Simon H. Harrison: A Persistent Brick Wall

Simon H. Harrison, born 1803-1813 in Kentucky, was my 3rd great-grandfather.  He is also a complete “brick wall” in my research.  No one, and I mean no one, seems to know where he came from. I have posted about him before: this post is a compilation of the information in the previous posts and everything I’ve learned since.

Simon’s Timeline

→ Simon states on 1850 and 1860 censuses that he was born in Kentucky.

→ He was most likely living in Tennessee by about 1833 because he married Malinda Latimer, born in Tennessee, at about that time. Their first known child, William Henry Harrison, was born in 1834 in Tennessee.

→ The first records of Simon are the 1836 and 1837 tax list for Robertson County, TN. He owns 36 acres in District 11, the same district as his father in law, William Latimer.

→On 19 December 1838 he bought another 36 acres in the same district from Washington Thompson.

Robertson County Deed Books
Robertson County, Tennessee Archives

Simon H. Harrison from Washington Thompson

I, Washington Thompson have bargained and Sold and do hereby transfer and Convey Simon H. Harrison and his heirs forever for the consideration of one hundred dollars to me paid a tract of land in the State of Tennessee, Robertson County District No. Eleven and containing by estimation thirty-six acres to the S_____ _________ or or life as follows.

Begin at a hickory on north side of James McGallow’s boundary line then with the meander of the branch then to East to a Mulberry then north to Webster Gilbert’s line then East to with his line then with the meander of the branch to a white oak then west to the Beginning.

_________to have and to hold the same Simon H. Harrison his heirs and assigns forward I do covenant with the said Harrison that I am Lawfully ________ of said Land and I have good rights to Convey it and that the land is unencumbered further Covenant and bind my Self my heir and representatives to warrant and forever defend the title to said Land and carry past thereto the said Simon H. Harrison his heirs and assigns forever against the lawful claims of all persons whatever this twenty-seventh day of January 1838.

Executed and delivered in our person,
Washington Thompson (seal)
State of Tennessee
Robertson County

→Then, on 22 May 1840 he bought yet another 36 acres of land from Washington Thompson. This does not appear to be the same land as listed above.

Washington Thompson to Simon H. Harrison
State of Tennessee Robertson County

I Washington Thompson of the County and State aforesaid have this day bargained and sold and do hereby transfer and convey to Simon H. Harrison and his heirs forever for the consideration of one hundred dollars to me for a tract of land in the state aforesaid and Robertson county and district No. 11 containing by estimation thirty-six acres be the same more or less and bounded as follows:

Beginning at a Mulberry running north ninety-six poles to a black Oak on Webster Gilbert’s line thence east with said line fifty-four poles to a chinkapin Oak thence south ninety-six poles with the meander of the branch to a hickory thence west ninety poles to the Beginning.

To have and to hold the same to said S. H. Harrison his heirs and assigns forever I covenant with the said S. H. Harrison that I am lawfully seized of the said land and have a good right to convey the same and that the same is unencumbered. I do further covenant and bind myself and my heirs and Representatives to warrant and forever defend the title to the same land every part thereof to the said S.H. Harrison his heirs and assigns against the lawful claims of all persons whatsoever.

Given under my hand and seal this day of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty.

Washington Thompson (seal)
Signed and delivered in the presence of us where it is entered _______ ________was before signed.

State of Tennessee
Fayette County
Personally appeared before me _________ _____________ of the county court of said county of the within names Washington Thompson bargainer with whome I am personally acquainted and who acknowledged that he executed the within deed for the purposes therein contained witness my hand at office this 22 day of May 1840.

Jarmon Kroner (?) Clerk
By Simon H. Walker D.G.

→ Just a few weeks later, on 12 July 1840, Simon sells this land, together with a parcel owned by his father in law, William Latimer, to Jacob Ackerman.

J. Ackerman, Harrison S., Latimo (sic) 

We Simon H. Harrison and William Latimo have this day bargained and sold and do hereby transfer and convey to Jacob Ackerman and his heirs forever for the consideration of four hundred and thirty nine dollars to us paid a tract of land in the State of Tennessee Robertson County District No. 11 containing by estimation sixty-six acres or the same more or less and bounded as follows:

Beginning at a Chinkapin Oak on the east side of a branch running up Webster Gilbert’s line running up the branch with its meanders one hundred and thirty-two poles to a hickory on the west side of the branch thence south 58 degrees west fifty-two poles to a dogwood and a black gum thence west forty poles to a Locust on the branch thence down the branch with its meanders sixty one poles to a hickory on Empson’s line thence east ten poles to a mulberry thence north ninety-six poles to a black oak on Webster Gilbert’s line thence east with said line fifty-four poles to the Beginning.

