Tuesday, October 25, 2011

David Harrison, My Great Grandfather

About ten years ago, a cousin of my mother's, Loreene Crompton, from Oregon, came back to Ontario for a visit.  I elected to pick her up, and take her to see my parents, a few hours to the north.  During the visit, she wanted to see if she could locate the house where her mother was born in Grimsby, Ontario.  She had a partial address, and we spent the better part of an afternoon searching, only to discover that it had been torn down, years ago.

We went to the local cemetery and were able to find the headstone of her grandfather, my great grandfather, David Harrison.
Earliest known portrait of David Harrison

I have delved into my Family Tree Maker file and copied the following notes:

      from the Ottawa Mormon Family Historical Records

Married at 24 years of age, to Emma Ida Freeman of Croft Township

Both David and Emma were listed as Methodist.

Marriage 1 Emma Ida FREEMAN b: Abt 1860 in Georgetown, Esquesing Twp., Halton Co., Ontario
Married: 10 Oct 1882 in Croft Twp., Parry Sound Dist., Ontario
Event: Ontario Vital Statistics Marriage 10 Oct 1882 in Croft Twp., Parry Sound Dist., Ontario
Note: #007451-82 David HARRISON, 24, farmer, Ontario, Chapman Twp , s/o David & Isabella HARRISON, married Emma Ida FREEMAN , 22, Georgetown, Croft Twp, d/o Benjamin & Jane FREEMAN, w itn: Allan KENNEDY, Chapman Twp & Isaiah BAILLY, Croft Twp , 10 Oct 1882 at Croft Twp


     From the notes of Charles McRitchie:

David Harrison, junior, born dec 31, 1854 near Merrickville, Ontario. Died in a train accident at Grimsby Ontario, Aug 20, 1924.  He married Oct 10, 1882, his first wife, Emma Ida Freeman, born July 28, 1859.  Died April 21, 1890 at Salmonville, near Georgetown, Ontario.  On March 18, 1891, David married his first cousin, Margaret Moffit McRitchie, born Dec 16, 1865, died June 6, 1952 in Los Angeles, California.


     copy of notice of David Harrison's funeral in Grimsby newspaper August 1924, clipping from Loreene Ham.

David Harrison Laid to Rest:

Victim of Railway Accident Left Wife and Seven Children -- Two Brothers and Two Sisters -- Came to Grimsby in Spring

The funeral of David Harrison who was accidently killed on Wednesday was held from his late residence , 34 Ontario Street to Queen's Lawn Cemetery  on Thursday, August 21, Messrs. Warburton, Rayburn and Galloway conducting the service and the pallbearers were: Stanley Crompton, Richard James, Mr. Wallace, Mr. Cochrane, Thomas Jeremiah, and David Morris.  Mr Harrison was born at Merrickville, in the county of Lanark, on December 31, 1855, and followed the occupation of farming.  He later moved to Parry Sound district and was married at Magnetewan.  About seven years ago he removed to Hamilton, and came to Grimsby last spring.  He was a member of the Brethren for 35 years where his death is sincerely regretted.  Surviving are his wife, three sons, and four daughters: William of Magnetawan, Ashur of Detroit, Mrs Gordon Crompton of Windsor, Edgar of Grimsby (all of whom were present at the funeral), Mrs. W. Patterson of Dunchurch, and Misses Prudence and Ida of Los Angeles, California.  There are also two brothers, Robert George of Chatsworth, Henry of Hanover and two sisters, Mrs Peter McRitchie of Hanover and Mrs William Butrill in Manitoba.

My grandmother is the Mrs. W. Patterson of Dunchurch, mentioned in the notice above.  I kind of wondered why she did not attend the funeral, although it would have been quite a journey in 1924, and then I realized that she had a newborn, my uncle Sam, which would have probably made travel almost impossible.

 This photo is of David and his second wife Margaret McRitchie on their wedding day.  Margaret was actually his first cousin.  Apparently when the first wife, Emma Freeman, died in childbirth, Margaret came to help care for the surviving infant and the two older children.  My grandmother was the middle child of this first family. Whether it was a marriage of convenience or love, who is to say.  But they did go on to have four children of their own.  Loreene's mother was the second youngest of this second family.

My grandmother is the taller girl in the back row

Back row: Ash, Will Patterson (my Grandfather), Jane (my Grandmother)  Front Row: David Harrison, Ida, Alcinda (Loreene's mother), Prudence, Edward and Margaret McRitchie Harrison
I've been wondering about the above picture.  I think it may actually have been taken at my grandparent's wedding, the two in the back row.  The youngest brother would have been six at the time and that is about what Edward looks like.

Margaret and David in later years.

Each year, we correspond at Christmas, but alas, last year, my card came back address unknown.  So I'm not sure if Loreene is deceased, or has simply moved into a nursing home.  I am indebted to Loreene, as most of these photos are copies of originals from her personal collection - photos I would otherwise never had access to.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.


  1. You are so lucky to have these photos and information about your family.

  2. What an amazing collection of photos you have! I love looking at these.

  3. You have a good collection of photos and it is good to have so much known family history. Even though you live north of me the family stories seem so much the same. The black and white photos tell stories.


Much appreciated comments from my friends: