Friday, March 27, 2009

Dr. Francis Harrison (1842-1925)

Dr. Francis Harrison (1842-December 28, 1925)
m. Mary A. Creed on January 1, 1875 (? -1935)

They had the following children:

• James (Frank) Francis (1877-1914) - Attended the New York College of Pharmacy beginning in 1897. He graduated in 1899 and began working at Hocker and Solomon in Evanston as a pharmacist. He later went to work with his father. In 1904 he went to St. Louis to attend the World's Fair with his sister Mary. Frank died in 1914 of cancer in Salt Lake City where he was being treated.  At the time he was living in the Covey Apartments.



• Mary (1880-?) She attended St. Mary's Academy in South Bend, Indiana. I have a great photo of her class in 1899. She then became a teacher in Evanston. For the 1903 school year beginning in September she was teaching Grade 6. In 1904 she went with her brother Frank to visit the World's Fair in St. Louis. She was living unmarried in Evanston in 1935.


• Helena (1884 - 1949) m. Charles Branham. She attended St. Mary's Academy in South Bend, Indiana from 1899 to ? ,and then the University of Utah in Salt Lake City for about a year from the spring of 1906 until sometime in the 1907 without receiving a degree. She played both the piano and violin, performing in many private and public functions in Evanston. Charles was born in Litchfield, Minnesota on December 26, 1884, and was the son of Hiram Branham and Jessie Greenleaf.  They were married in Odgen, Utah on June 11, 1911.  Charles was a manager in the Publix Theatre chain and moved to St. Petersburg Florida in 1930 to be the new district supervisor of the theatres on the west coast of Florida.  In the probate documents for her mother's will from early 1936 her address is given as 1401 Beacon Street, Brookline, Massachusetts.  By 1942 Charles was retired and they were living in South Laguna, California.  Helana died there in 1949 and was buried in Fairhaven Memorial Park Cemetery.  Charles died there on December 22, 1975 and was buried in Fairhaven Memorial Park Cemetery.   


• Frederick (Ted) William (1889-1962) m. Ana Toelle (1889-1974) in 1922. They had one daughter Hellen. 1903 was an eventful year for him as a child. On July 4th a firework went off in his face causing severe injury. There was concern that he would loose the use of his eyes at one point but it came back, though the Wyoming Press indicated that "he will carry ugly scars as a result of the unfortunate affair". A few weeks later he had to have his appendix out. Ted seems to have also attended "college" in Salt Lake City. There is an article in the January 6, 1906 edition of the Wyoming Press that mentions him returning to school. I am not sure if this was the University of Utah or some other school. Ted was involved in cattle ranching near Daniel, Wyoming. The 1920 census finds him living in Lincoln County, Wyoming working as a farmer. He was single then. His mother is also listed and must have been visiting him at the time. In 1935 he was living in Evanston according to the probate records for his mother's will. Later he worked for the Union Pacific Railway. In the 1940 census he is living in his father's house on 9th Street, with his wife Ana and his daughter Helena.   Sometime later they made their way to Seattle, Washington where Fred worked for Westinghouse. He retired about 1953 and moved to Suquamish, North Kitsap. He died there on October 15, 1962. His obituary from the Bremerton Sun says that he was survived by his wife, daughter Hellen Wright and two grandsons. His wife Ana T. Toelle, lived to be 84, and died at Suquamish in April 1974 in Poulsbo. Ana was born in Wismer, Nebraska on July 30, 1889. She was a former nurse. Her obituary in the April 8,1974 edition of the Bremerton Sun says that she was survived by her daughter Mrs. Hellen Wright of Suquamish, two grandsons, brother Joseph Toelle of San Antonio,Tex, and a sister Miss Hedwig Toelle of New Haven,Conn (a former professor of Public Health Nursing at Yale University from 1937 until 1960). Both Fred and Ana are buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Kitsap. A search for their daughter Hellen came to the conclusion that she died on May 10, 2007 in Suquamish, Washington at the age of 88.


Dr. Francis Harrison's House in Evanston Wyoming on the corner of Centre and Ninth Street in 1990:
© Michael Harrison 2009



Here is an illustration of his drugstore in Evanston Wyoming in 1892





The son of William Harrison and Mary O'Connor, Dr. Harrison was the subject of a number of biographical entries during his lifetime.


