Letters written by Benjamin and Sarah Harrison

Provided by Karen Nelson

Introduction to letters written by Benjamin and Sarah Harrison:

Benjamin Harrison was the son of William Henry Harrison and Ann (Beeson) Harrison. Benjamin Harrison was first married to Elvira Biggs, they had 5 children. Benjamin's second wife was Sarah M. Wisener, they had 4 children. A lot of the Harrison family are buried in the Harrison Cemetery in Clark Co., IL.

The letters were sent to Martha (Ogden) Shipp of Licking, MO. The letters were typed as written. No attempt has been made to correct the spelling. The letters written by Benjamin and Sarah Harrison were handed down through the Shipp family who lived at Licking, MO. Jim and Karen Nelson have the letters and posted them on the Crawford County, IL Genealogy Website.


Nov. 14, 1882

Dear Niece,

I received yours of Nov. 6 it found us well and was sorry it did not leave your family well also. Cassius and I went overt to Quaker meeting last Saturday spent the night with Sim, went over to see Bryant next morning, and found them all in good health and prospering. Our wheat crop was tolerably good, raised about a thousand bushels in the family, corn being planted so late did not yield as well as usual but will have plenty to feed and some to sell average 30 bushel to the acre.

The judgement of the previous suit was affermed at the Supreme Court. Sam gets $6,000.00 expenses, #3,000.00 taxes, $1,000.00 making in all $10,000.00. John Cox has an order from court to sell it this winter sometime and unless it goes very high there will not be anything left, to divide but will see that you get your share, if any one does.

Emma Ferris is teaching near Hutsonville.

Pink and her husband are doing well.

Narcessa lost a young child last month her health is not good. Milton is in Ohio visiting friends.

Rachel Ann has better health than for several years, she is getting on well.

As to our coming to see you it will be doubtful for a while unless you get a railroad nearer to you than now, it would be so much trouble to get us to and from the train.

We never had as many blackberries as this summer, some canned 50 gallons, we did not but could if we had needed them.

Apples plenty at 50 cents, potatoes abundant at 40 cents.

The river has been to low for boating for several months. Wheat is worth 80 corn 40.

We had a picture taken including the children and grandchildren and the house all in one.

Write when convenient to your
Uncle Benj. Harrison

Note by Jim and Karen Nelson: Benjamin had a total of nine children. Emma, Pink, Narcessa, Milton and Rachel Ann mentioned in the letter were his children. The letter was sent to Benjamin Harrison's niece Martha (Ogden) Shipp of Licking, MO. Martha (Ogden) Shipp's mother, Courtney (Harrison) Ogden was a sister to Benjamin Harrison.

The estate mentioned in the letter was the estate of Henry Harrison, Jr. Benjamin and Henry Harrison were brothers. Also see letters written by Abraham Harrison that mentioned the estate.

Sam mentioned in this letter was probably Samuel Lindley. After reading all the letters that mentions the estate, it looks like Samuel Lindley ended up with most of Henry Harrison's estate. Samuel Lindley was related to the Harrison family.

I would love to have a copy of the picture of Benjamin and Sarah Harrison and family. My address is Karen Nelson, 104 Craven St. Licking, MO 65542.


July 12, 1883

Dear Niece and Family,

We received your letter several weeks ago but from press of work we have neglected answering. As to the Estate, the land sale amounted to $8,050.00. Eight Thousand and fifty Dollars.

A man from Paris bought the house place and paid $16.00 per acer or near that, we all think that he bought it for Sam so that he might be safe about his fees as he was Sam's lawyer.

Jim Morton bought the old Sugar Camp that lies south of Morton's farm. It was timber sold for $1300 (probably $13.00) 80 acres.

Cassius bought the Riggs land down in the bottom for $5.00 an acre.

It will leave nothing for the heirs after Sam is paid. The lawyer bought the 40 acres on the sand.

The time given on the sale was a year and a half. This is about all I know about the business, that would interest you. Our wheat crop was almost a failure but corn never looked nicer if nothing happens to it, we will have several thousand bushels. Grass and oats are splendid. Fruit is plenty except peaches.

Cassius is married and lives in part of the hose, his wifes name is Ella Brewer.

Cis (Narcissa) is making cheese, she gets 12 1/4 cents per lb. She makes over thirty dollars a month. Annie does her own work. Belle has four little girls. They bought a farm and built a mile east of us.

The friend's are all tolerably well. Aunt Sophronia had the rheumatism all winter.

Have you a railroad any nearer than when you were out.

Write to us again. Sally has been teaching and boarded at Sam Cox they have a fine boy 2 months old, his name is Charles Edgar. Bryand (?Bryant) and his wife are in usual health.

Your Uncle Benjamin

Note by Jim and Karen Nelson: The letter was written to Martha (Ogden) Shipp of Licking, MO. Aunt Sophronia mentioned in the letter is probably Sophronia (Howerton) Harrison. Sam mentioned in the letter is probably Samuel Lindley, a relative to the Harrison family.