To have and to hold the same to said Jacob Ackerman his heirs and assigns forever we covenant with the said Jacob Ackerman we are lawfully seized of said land and have a good right to convey it and that the same is unencumbered we do further covenant and bind ourselves and our heirs and representatives to warrant and forever defend the title of the said land and every part thereof of the said Jacob Ackerman and his heirs and assigns against the lawful claims of all persons whatsoever this the 12th day of July 1840.

Executed and delivered in our presences July 17th 1840.

W. Gilbert
Isaac Empson
Simon H. Harrison (seal)
William Latimer (seal)

→ Simon is not found on the 1840 census, either in TN or KY (at least I couldn’t find him.)

→ Simon and Malinda are both found on the 1850 census for Sumner County, TN in District 10. Simon is also found on the agricultural schedule for 1850: he appears to be a livestock farmer.

→ On 25 March 1856, Simon bought 104 acres of land in District 10 of Sumner county from William C. Moore.

William C. Moore to Simon H. Harrison

Know all men by these presents that I, William C. Moore of the County of Sumner and the State of Tennessee of the one part and Simon H. Harrison of the County and State aforesaid of the other part witnesseth that the said William C. Moore for and in consideration of the sum of the sum of Three Hundred Dollars to me in hand paid doth this day bargain, sell and convey unto the said Simon H. Harrison a certain parcel or tract of land being and lying in the County of Sumner and State of Tennessee District No. 10 on the waters of west Station Camp Creek and bounded as follows (viz.)

Beginning at a sycamore tree on the west bank of said creek on Alexander Josey’s line, thence running with William C. Moor’s line south 30 degrees west 126 poles to a stake in John L. Griffin’s line crossing the Gallatin road at 95 poles thence north with another of Griffin’s lines 91 poles to a hickory, thence north to a sugar tree, thence east with another of sd Griffin’s lines 20 poles to a planted rack. Thence north with another of sd Griffin’s lines 40 poles to a planted rack in the south west side of the road, thence north 73 degrees west 34 poles to a fallen sassafras tree, thence north with Mrs. Cummins line 6 1/2 poles to a hickory and mulberry stump, thence east with an old marked line 120 poles to a small hickory in Josey’s line thence with his line south 10 degrees East 32 poles to a white oak stump thence East with another of Josey’s lines 33 poles to the beginning containing by Estimation one hundred and four acres or the same more or less.

To have and to hold the same unto the said Simon H. Harrison his heirs and assigns forever and I further Covenant and binf myself and my heirs and representatives for Ever to warrant and defend the title to sd Land together with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging to the sd Simon H. Harrison his heirs and assigns against the legal claims of all persons whatsoever in testimony whereof I have set my hand and seal this the 25th day of March 1856.

Wm C. Moore (seal)
Test:
? Threlkeld?
J.W. Guthrie
Deed registered in court 9 April 1856.

→ Again, just a few days later, he sells it! On 3 April 1856, he deeded the land to his wife, Malinda Latimer Harrison, in exchange for her father, William Latimer’s payment of his debts. It seems like a very unusual arrangement to me.

S. H. Harrison to Malinda (Latimer) Harrison
Deed of Gift, April 3, 1856

For and in consideration of the sum of three hundred dollars paid to my creditors by my father in Law, William Latimer, and in consideration of the love and affection I have for my beloved wife Malinda and the children which she now has by me as well as those which may hereafter be born by me, I hereby give and convey to the said Malinda during her natural life the following tract of land bounded as follows:

Beginning at a Sycamore on the West Bank of the Creek on Alexander Josey’s land thence running with William Malone’s line South 30 degrees west 126 poles to a stake in John L. Griffin’s line crossing the Gallatin Road at 95 poles thence west with Griffin’s line 96 poles to a Hickory thence north with another of said Griffin’s line 91 poles to a Sugar tree thence East with another of said Griffin’s lines 20 poles to a planted rick. Thence North with another of said Griffin’s lines 40 poles to a planted rick in the south-west side of the road thence North 73 degrees west 34 poles to a fallen sassafras. Thence North with Mrs. Cummins line 6 1/2 poles to a hickory and mulberry stump. Thence with his line South 10 degrees East 32 poles to a White Oak stump. Thence East with another of Josey’s line 33 poles to the Beginning containing by estimate 104 acres.

The said Malinda Latimer to have and to hold the said land for and during her natural life free from the debts or liabilities of her husband. At her death I give and convey the entire fee simple estate in remainder to the children which may then have by me to be equally divided among them. If any child dies having having a child or children said surviving children shall be entitled to the share of the dead parent.

I do hereby warrant and forever defend the title of said land to the said Malinda and her children against the claims of all persons whatever as witnessed by my hand and seal this 3rd day of April 1856.

S.H. Harrison (seal)
Test:
Tyree H. Bell
Miles J. Hayfield (?)

Deed recorded in court 9 April 1856.