The following entry was in the Progressive Men of the State of Wyoming, published in Chicago, Illinois by A.W. Bowen & Company in 1903:


The life of a country physician is full of toil and hardship, but it has compensation in the reflection that it is also full of benefaction to the community which he services and that no effort in behalf of suffering humanity is thrown away. Among the prominent and highly esteemed physicians of Evanston, Wyoming, Dr. Frank Harrison is in the front rank. He was born in 1842 in Toronto, Canada, the son of William and Mary (O’Connor) Harrison, the former a native of England and the latter of Ireland. Both were brought by parents to the New World in childhood, it being the desire to secure for them better opportunities than were afforded in their native land. The families settled at or near Toronto, where they prospered and reared their offspring. Doctor Harrison received his academic education at the public schools of his native country and began his medical training at the Toronto University. He continued it at St. Michael’s Medical College in Toronto, and fully completed it with another two-years’ course at Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City, and from which he was duly graduated on March 1, 1866. On March 1, 1865, he had been appointed a medical cadet in the service of the U.S. government, a class of officials which the government had created and to which undergraduates were admitted as assistant surgeons. His first assignment was on board the transport S. R. Spaulding, which conveyed sick and wounded soldiers to New Haven, Conn., where a military hospital was located. He remained at the hospital until November and the experience he had there has been an invaluable service to him in his subsequent practice. After his graduation from Bellevue College he came to Denver, Colorado, at that time a city of not far from 4,000 inhabitants. He passed his first summer in the West in traveling and then came to Cheyenne, following the railroad in his professional work as far as Wasatch. He next went to Sweetwater mines, there he passed two years in the practice of his profession and then removed to Evanston, where he has been in an active medical practice for more than thirty years. At the first election held after this arrival the total poll of voters, men and women, numbered only 300. In politics Doctor Harrison is a Democrat and has been active in the interest of the party. He has been honoured with several places of responsibility in public life, discharging the duties of all with fidelity, intelligence and zeal. In 1871 and 1872 he represented Sweetwater county in the Territorial Legislature, and from 1876 to 1880 was one of its county commissioners. In Unita county he was a probate judge for six years and county treasurer from 1884-1890, being also mayor of Evanston for three years. He is also a valued member of the Grand Army of the Republic, being very much esteemed as a leader in all of its meetings. On January 1, 1875, he was united in holy marriage with Miss Mary A. Creed, a daughter of James Creed, a native of Illinois, and whose father died in 1896 in Clinton, Iowa, and the mother, whose maiden name is Egan, is still living, her residence being Dixon, Ill. Doctor and Mrs. Harrison have four children, James F., Mary, Helen and Fred W. Doctor Harrison ranks high in his profession as a physician and surgeon, as a close student and as an intelligent practitioner.
The following entry is in the History of Wyoming, edited by I.S. Bartlett and published in 1918:


Dr. F. H. Harrison is today the oldest physician in Wyoming in years of continuous connection with the medical profession. He practices at Evanston, where he has remained since 1872. He has not only been identified with the science of medicine and surgery, however, for as a pioneer he has been active in many of these movements which have led to the upbuilding and development of the state. He is familiar with all phases of Indian warfare and with all phases of frontier life and the history of Wyoming is to him an open book, for he has been a most active participant in events which figure most prominently in its annals.

He was born in Toronto, Canada, April 2, 1842, and is a son of William and Mary (O'Connor) Harrison. The father was a native of England and in his boyhood days made the voyage across the briny deep to Canada, settling near Toronto, where he engaged in farming, there maintaining his residence until his death, which occurred in 1849, when his son. Dr. Harrison, was a little lad of but seven years. The mother was born in Wexford, Ireland, and in childhood became a resident of Canada, where she was married and continued to reside until called to the home beyond in 1904. She had at that time reached the eighty-fourth milestone on life's journey. In the family were five children, of whom one daughter died at the age of sixteen years. The others are: Willam, who is living in Brampton, Canada ; John, also located at Brampton ; and Nicholas, who still lives in Canada. The other member of the family is Dr. F. H. Harrison, of this review, who in his youthful days was a pupil in the public schools of Canada and afterward took up the study of medicine in New York city, matriculating in the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, from which he was graduated with the class of 1866. His collegiate training was comprehensive and thorough, and thus well equipped for professional duties, he made his way westward to Colorado, crossing the plains with team and wagon. He took up his abode at Gilpin, where he remained for a year and a half, and in November, 1867 he removed to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he practiced for a short time. He was afterward with the Union Pacific grading camps in his professional capacity and continued with the road until the line was extended to Evanston. He then went to the South Pass mines, where he followed mining for two and a half years, but in 1872 returned to Evanston, where he has since been in constant practice. Entering upon professional duties in this state in 1867, he is today the oldest physician in Wyoming. Through the intervening period of a half century he has kept in touch with the trend of modem professional thought and progress, acquainting himself with those discoveries which scientific investigation has brought to light. He is a well informed physician and one thoroughly skilled in all departments of medical and surgical practice. In the early days he went through all the experiences that come to the frontier physician. He fought in many of the Indian wars and was with the posse in the Wind River campaign, in which Black Bear the chief of the Arapahoes, was killed. The summer's sun and winter's cold could not deter him from the faithful performance of his duties and at times he would ride for miles and miles over wind swept districts, facing the storms of winter, yet he never hesitated when his professional service was needed. He belongs to the Wyoming State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. Aside from his active connection with the profession he has also extended his efforts into other fields and is now president of the Evanston National Bank, president of the Evanston Drug Company, a director of the Evanston Electric Light Company and president of the Harrison Stock Growing Company of Uinta County. In business affairs he has displayed sound judgment and unfaltering enterprise and his cooperation with any project has constituted an element in its growing success.

