Biography of Robert W. Harrison Jr.

ROBERT W. HARRISON, JR. This gentleman comes of a good Southern family, and in Maury County, Tennessee, his father, Robert W. Harrison, first saw the light in 1818. He was the only child of his parents,__________ and Elizabeth (Roberts) Harrison, and is a member of the same family as is ex-President Benjamin H. Harrison. He received fair educational advantages in his youth, and in 1841 came to Newton County, Arkansas, and settled on Little Buffalo Creek, one mile above Jasper, where he made his home for about one year. At the end of that time he moved to Boone County, Arkansas, but after a short time returned to his farm in this county, and after residing on the same for three years took up his residence in Jasper, where he made his home until his death in 1881. He was a successful law practitioner for some years, and in 1859-60 he was elected to represent the county in the State Legislature, and for a period of about ten years served in the responsible capacity of county judge, becoming one of the most prominent men of his section. He was for a long time connected with the Republican party, but for some years before his death supported the measures of Democracy. He was married on Dick River in Maury County, Tennessee, and removed to Arkansas by wagon at a time when the country was so wild that they had to cut a road through the cane brake and brush at many different places. They made a settlement on a very large tract of land about one mile west of Jasper, but three years later settled in the town, of which they were among the very first settlers. He and his wife, who was born in Maury County, Tennessee, were worthy members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was a member of the A. F.& A. M., and as an attorney he was considered, and justly so, one of the best in the State. His widow, whose maiden name was Clarissa Austin, is now residing in Harrison, Arkansas, with her daughter, Mrs. David_________, who is one of the ten children she bore her husband, as follows: Sarah, widow of Riley Cissel, is the mother of W. I. Cissel, of Harrison; Caroline is the wife of Frank Davis,of Harrison; Mary is the wife of F. S. Baker, of Harrison; George, a scout in the Confederate Army, was killed in Carroll County, Arkansas, during the war; Austin died when six or seven years old; John S. lives on a farm near Jasper; Thomas F. is a merchant of Jasper; Robert W. is also a merchant of that place; Wesley is farming in western Texas; and William F.,who resides in Jasper and farms in the vicinity of the place.

Robert W. Harrison, the immediate subject of this sketch,was born in the town of Jasper, Arkansas, May 14, 1853, in the public schools, of which place he acquired a good practical education. He started out for himself at the early age of seventeen, and for some six years thereafter followed the life of a cow boy in the Lone Star State, during which time he became a thorough plainsman. He was a participant in several fights with the Indians who would stampede his stock, and on one occasion found it necessary to kill one Indian. He returned to Newton County, Arkansas, in 1874, and for some five years thereafter was engaged in tilling the soil two and one-half miles south of Jasper. At the end of that time he located in the town and opened a dry goods establishment, which he gradually merged into the grocery and finally into the drug business, his partner in the latter enterprise being Dr. Montgomery, but in 1881 this partnership was dissolved, and he once more started in business alone, and has continued on his own responsibility ever since, conducting a well-appointed general mercantile establishment, and doing an annual business of about $30,000 the largest of the kind done in the county. He is a man of excellent business qualifications, is far-seeing and prudent in all his transactions, honorable and upright in every particular, and is in every way worthy the liberal patronage he receives. Politically he has always been a Republican and socially is a member of the A. F. & A. M. In 1876 he united his fortunes with those of Miss Anna Henderson, who was born in this county in 1859, and to their union four children were born: Hattie, wife of W. L. Curtis, of Jasper; Mattie M.; Hugh D. and Ollie. The mother of these children died in 1891, and Mr. Harrison took for his second wife Miss Sarah Hudson, daughter of Henry Hudson, of this county. She was born here in 1874. In May, l893, while Mr. Harrison was taking a trip through Polk County, Arkansas, he was taken for a United States marshal by a party of moonshiners, was led into an ambush and was shot four times with a 44-caliber Winchester rifle. One shot took effect in his body, one in his right arm, carrying away two inches of the bone, and two shots in the face, one lodging in the back part of the head and neck, and one passing through the tongue, tearing out the roof of the mouth. Two of the men are now paying the penalty of their misdeeds in the penitentiary, but it was fully eight weeks before Mr. Harrison was able to be out of bed, during which time he came very near death’s door, only a hardy constitution and excellent nursing carrying him through.



A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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