August 14, 1888

Dear Martha

Received your letter this morning was real lad to hear from you. but am very sorry to write to you of your Uncles death, he (Benjamin Harrison) died a year ago the 23rd of July 1887 of heart disease. He kept his bed one week he did not know he had affected with heart disease till he got sick. I am still at the old home. Cassius is married and lives in the west half of the house, have two children a little girl and boy ?Joy and Elmer. Cassus married Ella Brewer. John is married too he live one mile west of Graysville he has two children Willie Benjamin and Emmet two boys. He married Jessie (?)Medsear. Sally is married she married Levi Strain he was widower but had no children but she and him have two Benjamin Edgar and James. Narcissa and her husband and family sold out and moved to Bent Co., Colorado. Lajunta is the post office they went last March. Emma and husband bought them out and they live at the Narrows where Cis lived. Emmas health is very poor she don't know what is the matter. I think it is her stomach. You know Uncle Ben use to be troubled with desfefsia. But she is afraid it is her lungs. Anna still lives where they did. They are getting along real well. The baby we went to see when you was here was 8 years old in May he is their baby yet he was the last one. I forgot to tell you Emma has two little girls Cornelle May and Fannie. We settled Uncle Bens estate (Sarah M. Harrison's husbands estate) with out a bit of trouble had no administrator or law of any kind. All was of age we just got together and agreed to let John and Cassius (Sarah's Sons) settle it. And if there was any hard feelings I never heard of it. Bennie (Benjamin Harrison) had divided his farms just as he wanted it but had never given the children their deeds. I just handed them over after his death. He deeded me the right of 58 acres where the house is for my lifetime then it goes to Cassius. He had 80 acres for all but one he gave him a $1,000.00 to make it even. That is very different from the way Uncle Henrys (Henry Harrison, Jr.) estate was. We never got anything out of it but paid out about $50.00 our of our own pockets. Sophrona is still living and is keeping house for Aberam (Abraham ?Harrison). His wife died a year ago last June with a conjestive chill. Jim and Sally are both dead they died of consumption 4 or 5 years ago. I don't recollect which. Sophronias folks have raised or are raising their children. Pink married Jo Brooks near the time you was out here. I think Nancy Ann's daughter Emma married John ?Ferris at York (probably York, IL) and she is living with them. Emma has a pair of twin girls she had two children before, their names was Bruce and Grace. I don't know what the twins names are. I haven't heard from Candices children lately. John Thomas was at Robinsonville and I guess Angeline lives near Hutson. Simpson went to Colorado a year or two ago. Not very far from where Narcissas is. Bryant died in the sam year. Old Benjamin died but I don't recolect the date, he married and old lady by the name of Miller guess she is living yet.

The wheat crop isn't very good here but we have a good prospect for corn. We had a good many chinch bugs too but we had such heavy rains that beat them of and the corn got so rank and strong that they did not hurt it much. We had good oats and abundance of fruit small fruit cherries berries of all kinds that grow here and plums apples peaches lots of them. I am going to dry apples and peaches and send to Cis they haven't any fruit yet there. I guess I will close this leaves me real well for my age. Love to all from your Aunt Sarah M. Harrison write soon and direct to Narrows, Sullivan Co., Indiana. Besure and write soon I like to hear from you oftiner than I have. Signed: Sarah M. Harrison

Note by Jim and Karen Nelson: The letter was sent to Martha (Ogden) Shipp of Licking, MO. In the letter, Sarah Harrison was referring to her husband Benjamin Harrison as Uncle Ben, because he was Martha (Ogden) Shipp's uncle. Benjamin Harrison was a brother to Martha (Ogden) Shipp's mother, Courtney (Harrison) Ogden.


Narrows Ind. March 15, 1894

Dear Friends, I received your letter and was sorry to hear of your los. I am living at the old place. Our children is all married and live around here. But Narcissa they move to Colorado. Rockford is her town. Rachel Ann lives where she did when you was here. Sarah lives two miles east of hear. Emma lives where Narcissa and when yo were here. Milton lives one mile East of Graysville. Mary Belle lives close here and John lives one mile north east Graysville. Cassius live one mile west of Fairbanks. We are all well at present. My nephew lives in a part of my house. Keep house for my self. I can get around right well have a horse and buggy go whear I please I was over the river last fall and tried to get the grave yard fenced. I received our part of the money. Sam Lindley live at the old place they had six children three are single and two married. Sam is single. The youngest boy A. B. Harrison built a new brick house little North of his mothers old house. He married widow woman with two girls they are gone now he has one of his own her name is Boney she is a smarte little girl. Pink lives at the Brooks place her and Jo is. Pink had one child and it died she is a raising James Harrison two youngest children. Ann Harris (or Harrison) is living at West Union her children is married. We have democratic times here did not have any fruit last year we have had a nice weather this winter.

Sarah M. Harrison

Note by Jim and Karen Nelson: This letter was sent to Martha (Ogden) Shipp who was a niece of Sarah M. Harrison. Jim and Karen Nelson went to the Harrison Cemetery in Clark Co., IL and have pictures of the Harrison tombstones. Also have pictures of West York, IL. The Narrows is in Sullivan Co., IN.


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This page last updated on February 05, 2015.