On the 1st of January. 1875, Dr. Harrison was married to Miss Mary Creed, of Evanston, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Creed, formerly of Dixon, Illinois. They have become the parents of three children who are still living and lost one son, James Francis, who died in 1914 at the age of thirty-seven years, while acting as manager of the Evanston Drug Company. Those who survive are: Mary, who was born in Evanston in 1880 and is a graduate of the high school and of the Notre Dame Academy at South Bend, Indiana ; Helena, who was born in Evanston in 1884 and is a graduate of the high school of that city; and Frederick William, who was born in 1889 and is also a graduate of the Evanston high school. He is now in business with his father.

Dr. Harrison is connected through fraternal relations with the Independent Order of Odd Fellow- and with the Masons. In the latter organization he has taken the degrees of lodge, chapter and commandery. His political endorsement is given to the democratic party and he has several times been called upon to serve in positions of honor and trust. For four years he filled the office of county commissioner and for six years was county treasurer of Uinta county. For one term he served in the second territorial legislature and at all times his aid and influence have been given on the side of right, progress, reform and improvement. He is today one of the most valued and prominent citizens of Wyoming, standing very high in professional circles, and no story could contain more exciting or interesting chapters than could be found in the life record of Dr. Harrison if space would permit this to be written in detail. His memory goes back to the time when this entire region was but sparsely settled, when the Indians were more numerous than the white men, when the land had not been reclaimed for the purposes of civilization but remained in the primitive condition in which it came from the hand of nature. His life activities constitute a connecting link between the primitive past and the progressive present and no history of Wyoming would be complete without his record.



Upon his death in December 1925 there were a number of obituaries in local papers. The following – perhaps the most complete – was in the Evanston Press:


Early Evanston Pioneer Expires – Dr. F.H. Harrison
Hail to the pioneer – another stalwart has been summoned from the ranks to the Great Beyond – may he rest in peace.

The bugle sounded and one of our best citizens answered the call – having the honor and distinction of being one of the two surviving members of Post No. 53, G.A.R.

Dr. Frank H. Harrison passed away Monday morning, Dec. 28, 1925, at this home on Ninth and Center Streets, having been ill but fourty eight hours – pneumonia being the cause of this death, which came as a shock to the community, and very unexpected, as he appeared hale and cheery and enjoyed Christmas.

Dr. Harrison was born at Toronto, Canada, April 20, 1842. He attended medical college at the University of Toronto, and later entered Bellview (sic) Medical school of New York; also attended Yale, graduating with honours from each institution. During the Civil War he enlisted in the Medical Corps and served until the end of the conflict.

Later he moved to St. Louis, thence to Denver, and finally to Laramie, Wyo., where he established the first doctor’s office in May 1868. He was appointed contract surgeon for the U.P. Ry. Co., and followed the building of the railroad as far west as Wasatch. He left there for the South Pass country during the mining excitement, and finally came to Evanston. In 1872 he opened the first drug store here, which was located on Front street, in the Palace building.

For years Dr. Harrison was the dependable and beloved physician of our county and town.

He was a public benefactor and ever interested in the moral uplift of the community. He became a financial success and applied his influence, capital and endeavors for the advancement and upbuilding of a good town – Evanston – which he always avowed would be his home while in life – and he remained true to that promise. No citizen has ever been more loyal to our city; more generous spirited and dependable; or was more highly respected or esteemed; nor has none passed who will be more missed and mourned than this venerable pioneer.

Some of this public callings were as a member of the first State Legislature and he was at one time Probate Judge, City Mayor, County Commissioner and President of the Evanston National Bank; was also Wyoming’s first physician. He was affiliated with the Masonic and Odd Fellow societies, but had not been an active member for several years.

