Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Let's look at my mother's paternal line--Lemuel Richard Harrison

Lemuel Richard Harrison and me.


If I hadn't named my blog, "How Did I Get Here?", I would have named it "In the Mix". My ancestry is a big old melting pot. I have African, Native American, Barbadian, Portuguese and other European Ancestry (possibly Irish--according to family lore but can't fully back that one up yet.) My grandfather Lemuel Harrison was a charismatic man who was born in New Bern, North Carolina on February 20, 1920. He moved to NY when he was a young and was married and had a daughter before he turned 22. How's that for growing up fast. This brings back to me a memory of my mother telling me about how she was born like 2 months early or something like that and how her mom and dad weren't ready....meaning they didn't have anything set up in the house. My mother's first bed was a bureau drawer until they came by a crib at sometime later time. When I heard this for the first time, I said "Say, what?!" I had never heard of babies sleeping in a bureau drawer before. When I told my husband this story, he informed that that was not uncommon. His heritage is predominantly Irish with a little English.  Many of his ancestors had 8-15 kids in a household and it wasn't unusual that someone's first bed was a bureau drawer.

Anyway, back to Lemuel. He was 1 of 13 children born to John Thomas Harrison and Carrie Whitney Harrison.  Here are the members of the family.

Parents:

John Thomas Harrison (December 3, 1891--June 22, 1974)
Carrie Ethel Whitney (October 11, 1897--August 1, 1939)

Children:

John Thomas Harrison Jr. (March 26, 1916--November 22, 1978)
Sarah Katherine Harrison Roseman (August 20, 1917--May 26, 1987)
Samuel David Harrison (March 18 1919--June 10, 1981)
Lemuel Richard Harrison (February 20, 1921--December 28, 1987)--my grandfather
George Augustus Harrison (November 28, 1922--June 25, 2002)
Freddie Harrison (January 20, 1925--November 9, 1979)
Margaret Fleta Bell Harrison Medlock (July 13, 1926--April 3, 2011)
Earl W Harrison (May 25, 1928--February 1985)
Rudolph Henry Harrison (birth date unsure--deceased, before 1979)
William Arthur Harrison (Jan 29, 1934--June 15, 1997)
James Edward Harrsion (born 1938--deceased, date unknown)
Carrie Mae Harrison Taylor born in 1932
Robert Harrison born July 28, 1939

That's a lot of folks. LOL. How do you feed all those people?! Well, they made it work. Unfortunately, my great grandmother Carrie died due to complications from a Cesarean section after having her last child on August 1, 1939. Maybe her body was just too wore out  from having so many babies.

I have only met Robert and Carrie out of my grandfather's siblings. I don't have a visual memory of Carrie because I was a very young child when I met her, however we have reconnected in the last two years and it really has been sweet getting to know her.  I met my uncle Bobby back in 2002 and my jaw hit the floor when he walked into the room. He looked then like an older version of my own older brother. No denying the connection in genes there.  I keep in touch with him too. I love hearing him laugh, it so reminds me of my grandfather's laugh. So sweet. Anyway, I never really spoke with my grandfather about this particular topic but I think for him in his house when he was growing up...it was like you better hurry up and grow up and move out on your own. It just couldn't have been easy, a man on his own raising 13 kids.

This is turning into a rambling post but it is what it is. Anyway, my grandfather loved his family dearly. He loved having a birthday party every year at his house in Jamaica, Queens. The whole family would pack into his house, sing "Happy Birthday", laugh, and catch up on the year's events. Lots of great memories. I have to thank him for kind of being the glue to keep everyone connected. After he passed away in 1987, my family seemed to drift apart as many families do. Kids grow up and start there own lives. Everyone seems to go their own way.

Last year, my mom shared with me some of her photos of when her parents were together. There is no denying the love this man had for his daughter in these pictures.

My mother and Lemuel Harrison


Lemuel Harrison, my mother, and my grandmother Mary


2 comments:

  1. Wonderful tribute - thank you for sharing him with us. And you sound like you are even more of a mix than my daughters are (we call them "mutts" because they are a blend of immigrant backgrounds from so many places).

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  2. I love your story about the drawer! LOL. My mother told me that I was so little she would put me in the bureau drawer also..I think this also be from the Irish in her family..You have wonderful photos.

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