Thursday, July 24, 2014

52 Ancestors: #19 What Did Church Mean For Rev. Thomas Duke Harrison?

It's been awhile, but yes I am still participating in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge put forth by Amy Johnson Crow of the blog No Story Too Small. If you aren't familiar with the challenge be sure to check out her blog.  I am a bit behind on this prompt but I figure, I will just keep doing the best I can about getting these posts out there. It's summertime and it's been challenging to carve out time during the day to blog. This particular post I have had sitting in my draft section in Blogger going on two weeks. Finally, I said to myself enough is enough. Let me just get this thing out there. 

What did church mean for Thomas Duke Harrison? I have often wondered about this. What church means to me is spirituality and connection to those around me.  For him, it had to mean so much more though. 

According to his death certificate, he was born December 25, 1880 but based on information provided on Thomas's marriage license to a Mary Jane Williams, my 2nd great grandmother, I believe the year was actually around 1856. His mother was a Sophia Boyd of Beaufort, NC and a Simon D Harrison of New Bern, NC.  The family oral history that was passed down to me from my maternal grandfather Lemuel Harrison was that the original family surname was Dove and at some point was changed to Harrison. Supposedly, a man of possible Irish decent helped out Thomas and as a result he was able to attain an education. 

By 1880, Thomas Duke Harrison was residing in Rocky Point, NC which is northeast of Wilmington. He worked as a servant for a Benjamin and Mary Lee.  I believe he probably was already involved with the Methodist church at this time. In 1880, Thomas's father Simon Harrison was still alive and living in New Bern, NC. I wonder what their relationship was like. Did he miss his father? I have a feeling that the church gave him a sense of family and belonging.

I found signs of his rise in the ministry in newspapers of the time.

 The Wilmington Messenger, December 3, 1889, Page 5

This next article from January 2, 1897 noted T. D. Harrison's pastoral appointment to the Swansboro, NC district.

 The Gazette, (Raleigh, North Carolina)January 2, 1897, Page 3

By 1900, Rev. T. D. Harrison was living in Wilmington, with his wife and 6 children on land he apparently owned. In 1906 he made an additional purchase of land in Wilmington.

The Wilmington Messenger, October 27 1906, Page 5.

I wonder if this was a personal purchase or one he made on behalf of the Methodist church?

Over the next several years, he was appointed to different districts in North Carolina. 

In 1905 it was Maysville.

 The Daily Journal, December 6, 1905, Page 4

1907--1908 New Bern

Hill's Directory Co. City of New Bern Directory 1907--1908


New Berne Weekly Journal, January 1, 1909, Page 3

By 1910, Thomas Harrison's family had expanded to include 9 children:  Elizabeth, Mary Ellen, John Thomas, Charlie Lee, Sophia, Lilian,William Arthur, Edward, and Varina. I found it curious that Thomas was not listed on the census with his family. Perhaps he was in Kinston when the household was enumerated.  

Source Information: 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006. Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Wilmington Ward 5, New Hanover, North Carolina; Roll: T624_1124; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0096; FHL microfilm: 1375137.

Or was he was working the circuit back in his hometown of New Bern? 

Hill's Directory Co. New Bern, NC Directory 1911-1912

My great great grandfather certainly was a man on the move.

Thomas Duke Harrison's family eventually caught up with him and settled in New Bern sometime between 1911 and 1919. The family resided in a house that was once listed as 37 Lincoln St. but is now referred to 1510 Lincoln St. To learn who my 2nd great grandfather purchased the home from, check out my post Deed to 1510 Lincoln St Reveals An Interesting Connection.

Image courtesy of Google Maps.

What did church mean for Rev. T. D. Harrison?

These are a few of the words that came to my mind.

sense of family

but in the end I think it really was the place he truly called home.

(Born about 1856--died December 7, 1940.)