Surviving are his widow, two daughters, Miss Mary Harrison, who is ill in a hospital in San Francisco; Mrs. Helen Branham; and one son, Fred Harrison of Daniel Wyo.

Funeral services were held today noon at the Catholic Church conducted by Father O’Connor and were well attended, the floral offerings being profuse and beautiful.

The American Legion members attended the body.

Honorary Pallbearers – All physicians of the city. Hon. Mayor Thomas Painter, John W.R. Rennie, Judge Sam’l Dickey, Charles Myers and Donald McAllister.

Interment was in the Catholic cemetery, he being laid to rest beside his son J. Frank Harrison, who passed away several years ago.

Beeman & Cashin, directors.

The family have the sympathy of this community in the loss of one of Evanston’s best men – loyal citizens – true friend, husband and father.

Ever live his name – long may we cherish his memory.

The world is surely better that he lived; and praise be that he was spared to an advanced age to scatter sunshine and good deeds – which influences will continue to abide in the hearts of all who knew Dr. Harrison.

Friday, March 6, 2009

North Yorkshire - Esk River Valley



The family of William Harrison and Mary Hutchinson came from the area around the hamlet of Glaisdale and Egton, in the Esk River Valley of North Yorkshire, England (just above the first "o" in "Moors" in the map above). I am fairly confident that William's father Joseph Harrison, lived in a Poplar Hall, a cottage on the farm leased by his brother William in Glaisdaleside, Egton Township.  William's first cousin Robert Harrison, son of William Harrison and Elizabeth Alcon moved into Poplar Hall after his marriage in 1822.  Where William Harrison and Mary Hutchinson were living is not clear but they were certainly close by.

Further back however, our Harrisons came from the small community of Green Houses to the north west of Glaisdale on the edge of the moors.

Some of the cottages located here are for rent for vacations. The buildings have been converted from "the traditional farm buildings at Greenhouses Farm" but it is not clear if these are the buildings that the Harrisons lived in or not.

The Esk River has its headwaters in the western edges of the North Yorkshire Moors and flows in an easterly direction, joining the North Sea at Whitby. Today this, and a vast area around it, are located within the popular, North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

John Dixon's Letter From America (Canada)

Mr. John Dixon, who travelled with William Hewgill (Hugill) - one of my great great great grandfathers - from Whitby, North Yorkshire to Quebec, and then from Quebec to the Town of York (Toronto) in 1832, goes off to visit William Harrison of the Gore of Toronto, my great great great grandfather. The following is excerpted from the letter

To Mr. George Dixon, Darlington

Whit Church, Sept. 30th, 1832.

....We arrived at York on June 7th. William Hugill, who went from Glazedale, and ourselves took a house to put our goods and to sleep in, until we could get situations; we paid five shillings a week, and a miserable hovel it was. York is about the size of Darlington, the houses are chiefly built of wood, but there are a few handsomely built of brick. A house, such as I last lived in when at Whitby, would be £60 a year here; and fire wood costs about 9s. per week in winter. I never saw so many shoe-makers' shops by one half in any town the size of York; the trade at present is dull, and the following are the prices ...... I soon found that York would not suit me. William Hugill has friends in the Gore of Toronto, about eighteen miles from York. One William Harrison, a distant relation of ours, lives in the same place. I went with William Hugill to see him; he was very kind to me, and wished me to settle there; he said they were in great want of a shoe-maker, and if I would take up my abode among them, he would build me a house on his own ground, and I might keep a cow, which could go in the woods so that I might be at no expense. It being a new settlement , and the road to it very bad I thought it better to look about me before I made any choice. William Hugill took up his abode there…..

John Dixon

source: Whitby Repository and Monthly Miscellany, Volume III, February 1833 (copy in the Whitby Museum, Whitby North Yorkshire)

Family of Ann Harrison (1813-1855) and James C. Smyth (1820-1901)

Ann HARRISON (1813-1855) daughter of William HARRISON and Mary HUTCHINSON was baptised at St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church, Egton Bridge, North Yorkshire on January 14, 1813.  The sponsors were James HARRISON, William Harrison's first cousin (son of William HARRISON and Elizabeth ALCON) and Dorothy ROE, James Harrison's future wife.  

Ann HARRISON married James C. SMYTH on July 20, 1841 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County.  They lived in the nearby community of Claireville, Etobicoke Township, York County.  In the 1852 Census they were living in Claireville with Thomas SMYTH, James’ father. Thomas’ second wife was Mary HUTCHINSON so Ann was living with her mother (who was also her mother-in-law). This is an interesting instance of a father and son marrying a mother and daughter.  Ann HARRISON died and was buried at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic cemetery, Wildfield in 1855. The age on her tombstone however suggests she was born in circa 1828.



