Thomas Harrison Family



By Vivian Harrison Wier


Thomas Harrison, born in 1822 at Syracuse, New York, was an adventurous young man. In 1839, at the age of seventeen, he sailed to Indianola, Calhoun County, Texas. On September 27, 1848, Thomas married Margaret Smith, who was born on May 4, 1833 in Frankfurt, Germany and arrived at Indianola with her family, the Henry Smiths, as a young woman.


Captain Harrison became a ship's pilot and sailed along the Gulf Coast, and he and Margaret lived at Decrow's Point on Matagorda Island [Peninsula]. They were the parents of seven sons and one daughter, all born at Decrow's Point. Thomas, Jr., was born on July 21, 1849 and died in June of 1915 in Victoria.


Adoline Margaret was born on March 1, 1853, and married first Martin Reynolds on July 4, 1876 and second, Joseph G. Forrestier on January 4, 1883. She died on November 10, 1900 on Matagorda Island.


Francis was born on May 2, 1855, and married Christine Katherine Schmidt, who was born on August 16, 1880 and died on June 22, 1922. He died on June 22, 1922 in Cuero.


Joseph H. was born on September 25, 1857 and died on September 7, 1917 and was buried in Beeville, Texas. On July 26, 1889, the first engine of the Gulf, Western Texas and Pacific Railroad reached Beeville with conductor Joe Harrison in charge. William was born on January 26, 1857 and died on May 12, 1872 in Indianola.


Robert was born on January 20, 1859 and died September 30, 1927 in Orella, Nebraska and was buried in Chadron, Dawes County, Nebraska. He married Sarah Elizabeth McIntyre.


Henry was born on January 16, 1861 and died in California.


Benjamin was born on January 2, 1863 and married first Mary Ann McIntyre in 1885 and married second Marie Peterson on June 12, 1917. He died on November 27, 1935 in Oelrichs, Fall River County, South Dakota and was buried at Chadron, Nebraska. Benjamin was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oelrichs, South Dakota.


During the Civil War, Union troops landed at Decrow's Point. Francis Harrison was driving cows home when he was approached by a group of Yankees. They killed the cattle, dug the family's potatoes, took everything edible from the garden and house and left the family destitute. The family members were taken as prisoners to New Orleans, Louisiana. On the way to New Orleans, the ship lost her bearings. The Captain of the ship, St. Maries, could not steer a correct course because the compass deviated too far. Captain Harrison told the captain of the St. Maries that he was also a ship's pilot and navigator who knew these waters and would put them back on course if they would not harm his family. The captain of the ship agreed and let Thomas Harrison try his skill. The first thing Captain Harrison did was to ask that all guns and bayonets be moved to the other end of the ship. The ship was easily returned to its course as soon as the weapons were moved. The compass had been affected by the presence of the metal in the weapons.


Margaret Smith Harrison died on October 24, 1866, the victim of a cholera epidemic. She was buried in the Indianola Cemetery. Adoline, thirteen years old and the only girl in the family, tried hard to take her mother's place in the home. She saw that Henry, Francis, William and Ben went to school by skiff from Decrow's Point to Indianola. Their teacher was Eudora Moore.


In 1868, Captain Harrison married a woman named Jennie. By that time, several of the boys had left home and were working at different jobs. Captain Harrison and Jennie had three children: Ione Louise (January 26, 1869-September 16, 1875); Waldo Willard (February 24, 1870-September 16, 1875); and Paul Ralph (June 15, 1872-September 16, 1875). Jennie died on October 8, 1873, leaving Thomas with three small children.


On September 16, 1875, a hurricane hit the Indianola area, destroying almost everything in its path and drowning many persons. Among those drowned were Captain Thomas Harrison and his three small children.


Adoline was married on June 29, 1876 to Martin Reynolds. They had two sons, Edward Martin (November 27, 1877-September 19, 1942) and James Frank (September 2, 1879-January 16, 1958). She was pregnant with her third child when her husband and a friend left to purchase a new boat. Martin was carrying gold to pay for the boat. They never returned. It is not known whether they ran into a storm or were robbed and murdered at sea. Adoline gave birth to her third son, Martin, on December 30, 1882. Adoline Harrison Reynolds married second Joseph Forrestier, a lighthouse keeper on Matagorda Island. They had three daughters: Adoline Margaret (1885); Christine Mable (December 18, 1887); and Mary Josephine (October 7, 1889). Adoline died on November 10, 1900.


Historic Matagorda County, Volume 1, pages 216-217



Copyright 2009 - Present by the Harrison Family
All rights reserved

Aug. 1, 2009
Aug. 1, 2009