Here are some links to other posts regarding Thomas Duke Harrison:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Book Of Me: Prompt 42 --Handwriting

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

This week's prompt is - Handwriting

Add to your Book of Me an example of your handwriting.
Share some examples of your ancestors - parents, Grandparents, etc
Has your handwriting changed over time?
Perhaps include some samples of younger generations?
In this digital age our descendants will marvel at our handwriting for very different reasons when compared to us marvelling at our ancestors handwriting. We take for granted that we can probably write. That in the past was not a given right.

Here's a sample of my handwriting from when I was a kid.  It's from a card I made for my paternal grandmother. 

And yes my handwriting has changed a bit from then. It's now messier. Only kidding :)

Here are some handwriting samples from a few of my ancestors.

Samuel H Whitney
Maternal 2nd great grandfather.

Augustus Whitney
Maternal 2nd great grand uncle (Samuel Whitney's brother)

Harold Murrell 
Paternal grandfather

John Harrison
Maternal great grandfather

Rev. T. D. Harrison
Maternal 2nd great grandfather (father to John Harrison)

Frank L. Bryant
Maternal great grandfather

I am still trying to play catch up so I am going to keep this post brief. On to prompt 43!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flashback Friday: Pictures From A Vacation Past.

Something made me take a trip down memory lane last night and I reviewed through tons of pictures I have saved to Dropbox. I had forgotten I had taken these pictures a couple of years ago when the family and I visited Pass A Grille, Florida. We have lots of good memories of that trip. It's nice be able travel back to that place and time through pictures. 

Perhaps I'll dig up old pictures and post them on Fridays. Maybe I'll make this a regular theme. We'll see. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Not So Wordless Wednesday: Another Great Google Find!

A couple of months back and on a whim I did a Google search on one of my maternal grandmother's sisters, Loris Bryant Gwyn Helton. She grew up in Morehead City, NC but subsequently married and moved to the city of Mt Airy, the birthplace of her first husband Luther Lee Gwyn. I remember my Aunt Loris well from my childhood. She would come to visit New York in the summertime and stayed with her sister/my aunt Rosa Bryant Sanders. I loved going over to see her and would always greet her with a hug and a kiss after she'd ask me "to give her some sugar."

Anyway, I struck gold after putting in the search terms "Loris Gwyn" and "Mt Airy"on Google. After scanning through the results that popped up, here's what I found and yes you know I quickly went to Amazon and purchased a copy of the book right afterwards. (Smile)

Image courtesy of the book, Around Surry County, by Evelyn Scales Thompson, PhD, page 87.

And this lovely lady pictured on the far right in the first row is my Aunt Loris!

Image courtesy of the book, Around Surry County, by Evelyn Scales Thompson, PhD, page 87.

I vaguely recalled my mother mentioning at some point during one of our many conversations about family, that Aunt Loris had become a teacher just like her mother Ophelia Bryant.  Seeing this picture of Aunt Loris in her youth and in her profession is just wonderful to me. Now I have an image that goes along with that conversation my mother and I had. Thank you Google!

I decided to post this now because I have recently connected with a cousin, who's mother was supposed to have been named after my Aunt Loris. The story goes that when my cousin's mother was born someone at the hospital heard Lois instead of Loris and so her mom's name was actually Lois. Anyway, the above pictures are a shout out to my cousin Lisa. Here's the lady, your mom was named after. :)

On a side note, something cool happened last night while I was putting together this post. I sat down with my laptop and the book Around Surry County to begin work. When I flipped open the book it opened up to a page which had this picture on it. 

Robert and Ida McCarther

This excerpt is from page 34.

This picture was taken in 1945 for their youngest son, Nathaniel, who was serving in the military in Calcutta, India. Robert McCarther and Ida Frazier married and began their life together in Chestnut Ridge c. 1899. They developed a 93-acre farm. Their descendants celebrated the home and farmland as a historical site in 2003. (Courtesy Nathanie McArthur)

What makes this interesting is that my Aunt Loris's daughter, Melba Gwyn, married a grandson of this couple. Perhaps it wasn't so random that the book opened up to this page. Hmm.