Tombstone of Ann Harrison, wife of James Smyth
St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Wildfield
© Michael Harrison 2010

Upon Ann HARRISON's death on January 12, 1855 James C. SMYTH married his second wife Bridget DOHERTY at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church on June 5, 1856 and had more children.

In the 1861 Census James and his new wife Bridget are living in Etobicoke Township.

In the 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 census James and his family were living in the City of Toronto.  James is listed as a Grain Merchant. James died on April 4, 1901 at 313 King Street.  After his death his widow (Bridget) carried on the grain business and after she retired their daughter Annie carried on the business.

James Smyth and Ann Harrison had the following children:

• Mary Ann (1843-1925) married William EGAN.  They had the following children:

  • James A (1873-1978) m. Annie KAIN in 1904 – 8 children
  • Annie
  • Nicholas A. (1867-1879)
  • Ellen
  • Catherine
  • Agnes
  • William
  • John
• Margaret (b. 1845-?)  She is listed with the family in the 1861 census in Etobicoke but not with them in the 1871 census in Toronto.

• Thomas (Dec 1847-?)  He is listed with the family in the 1861 census in Etobicoke but not with them in the 1871 census in Toronto.  He is most likely the Thomas who died on March 27, 1861 aged 13 years and 3 months, buried at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Wildfield.

• William A. (1849-1888) married Sarah Helen JOHNSON on January 29, 1887 at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Toronto. 

According to the Commemorative Biographical Record of County of York by JH Beers and Co, Toronto, published in 1907:

William A. Smyth who passed away at this late residence in Toronto, No. 187 Crawford Street, Feb. 17, 1888 (he actually died on Feb 24, 1888 according to his death registration) was born in Ontario, son of James and Anna (Harrison) Smyth, the former a native of Ireland, and the latter of England.

James Smyth came to Canada when a young man, and soon thereafter settled in Toronto, where he became a commission merchant, continuing in this business until his death. He was twice married, his first wife being the mother of our subject.

William A. Smyth began business with his father, but later went to the office of the Massey Harris Company, as an accountant, where he continued until his death. He had a large acquaintance in business circles, and wherever known was highly esteemed.

Mr. Smyth married Miss Sarah Helen Johnson, born in Toronto, daughter of Samuel and Ann (Fair) Johnson, natives of County Mayo, Ireland. Mrs. Johnson came to Montreal in 1829, and to Toronto in 1833. She was the daughter of Robert and Margaret Fair, natives of County Mayo, Ireland where they died. They had children: John, William, Robert, James, Mary, Elizabeth and Ann, all of whom lived to be eighty-five years old or over. To Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Johnson the following children were born: Samuel, William and Margaret, deceased; Annie, of New York; John, deceased; Lizzie, of Albany, New York; James; and Sarah Helen, Mrs. Smyth. 

Mr. and Mrs. Smyth were the parent of children as follows: Leo S. B., born in Toronto, day accountant at the Massey-Harris works; and Basil W. H., also born in Toronto, and an accountant at the same works. Mr. Smyth was a Reformer. In religious faith he was a Roman Catholic.

Upon William's death in 1888 Sarah and his sons continued to live at 187 Crawford Street, backing onto present day Trinity Bellwoods Park - though at the time it was Trinity College.

Leo and Basil continued to live at 187 Crawford Street until their deaths in 1955 and 1957 respectively.  They never married and no relatives other than their parents and each other are mentioned in their obituaries.


Tombstone of Leo and Basil Smyth
Mount Hope Cemetery
© Michael Harrison 2010

• Eliza J (1850- ?) married Theophilus COSTELLO (1851-1921).   She is listed with the family in the 1861 census in Etobicoke and the 1871 census in Toronto.  She married Theophilus COSTELLO, a hotelkeeper, son of Michael and Mary COSTELLO in Toronto on April 24, 1876.  They had a number of children in Toronto and Hamilton before moving to Chicago in 1890.  The known children were:  Anna Bertha (b. 1877); Michael (b. 1878); Mary (Mae) (b. 1880) and Louis (b. 1883).   The family seems to have remained in Chicago.  I have found Louis Costello with his wife Catherine and children in the 1940 US census.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Family of Jane Harrison (1820-1901) and James Middleton (1811-1881)


James Middleton Farmhouse
Illustrated Atlas of Ontario County, 1877

Jane (1820-1901) married James MIDDLETON (1811-1881) on February 27, 1838 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County.  No baptism has been found for her in the St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church records.

