Home Genealogy People Harrison History  Gravestones
Documents Places A Short History of the Harrison Family The Harrison family of Virginia was descended from Baron Robert II de Holland, King Edward III of England and King Hugh Capet of France. The Harrisons are related to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, General Grant, General Robert E. Lee, William Randolph, Robert “King” Carter, James Madison, the Bigod family (Magna Charta Sureties of 1215). The de Neville family, the de Spencer family and the de Quincy family (Magna Charta Sureties of 1215). Harrisons were members of the Virginia House of Burgesses and governors of Virginia, both in the pre and post colonial period. There were two Harrison presidents of the United States. For over two centuries the Harrisons played an important part in American history. The Harrisons in Virginia Benjamin Harrison came from England to colonial Virginia in 1630, ten years after the first permanent English Settlement in North America at Jamestown Virginia. He married Mary Stringer and eight generations of Benjamin Harrisons followed. Benjamin Harrison III, son of Benjamin Harrison II and Hannah Churchill, was born in 1673. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Lewis Burwell and Abigail Smith. The Burwells were descendents of King Edward III and their ancestor Earl Roger Bigod, born in 1150, was listed in the Magna Charata Surities in 1215. Benjamin and Abigail lived on their Berkley Plantation on the Berkeley Hundred in Virginia. In 1697 at the age of 24, he held his first public office.  His public offices were: Attorney General of the Virginia Colony from 1697 to 1702. Member of the House of Burgesses from 1703 to 1706, Speaker of the House of Burgesses in 1705, Treasurer of the Virginia colony from 1705 until his death in 1710 He began writing a history of the Virginia Colony, but died before it was completed. When his son Benjamin Harrison IV was born there was a small house on the plantation. Benjamin Harrison IV built family's Berkley Plantation Manor House in 1726 overlooking the James River. This was a three story Georgian style mansion made of bricks from the plantation’s own kiln. It is one of the only two houses that are ancestral home of two presidents. The other was the home of John Adams.   He graduated from the College of William and Mary, took over the management of the family estates and increased its land holdings. He married Anne Carter, daughter of Robert Carter, in ca. 1722. Benjamin Harrison managed and received the profits from lands of Thomas Carter. Thomas Carter entailed this land to Benjamin Harrison’s son, Carter Henry Harrison. Robert Carter was descended through his mother from the 1st Earl de Qunicy, who was listed in the Magna Charta Sureties in 1215. Robert Carter was one of the wealthiest men in the colonies. He was known as King Carter because of his autocratic business manner and his enormous wealth. By the time of his death he had acquired 300,000 acres of land (1.2 billion square meters), 1,000 slaves and £10,000 in cash. This was an enormous amount of cash. At that time it represented over 350 years of wages for an ordinary person. Even well off colonist did not have much cash. George Washington owned 50,000 acres of land and a luxurious mansion overlooking the Potomac River, but had to borrow the money to travel to Philadelphia for his inauguration. Robert Carter was agent for Thomas 6th Lord Fairfax and when Lord Fairfax read his obituary he was astounded that his agent had acquired such wealth. Henry Fairfax (1659- 1708), brother of the 5th Earl Fairfax, was married to Ann Harrison, daughter of Richard Harrison. Robert Carter entered public office at the age of 28 and offices he held were: President of the Virginia Colony Governor’s Council, Governor of the Virginia Colony from 1726 to 1727, Member of the House of  Burgesses representing Lancaster County for five terms. Benjamin Harrison IV was a member of the House of Burgesses from 1736 to 1742 representing Charles City County. Benjamin Harrison IV and Ann Carter had eleven children. Four of these married into the Randolph family, all to grandchildren of William Randolph of Turkey Island: Elizabeth Harrison married Peyton Randolph, the first president of the Continental Congress, grandson of William Randolph. Anne Harrison married William Randolph III, grandson of William Randolph. Lucy Harrison married Edward Randolph Jr., grandson of William Randolph Carter Henry Harrison married Susannah Randolph, grand-daughter of William Randolph. In 1745 lightning struck the Harrison mansion and killed Benjamin Harrison and two of his daughter. British tradition was to will all possessions entailed to the eldest son. His will left considerable wealth to all of his children. His eldest son, Benjamin Harrison V took over the management of the six Berkeley Hundred plantations with the mansion, livestock, slaves and equipment. Benjamin Harrison V was born in 1726. He graduated from William and Mary College and he was the first Harrison to enter national politics. His public offices were: Member of the House of Burgesses representing Surrey Counts from 1756 to 1758, Member of the House of Burgesses representing Charles City County from 1766 to1776 Speaker of the House of Burgesses, Delegate to the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1777, Delegate to the second Continental Congress, Chairman of the Continental Congress Committee of the Whole, Presided over the final debates and amendments to the Declaration of Independence, Harrison was also a member of the Committee of Secret Correspondence of the Congress, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Fifth governor of Virginia from 1781 to 1784. William Henry Harrison was born in 1773 and was the youngest son of Benjamin Harrison V. He studied medicine until his father died when he was 18 years old and left him without funds. Governor Lee of Virginia, a friend of his father, convinced him to join the army and he attained the rank of General. He was made famous by the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811 against the Indians. Afterwards he was called “Old Tippecanoe” and when he ran for president his campaign slogan was “Tippecanoe and Tyler too”. John Tyler was his running mate in the presidential election and, as Vice-President, succeeded him as president on his death. He served as a general in the War of 1812 and was known for his victory at the battle of the Thames in 1813. His public offices were: The first Territorial Delegate of the Northwest territory, Governor of the Indiana Territory, U.S. Congress Representative from Ohio, U.S. Senator of Ohio, Minister Plenipotentiary to Columbia, 9th President of the United States. William Henry Harrison was the last U.S. president to be born as a British subject. He was the oldest president elected until Ronald Regan and he died on his thirty- second day in office. This was the shortest tenure of any president and the first to die in office. His death caused a constitutional crisis because of succession issues not covered in the constitution. The 25th amendment to the constitution corrected the succession problem. His son Congressman John Scott Harrison is the only person to be both the son and the father of a U.S. president. He was the father of President Benjamin Harrison. Benjamin Harrison was born in 1833 and served one term as the 23rd President of the United States from 1889 to 1893. In the Civil War he was a Brigadier General in the Army of the Cumberland. After the war he was defeated in an election as the Republican candidate for Governor of Indiana, but was appointed to the Senate.  In 1888 he defeated President Grover Cleveland in the presidential election and was the only president to be the grandson of a president. The most important achievements of his administration were admission of six new states to the union and the passage of the McKinley Tariff Act and the Sherman Antitrust Act. During his administration for the first time federal spending reached a billion dollars and this contributed to his defeat for re-election in 1892 . His opponents in the Democratic Party’s campaign issues were high tariffs and the “billion dollar congress”. Home Genealogy People Places Gravestones Documents