Friday, August 14, 2009


G-A-N spells Harrigan. But in our family we always sang "S-O-N" spells Harrison. Despite George M. Cohan writing it for a 1907 musical, we were convinced it was our song because we were descended from a branch of Harrisons from Tennessee and Arkansas.

To continue Roxie (Lucy Roxanna Wright) Harrison's story from Wednesday, here's the next generation of strong women.

When her mother (Elizabeth Jane Petty Wright) died, Roxie was fifteen. Very shortly after she turned 18, she married Franklin Pearce Harrison who went by "F.P." The 1870 census in August shows her at age 18 as a farmer, head of a household that included her brother Thomas Jackson (age 15) and her sister Samuella (age 10) and another relative listed as George Wright, age 93! It's difficult to live to age 93 today. It's almost unimaginable to have done so then. We're not exactly sure yet which George Wright this was (they did reuse names alot) but it's a work in progress with a distant cousin hot on the trail.

In November 1870, Roxie married F. P. and in April 1871 they sued Albert L. Mitchell, the executor of Roxie's mother's estate. Mitchell was Roxie's uncle by marriage on her father's side (Roxie's father's sister married Albert L. Mitchell). Before the law could force Albert L. Mitchell to show what he had done with the estate, he died. He had been the guardian of the person of

Thomas Jackson Wright as well. With his death, Thomas Jackson Wright needed a new guardian, so we have a legal document showing N. F. (Needham Fayette) Harrison becoming the guardian of the young man. Sammie apparently lived with Roxie and Franklin Pearce until she herself married and moved to Texas. There are several legal documents that show that Roxie was determined to get an accounting of what had happened to her mother's wealth, but with Albert L. Mitchell's death, the lawsuit died as well.

Roxie and Franklin Pearce had 9 children.

Edward Franklin, who died at age 26 of tuberculosis, married but without children.

James Thomas, who lived to age 90, but never married

Elmer Leon, who lived to age 84, had one daughter

Walter Allan, who lived to age 33

Annie Lee, who lived to age 5

Minnie Amelia, who lived to age 7

Roy Clyde, who lived to age 76 (see below)

Irvin Wright, who lived only a few months

and an infant who died at birth (1871)

As I look at the 'bare bones' of Roxie's life, I see determination despite great sadness. She was old enough to remember her father although he died when she was very young. As a young teen, she lost her mother and two younger sisters in a horrible epidemic. She outlived most of her children and both of her own daughters died very young. She remained close to her siblings, Thomas Jackson and Sammie all her life. She and Sammie even traveled to see each other when they were both older although Sammie was living in Texas with her husband and children.

Roy Clyde (R.C.) grew up to marry Bessie Beautrice Dexter. They had six children, the oldest of which was my maternal grandfather, Frank Harrison. But that's another story.



Anonymous said...

Boy...what a fact filled post. I enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing that. Powerful indeed :)

Quilldancer said...

I am enjoying these bits of your family history. Keep sharing!