They then moved to Lot 28, Concession 6, Pickering Township, Ontario County (present day 3815 Sideline 28, Pickering). James paid to have a drawing of his farm included in the Illustrated Atlas of Ontario County, published in 1877.



James Middleton Farmhouse, Whitevale, Ontario
© Michael Harrison 2010

They had the following children:

• Mary A.
• Rebecca (1842-1905)
• James (1845-1926)
• Elizabeth (1848-1927)
• Jane (1849-1920)
• Rachel (1851-1938)
• Alice (1851-1945)
• John (?-1925)
• William (1859-1897)
• George (1861-1930)
• Annie (1861-1878)

Both Rachel and Alice were interviewed for the July 6, 1935 edition of the Toronto Star. The article entitled Twin Sisters Active at 85 - Close Together All Lives, indicated that they believed they were the oldest Ontario born twin girls. The article contains an interesting story of how their parents met:

The sisters are the daughters of the late Mr. and Mrs. James Middleton, who were pioneers in the Pickering district. Their father and mother came from England with their families when the father was 19 and the mother 11. They came on the same sailing vessel and the passage took 6 weeks. Later they were married and moved into what was then the bush on the 7th concession in Pickering, where the twin girls were born.

This means that the Middleton family was on the King William with the Harrison family when it left Whitby, North Yorkshire for Quebec in April 1831.

Jane confirmed this date when she indicated on the 1901 census that she came to Canada in 1831.


Middleton Family Plot - Whitevale Cemetery, Ontario
James Middleton, Jane Harrison and Annie, William and Mary Clark are buried here
© Michael Harrison 2010

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Harrisons were Catholic Recusants in England



The Harrison family were Catholic Recusants which meant that they resisted conversion to the Church of England when it was created by Henry VIII in 1534. They recused themselves from participating in the new Church of England and so were called "recusants". The area of North Yorkshire where they lived was well known for Catholic recusancy and many families were persecuted for continuing to practice the Catholic faith. However it was not because of this that they left and emigrated to Canada. Catholics were able to worship openly from 1790, and the Catholic Relief Act of 1829 repealed the last restrictions. A Catholic Chapel was built in Egton Bridge in 1798. So it was not religious persecution that drove the Harrisons to Canada, they emigrated for economic reasons. Looking for a better life for their children in Canada.





 St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Chapel, Egton Bridge, North Yorkshire, built 1798. Now St. Hedda's Roman Catholic School
© Michael Harrison 2009

For further information on Catholic recusancy in this area of North Yorkshire and the many families that remained Catholic have a look at Leslie O'Connor's manuscript Hearts of Oak. Mr. O'Connor researched and wrote the manuscript in the 1950s and 1960s. It was an incredible amount of research that he undertook before the internet made this research much easier.  There is a chapter on the Harrison family entitled the Harrison Saga.

Family of Margaret Harrison (1814-1891) and George Jackson (1811-1874)

Margaret (1814-1891) was born on August 18, 1814 and baptised at St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church at Egton Bridge on August 19, 1814.  Sponsors were William Hutchinson, Mary Hutchinson's brother and Agnes Readman (nee White), the wife of William Harrison's cousin John Readman, son of John Readman and Sarah Dowson.  

She married George JACKSON on June 28, 1836 at St. James Cathedral (Church of England) Toronto.  The timing of the marriage is interesting as it takes place shortly after the death of her father William Harrison on May 2, 1836.  More significant is that it was at the Anglican Church in Toronto and not in the Catholic Church.  Did they elope?  It is difficult to say but the circumstances certainly suggest that.   Even though they were married, there must have been pressure in the family for there to be a Catholic wedding. There must have been considerable discussion on this as they were not married in the Catholic Church until January 1837 suggesting that there was resistance on the part of George Jackson.  Once the decision was made they were not married in Margaret's home parish at St. Patrick's in Wildfield but in Toronto at St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church which no doubt involved discussions between the family, the local parish priest at St. Patrick's and officials at Toronto's main Catholic Church.  The records for St. Paul's indicate that the marriage was "rehabilitated" there on January 10, 1837.  It does not appear as if any members of the Harrison or Jackson family went to witness the event as the witnesses were Michael Lavell (who must have worked at the church as he was a frequent witness) and Bridget Lunny.  However, it is noteworthy that the entire family - including George - remained Catholic.  

The family appear in the 1852 Canadian census in Toronto Gore Township living in a log house.  A Thomas Jackson, aged 88 (at next birthday) (b.c. 1764/1765) is living with them which suggests he is George's father though this is uncertain given his age.  All of the family is listed as Catholic with the exception of Thomas Jackson who is listed as a member of the Church of England.  