→ Simon and Malinda are found again in 1860 in Sumner County (Gallatin) in District 10.

Simon Harrison’s Known Children

The final list of children that I have compiled for Simon and Malinda is as follows:

William Henry Harrison (1834-1915)
Mary Ann Harrison (1837-1913)
Robert Harrison (1838-1864)
Catherine Harrison (1841-aft 1850)
Louisa M. Harrison (1843-aft 1870)
Francis Bradley Harrison (1845-1921)
Harris B. Harrison (1846-aft 1860)
Alexander H. Harrison (1852-1931) my gg grandfather
Daniel J. Harrison (1852-aft 1900)
John W. Harrison (1855-aft 1870)

Unfortunately, the fact that Simon named his first son William doesn’t mean much, because Malinda’s father name was William. Simon and Malinda did seem to use some family names for their children, however.  One of their daughters is named after Malinda’s mother, Catherine, for example.  So Simon’s childrens’ names may provide a clue to his parentage or family connections.

Simon Harrison’s War Record (Or Lack Thereof)

→ One Harrison family story is that Simon was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga, and that his body was shipped home to Sumner County for burial.  But, I found the military record for the “Ferguson S. Harrison,” sometimes thought to be Simon, that died at that battle. He was 21 at the time of enlistment. Simon was no younger than 38 in 1861 and may have been several years older. So, though it’s not impossible that he could have enlisted in one of the “old man’s units,” these two Simons are not the same person.

In fact, can find no record for any Simon Harrison who served with any Tennessee or Kentucky unit in the war, either Confederate or Union. It is possible that he is listed under some other name, but every other document with his name on it clearly gives it as either “Simon Harrison” or more frequently as “Simon H. Harrison.”

Another story that I have seen online is that Malinda “ran Simon off” and the family later decided to say he had been killed in the war.  I have no idea if this is true or not. But, I think that the story that he was killed in the war is highly unlikely to be true.

Furthermore the 1856 deed listed above in which his father in law bails him out of his debts but insists that all the land be deeded to his daughter, Simon’s wife, makes me wonder if he was perhaps an unreliable character. So, until I see some evidence to the contrary, I’m going to go with the alternate oral history that Malinda Latimer Harrison ran him off!

Simon Harrison’s Parentage

As to Simon’s possible father, I have found a “Simeon” Harrison on the 1812 tax list for Robertson County in District 11, near the Kentucky state line. He owned 36 acres of land. Note that Simon H. Harrison owns exactly 36 acres of land in the same district in 1836-37 (above).

I cannot find this Simeon Harrison on any other census. Unfortunately, the 1810 census for Robertson County was destroyed. He is not found on the 1820 census. If he died before 1820, I cannot find anyone listed in that census who is obviously his widow.

This may have been the “Simon” Harrison who was a Fife Major with the 2nd Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. Fife majors were typically boys or teenagers, which puts him at the right age to have been our Simon’s father, if a bit late in life. As a veteran, he would have been eligible for a land grant in Tennessee, though I have not found a record for that yet. The 2nd Regiment replaced the 13th, which raised troops in what later became West Virginia.

Additionally, a “Simeon” Harrison–possibly the same person–served in the war of 1812 in the 1st Regiment which was raised in Brooke County, Virginia. This county was located at the very northern tip of Virginia, and later became part of West Virginia. Just a short hop to Kentucky, which our Simon was pretty clear was his birthplace, even if his children were not so certain, some listing his birthplace as Virginia on the 1880 census, and others listing it as Kentucky. In addition, Simon’s oldest son, William Henry, who would have known him best, seemed to be aware of a Virginia connection, as his son Robert listed Simon’s birthplace as Virginia on William Henry’s death certificate.

Wh0 Raised Simon?

If Simon the Fifer was indeed our Simon’s father, then our Simon must have been in another household until he is found on the 1837 tax list for Robertson County. I have gone over the censuses for 1820 and 1830, and the one thing I know for sure is that he was not living in a Harrison household. That does not mean, however, that he might not have been living with his maternal relatives and therefore in a household with a completely different surname.

William Harrison is a possible candidate to have adopted Simon. He was born about 1761-1765 and is found in 1810 in just across the state line in Logan County. Kentucky with two kids. He suddenly acquires 10–yes 10–more boys by 1820, so it looks like he adopted some relatives. He could have been Simon’s uncle, or possibly his grandfather. The youngest boy listed, at 16-18 years old, could match up with Simon.

That is everything I have on the elusive Simon H. Harrison. If you can help me solve this mystery, please let me know in the comments section!

Side note: some online sources have that Simon was the son of Richard Harrison from Robertson County. But, Richard is only barely old enough to be his father, and there is no paper connection between the two of them. In addition, Richard and all his known relatives lived clear on the other side of Robertson County. So, I have discarded that theory.

