The Harrison Family of Texas and their Kinfolk in Virginia, South Carolina, Mississippi & Florida
Brigadier General THOMAS HARRISON
"Harrison 101"
Brigadier General THOMAS HARRISON
Family Tree
What's in Waco? You & Your Family May Be Surprised (and Delighted)
The Earle-Harrison House in Waco

On news of the hurricane heading toward Georgia, W. Terry Harrison was compelled to leave our reunion early on Saturday afternoon, returning home before having an opportunity to give his talk on Gen. Thomas Harrison's civil life and military career.

Terry kindly offered to provide interested family members with the text he had prepared for his talk. (Send me an email with your mailing address, if you would like to be added to the list to receive a copy.

Because this paper is not yet ready for publication outside the family, I am reprinting here an interesting biographical sketch of General Thomas Harrison, published in the late 1800's.

This biography is excerpted from an old book (there is no date, or copyright) which I found last year in the Waco Public Library: "The Waco Bar & Incidents of Waco History" by William Sleeper.

This book includes a biographical sketch of the general's son, James A. Harrison, who also practiced law in Waco. I have included that sketch on this page, as James A. was the father of James McDonald ("Jim") Harrison -- the grandson of General Thomas Harrison who came all the way from Mexico to attend our reunion.

James M. Harrison (second from left) with his children & grandchildren (and EHH docent)

Evelyn Kent Harrison, great-granddaughter of Gen. Thomas Harrison



James McDonald ("Jim") Harrison*
and his daughter, Taylor H. Mihalko
and his son, Thomas (Thom) D. Harrison
and his son, James, who attended with his wife, Karol, and their two daughters, Rachael and Lauren

W. Terry Harrison,
and his daughter, Ruthanne H. Wilson,
and his sister,

Evelyn Harrison Kent,
and her daughter,
Terry Kent Scancella

*Jim is the son of James Anderson Harrison and his second wife, Marion Josephine Hopkins Harrison (whose name -- as well as Jim's and his two siblings -- is missing from p. 70 of K. Sarrafian's fine book. She wrote, "I am sorry not to have the names of these three cousins."

Katharine Sarrafian did not have the benefit of the internet for her research. I found W. Terry Harrison last fall, while searching the internet for "Harrison" and "Texas." One search yielded a webpage devoted to 'Terry's Texas Rangers,' which included the name and email address for a descendant of Gen. Thomas Harrison, W. Terry Harrison. Terry (via email) told me about his sister, Evelyn, and she (via email) told me about her cousin, James M. Harrison, the grandson of Gen. Thomas H., who lives in Mexico.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Now, our history, as a reunited family!


"Born in Alabama in 1823. Removed in early life with his father's family to Mississippi, where he was reared and educated. Mr. Lynch, author of "The Bench and Bar of Texas" in his sketch of General Harrison says: 'I knew his father, Isham Harrison, well and he was one of the best men I ever knew. He was known in Mississippi as 'Father Harrison'; and as a model of Christian meekness, and we held in the highest respect and veneration by all ages and classes of people.'

"General Harrison removed to Texas in 1843 and began the study of law in the office of his brother-in-law, William H. Jack, of Brazoria County. [W. H. Jack was the husband of Laura Harrison Jack. Risher Randall, who is a descendant of Laura Harrison and W. H. Jack, attended the reunion in Waco, June, 2005. He delivered the "Laura" talk at the Mayborn on Saturday afternoon.]

"After full preparation for the bar he returned to Mississippi and began the practice of law, intending to return to Texas after having obtained some experience in practice. But the Mexican War came on, and in 1846 he enlisted in a company attached to the First Regiment of Mississippi Rifles, commanded by Jefferson Davis, and participated in the Battle of Monterey. In 1850 he returned to Texas and located at Houston and represented Harrison County in the Legislature. In 1851 he removed to Marlin [Texas], and in 1851 finally settled at Waco, where he continued to reside and practice law until his death in July, 1891. He was Captain of a volunteer company which in 1860 made a campaign against the Indians on the frontiers of Western Texas. His company belonged to the State Troops and he participated in what was perhaps the first attack made by State Troops on Forces of the Federal Government. This attack was made at Camp Cooper and resulted in the surrender of the United States troops at that camp. In 1861 he was made captain of a cavalry company, organized for service in the Confederate Army, and this company was attached ot the famous regiment known as the “Texas Rangers.” He was advanced to the rank of Brigadier General, and was known as one of the most efficient officers in the Confederate Army. He participated in many of the great battles of the war. He was a man of great personal attractiveness, and his men were devotedly attached to him. He was a rigid disciplinarian, but the men under him not only respected him, but loved him. He was severely wounded on more than one occasion, and had several horses killed under him in action. After the war he returned to Waco and took up the practice of law, and in 1866 was elected District Judge, which position he held until he was removed in 1877 as an obstructionist to reconstruction plans of the Federal Government. He was one of the Democratic Electors of Texas in the presidential campaign of 1872. He was a splendid lawyer and a great advocate. He was noted for his independence of character, his frankness of expression and stability in maintaining his views. He was also specially noted for his readiness with a retort upon any occasion.


"Jim Harrison, as he was familiarly known, was born at Waco, Texas, December 19, 1867, and was the son of noted lawyer and citizen of Waco, General Tom Harrison. Jim grew to manhood in Waco, attending the public schools and Baylor University and was graduated from the Law Department of the University of Texas in 1891. He was what is called a 'natural born lawyer'; inheriting the mental traits and many of the characteristics of his father. He entered the practice at Waco at once after his graduation, and soon afterwards was elected City Attorney of Waco. Not very long after retiring from the office of City Attorney he moved to Beaumont and entered the practice there, and soon became and continued to be one of the outstanding lawyers at the Beaumont Bar. He served as County Judge of Jefferson County. He died in Beaumont March 3, 1937, and is buried at Oakwood Cemetery at Waco on what is known as the Tom Harrison lot. He married Miss Virginia Westbrook, a member of the well known Westbrook family who lived in the beautiful Westbrook county home near Lorena, in McLennan County. Jim was a likable man and had many friends."

ADDENDUM: (Katharine Sarrafian (1966; p. 70): "After the death of his wife Jennie Westbrook, James Harrison married a young widow, Mrs. Josephine, who had three children from her first marriage. Three more children were born to this marriage before James A. Harrison's death in 1937. Their mother later remarried and is said to live in Louisiana. I am sorry not to have the names of these three Harrison cousins."

James A.'s son, Jim, who came to the 2005 reunion in Waco from his home in Tampico, Mexico, is one of these three "missing" Harrison cousins. The other two are his sister, Mary Lou Harrison, and his brother, the late William Kelly ("Bill") Harrison. Their mother (James A.'s second wife) was Marion Josephine Hopkins Harrison.

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