The family again appears in the 1861 Canadian census in Toronto Gore Township and all are listed as Catholic.  Thomas Jackson, however does not appear with them and so he must have died sometime after 1852 though I have not been able to find a record of his burial.


George Jackson had a large farm in Toronto Gore Township just off The Gore Road at Castlemore.  George had 150 acres on the south side of the Castlemore Sideroad on Lot 10, Concession 9 and a further 50 acres on the north side of the Castlemore Sideroad on Lot 11, Concession 9.  George Jackson was well known for the quality of his sheep wool and won a number of prizes at the agricultural fairs in Toronto.


George Jackson Farm
Tremaine's 1860 Map of Peel County

Perkins Bull suggests that George Jackson immigrated to the US in circa 1866.  However, the immigration of the family to the United States can be dated by a letter from William Hewgill.  Written to his son William, and dated January 5, 1871, William Hewgill wrote that "George Jackson got Daniel to sell him 2 farms each 100 Acres, when the day came very few came to the Sale and he never got One bid.  Jackson wants to sell out and go to the States."  This is a rather awkward sentence but it appears that there were no bids at the auction of the property so George Jackson sold the farms to Daniel Hewgill.  

George and Margaret then left Canada and immigrated to the United States settling on a farm near Troy, Missouri, north west of St. Louis.  

Mysteriously George and Margaret and most of their family do not appear in the 1871 Canadian census.  Perhaps they were in the process of moving, or searching for a new farm in the US, when the census taker arrived in April 1871?  The noted exception to this was his son Thomas Jackson who appears in the 1871 census in Toronto Gore Township, Peel County with his family.

Searching the 1870 US census in Missouri I did find a George and Mary Jackson in Knot Noster, Washington Township, Johnson County.  Both are listed at 53 years of age.  Both were born in England.  This is at the opposite (west) end of the state where we know they lived.  Could it be them?   I note that this location is not mentioned in Margaret Jackson's obituary (below).  

Most of George and Margaret's family would immigrate to Missouri within a year or two, including Thomas who indicated that he came in 1872 in a later US census.  However their daughter Anne, who was married to Philip Eagan in 1866, and her sister Margaret who married Thomas Eagan in 1868 stayed in Canada with their families.

George Jackson died on October 5, 1874 and is buried in the Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Cemetery, Troy, Missouri. 

In the 1880 US census George, Alice and John are living with their widowed mother in Clarke Township, Lincoln County, Missouri.  Thomas Jackson and his family are also listed in the 1880 US census but in the adjacent Bedford Township, Lincoln County, Missouri on his own farm.

Margaret Jackson (nee Harrison) died on November 9, 1891 and was buried next to her husband at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Troy, Missouri.  Margaret's obituary in the November 13, 1871 edition of The Troy Free Press reads as follows:

JACKSON - At the home of her son-in-law Joseph Schaefer, near Millwood, Nov. 9, 1891, after a long illness of heart disease, Mrs. Margaret Jackson, in the 78th year of her age.  Deceased was born in Yorkshire, England, in June 1814, and came to Canada with her father's family when about 14 years old, settling west of Toronto.  Here she was married when 18, to George Jackson, to whom she bore ten children, eight of whom are living, as follows:  Two daughters in Canada, one in a convent in New Mexico and one, Mrs. Schafer, in this county; four sons, Wm., T.J., Geo. J and John, all living a few miles south of Troy.  About 20 years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson came to Missouri from Canada, locating first on the Jones place, near Wright City; afterwards they rented the Sam Bird place and, while living there, the husband died.  In 1874, Mrs. Jackson bought the old Sydnor place, which was her home at the time of her death.  She was a member of the Catholic church for many years prior to her demise.  On Tuesday morning after services by Father Lemkes at the Catholic church in this city, her remains were laid to rest in the cemetery just south of town.  The family have our sympathy in their bereavement.