 

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6 thoughts on “Simon H. Harrison: A Persistent Brick Wall

  1. Thanks for leaving this post on Simon H Harrison, my great – grandfather.. I am granddaughter of Alexander Harrison. My grandmother was Carrie Kelly, remember her as a child.. My Mother was Corinne Latimer, which was related to Melinda Latimer, who married Simon.. And my father was Joe Miller Harrison , son of Alexander
    I , too, have searched for birthplace for Simon.. My father’s oldest brother, Guy Harrison, told that Simon said he was born in Bagdad , Ky.. Hadnt been able to prove.
    But there was/is Harrison Family in Bagdad.. They own a Mill, there.. For 100 years.. I would Love for you to check this out.
    One more thing.. The cemetery which Simon was buried has only one old Tomb Stone , there now..
    The stones have disappeared, except for one stone leaning against a tree . There was One Large Newer stone put up for Simon, by Guy , my Uncle.. I would be so Happy if this helps at all.. Sorry for so much writting, but you are the first of any leads.. I have had in a long time..
    I also have information, that Sarah Kelly Shaffer sent me , before her Stroke, that Lola , her sister(?) sent her.
    Linda Harrison Clark

    • Hi Linda. Sarah and Lola were my great-aunts. Their mother, Pearl Harrison was another of Alexander’s kids. I also have some of Lola’s information that my grandmother gave me. I worked on Simon quite a bit this past summer, then decided to just let him sit for a while and see if something else pops up. That man aggravates me to no end! 🙂

  2. Ok, I have spent, lots of time, in the past with searching for Simon Harrison history..But had completely quit, due to no new evidence.. I had a 1st cousin, who now is decreased, who stated that that Simon had a land grant.. But that it was a Latimer Land Grant.. Simon Harrison, and Malinda Latimer, are both in my Family LIne.. My mother’s line through Wetherall Latimer, and my father’s through Nathanial Latimer, The Latimer Line has been greatly researched. Not by me, though. ” My mother and father never knew they were related.. But my mother always said their Latimer Family family could be trace back to a Harrison President.., and she not knowing that she and daddy were related..

    My Uncle Guy Harrison, was said to have stated, that Simon H Harrison was born in Bagdad,Ky.. And there is a Harrison Family there. A Mill, in Bagdad, was at last time, I checked, and it was run by a Harrison Family.. I did a bit of searching there, but nothing I could pin down.. But maybe you have resources, that would maybe dig a bit deeper, than I was able to go..Maybe Simon’s family was just passing through that area, when Simon was born?

    Ok, on what Actually happened to Simon? In the Family, the Harrison’s always said, he was killed in the Civil War.. His body returned home to be buried..?? Ok, The Ferguson Theory, and the Chickamauga location, 1st.. I read somewhere, that Ferguson Harrison, was a man of Color?.. Again, No Proof.. But, if they bought the body back from that distance, Not too many people, at that time, could afford to go and get a body, bring it back, and bury. Not sure that they were well off,, His body was buried in Womack Cemetery, right beside HighWay 25, going up the Ridge,,,

    Lola,, stated in her notes, that she had someone doing some searching on what actually happened to him. Nothing showed up.
    But she said, that she had her opinion.. And So do I,, But, that is all I have “Just An Opinion”

    Latimer Side of the Story, came from a Well repected Latimner School Teacher, as told to her by her Latimer, mother.. Malinda and Simon, argued …and Malinda ran Simon off.. ::??
    Now,Do you think a woman, ran Simon off.. Maybe.. But, they were surrounded by Latimer Family..

    Hope this Helps, But Remember, It’s Just My Opinion, and Mixed with Bits and Pieces of Information, that I have come with.
    I am 72, and would to know more about Simon H Harrison, before, my time here, is up..Please keep me informed..

    • Absolutely! I am temporarily in Washington DC and can research in the DAR library on occasion. I plan to do a Simon Harrison day there soon. Their KY and TN resources are not that great though.

  3. please, someone interested in saving Womack Cemetery, I would like help in Marking the Location, of the cemetery, located on side of road, Highway 25, going up the Cottontown Ridge.. The stones are gone. even the Newer Larger Stone, that my deceased father , Joe Harrison, and brother’s ( including, Guy Harrison, ) brought, an placed there. The stones were right on the road, and could be seen, passing by. there is a Trailer with a fence, between it and the Womack Cemetery. I want to locate stones, if possible. I want to preserve and protect it from being as a Building lot, and the area, lost forever. The area now, has Donkeys grazing there beside the road, where my Grandfather, his brother, Doc Harrison, Eliza Harrison, and looking in the Sumner Co, Cemetery, listing, will show Names of the Rest.. Please, someone, help me in at least, Marking the Spot as the location of the Cemetery, and maybe making a place, to be able to Park.. the Trailor next door has fence all around, and a gate, blocking the Drive..

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