851 in Climax, Kalamazoo County, Michigan and is buried in Harrison Cemetery in Climax, Michigan.  Justin Herbst submitted biographical data and a timeline.

16. Ephraim Harrison, was born on 3 April 1786 (from his cemetery marker) probably in Frederick County, Maryland and died on 4 July 1853 in Boone County, Indiana.  He also appeared on early tax lists of Fallowfield Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania with his father, William and brothers Shadrack and Bazel.

Ephraim is buried in Mounts Run Cemetery (I have also seen it spelled "Runn") in Lebanon, Boone County, Indiana.  Family tradition stated that he died while while working in a hayfield on the 4th of July, which matches the inscription on his marker.  Ephraim married Margaret Kincaid, before 1804, she was the daughter of John Kincaid and Martha Hill.  Margaret was born in about 1786 in Pennsylvania and died in 1864, she is buried in Ramsey Cemetery in Effingham County, Illinois.  Photograph of her marker contributed by Court Conkwright (the stone is wrong, it should read 1786 not 1768):

Table of Contents

Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind
Site searchWeb search

    This web page is authored by Scott Duncan.  All information listed without a reference should be verified.  Any additions, questions, or comments should be sent to: