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History of Harrisonburg


From DeBow's Review 1852

This is the seat of justice of the parish, and is situated on the west bank of the Ouachitta river, at the point where the pine hills are first seen in ascending this stream. The land is subject to inundation, and was under water in 1850.

It contains a population of 200 orderly and sociable people.

The first white man who lived here was Jacob Sirnmmons, about 1804-5, but the land was secured by pre-emption and right of occupancy to John Hamberlin, and confirmed to him by the United States land commissioners, in June, 1811.

This land was afterwards bought by John Harrison, who came from South Carolina, and who employed Edward Dorsey to lay out and survey the town lots, and draw a map of the same, in the year 1818.

The place was selected as the site for the court-house, which was built in 1808, and was only a small hewed-log hut; the next court-house was a frame building, put up in 1819.

Oliver J. Morgan had the first store here in 1809, and also kept the ferry acrossthe river, but there was very little traveling.
Robert Nobles built the first framehouse in the place, which was burnt down a few years ago, while owned by Truman Phelps. Nobles kept tavern here in 1815.
John Crane and William Taylor had a store here in 1813;  J. Hamberlin and P. Caldwell, 1816; Richard King, 1816.

The present court-house is a commodious two-story brick building, fifty feet square. It was built in 1843, by D. E. Ross and Edward Bass, and cost nearly $7,000. The first jail was made of hewed logs. The present one was built before
the courthouse, and is constructed of the yellowish gray sandstone which is so bountifully supplied on the spot, looks well, and answers a very excellent purpose.

There are four stores and two groceries in the place, with an aggregate capital
of $25,000. There are two very good hotels in the place. Two physicians Drs. J. Holliday and W. H. Hanna, the former, also, has a large drug store.

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