George Jackson and Margaret Harrison had the following children:
  • Anne (1837-?)  Interestingly Ann was baptized at St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church, Toronto on August 30, 1837 and not at St. Patrick's in Wildfield.  Anne obviously died later as they had another daughter Anne in 1843.  She is most likely buried at St. Patrick's Wildfield but the records for the cemetery are spotty at best.
  • William (1841-1901) – Was baptized at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield on February 24, 1841 aged 2 weeks.  William never married.  He died in Troy, Missouri, USA in 1901.
  • Anne (1843-1923) - Was baptized at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield on February 12, 1843, aged 2 weeks.  She married Philip EAGAN (1808-1878) in 1866. They had the following children:
    •  Mary Margaret Teresa (1867-1939) m. John MCDONAGH in 1885;
    • William Kearn (1868-1902) m. Heinna Jane MURPHY on June 19, 1894;
    • George Augustus (1871-1932) m. Hannah DOHERTY on June 22, 1904 – 3 children;
    • Francis J. (1873-1909) – never married. He died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA but was buried at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Toronto Gore Township, Peel County;
    • Thomas Philip (1875-1939) m. Madeleine NOONAN on January 27, 1915 at St. Vincent Roman Catholic Church, Bathurst Township – 7 children; and, 
    • Alice Amanda (1878-1951) - ?
  • Thomas (1845-1915) - Was baptized at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield on May 11, 1845, aged 6 weeks.  He married 1. Janet Mary MCVEAN on October 16, 1869 at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County.  He indicated in the 1900 US census that he immigrated to the US in 1873.  They had the following children:
    • Janet Mary (1870-1893) married Robert WILKINSON on December 23, 1890;
    • Margaret Ellen (1872-?) married Charles ANDERSON;
    • George Archibald (1873-1940) married Cora SLEET;
    • Alice Maude (1875-1948) married William Edward VAN SICKLE on July 31, 1894;
    • Mary Vida (1877-1907) married Fred MEYER;
    •  Thomas Harrison (1880-1956) married Anna MEYER on October 17, 1926 and married Mary Catherine COSGROVE;
    • John Gordon (1880-1892); and
    • Lulu M. (189?- 1938) married C.A. (Bud) SMITH.
  • Janet MCVEAN Thomas' first wife died on August 24, 1893.
  • Thomas married his second wife Sabie Jane REYNOLDS on September 14, 1894 in Moscow Mills, Missouri, USA.  They had the following children:
    • Joseph Matthew (1898-1975) married Genevieve BOWLES;
    • Mary Lu (1900-1944) married Joseph O'HANLON
    • Reubin Leo (1909-1948); and,
    • Paul Francis (1908-1908) - lived one day.
  • Margaret (1847-1912) - Was baptized on March 14, 1847 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, aged 6 weeks.  She married Thomas EAGAN on February 24, 1868 at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County – they lived in Tottenham, Simcoe County.  Children:
    • Margaret (1871-1945) m. John DEACON in 1893 – 9 children;
    • Nicholas (1873-1963) m. Catherine MCKENNA in 1883 – one adopted child;
    • Mary (1875-1954) – never married;
    • Anne (1877-1882) – died of diphtheria;
    • Catherine (1880-1956) m. James RONAN in Adjala Township, Simcoe County in 1909 – 5 children;
    • Elizabeth Vida (1882-1969) – entered convent in 1908 – Sister Mary Vida;
    • Thomas (1885-1976) m. Margaret Teresa WALSH at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Colgan? – 7 children;
    • James (1887-1973) m. Josephine O’CONNEL in 1924 – no children; and, 
    • Joseph (1889-1942) – never married
  • Mary Elizabeth (1849-1923) – Was baptized July 8, 1849 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, aged 3 weeks old.  Mary entered Loretto Convent Nerinx, Kentucky, USA on August 15, 1873
  • George (1852-1852) - Was baptized April 13, 1852 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, aged 3 months.  George died shortly thereafter and is buried St. Patrick's Cemetery, Wildfield, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County
  • George (1853-1930) - Was baptized June 26, 1853 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, aged 6 weeks.  George married Mary MURPHY (1857-1929).  George indicated in the 1900 US census that he immigrated to the US in 1874.  They had the following children:
    • Maria Anglea (1889-1959) married William Patrick MCHUGH on February 22, 1916; and,
    • Alphonsus Legori (1891-1974) married Leona RUFFCORN on June 16, 1915.
  • Alice (1855-1917) - Was baptized June 4, 1855 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, aged 1 month.  Alice married Joe SHAEFFER – 1 child
  • John Harrison (1859-1924) m. Ella Martha MURPHY (1867-1938) on November 23, 1887 in Troy, Missouri, USA.  John indicated in the 1900 US census the he immigrated to the US in 1871.  They had the following children:
    • Mary Elizabeth (1889-1949) married Michael Nicholas MCKINNEY;
    • Ida Cecelia (1891-1918) married Edward George RUPP;
    • Guy Victor (1893-1925) married Elsie Agnes Taylor (1899-1937);
    • John Bernard (1895-1958) - not married;
    • Charlie Claude (1897-1918) - killed in WWI in France; 
    • James Francis (1899-1964);
    • Ella Viola (1901-?); and,
    • Mildred Margaret (1907-?) married to Carl SCHALLER on November 23, 1935.