Berkeley County, West Virginia Biography of Peyton R. HARRISON III


         Peyton R. HARRISON III was the son of Lieutenant Peyton R. Harrison II of Company D, “Berkeley Border Guards,” Confederate Army, who was killed in the first battle of Manassas, July 21, 1861, when Peyton R. III was just 2 years old. After the close of the Civil War, his mother, Sarah F. Harrison, in conjunction with Miss Betty J. Hunter, established the Norbourn Female Seminary at the old Norbourn Hall, then situated on West Race Street where the Harrison property was in the early 1900’s.

         Peyton Harrison III was educated at the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, Virginia; was mayor of Martinsburg, Berkeley County, West Virginia, two terms; elected Magistrate of Martinsburg at Cleveland’s first election, and re-elected in 1924; appointed and continued to hold the office of Secretary of the Board of Education of Arden District for 14 years. He was married twice — his first wife was Miss Lilian Gorham of Rockford, Illinois, and his second wife was Mrs. Nannie Spottswood Boyd, daughter of E. Holmes Boyd of Winchester, Virginia, and granddaughter of General Elisha Boyd of “Boydville.”

         As of 1928, there were four Peyton R. Harrisons in direct line of descent – Peyton R. Harrison I, a Presbyterian minister, Martinsburg; Peyton R. Harrison II, attorney, Lieutenant in the Confederate Army, killed in action at the First Battle of Manassas, July 21, 1861, Civil War; Peyton R. Harrison III, subject of this sketch; and Peyton R. Harrison IV, student at Washington and Lee University of Virginia, law and literature (as of 1928). The members of the Peyton R. Harrison family were Confederates and lived in the property (Norbourn Hall) owned by James L. Randolph, who was a relative of theirs and a Union man. That way, their home during the Civil War was free from destruction by fire or any other means by either army.


    Submitted by Marilyn Gouge and extracted from History of Berkeley County, West Virginia, 1928

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