Clement King Harrison – my ancestor

Richard Harrison - my earliest known Harrison ancestor

Richard Harrison - my earliest known Harrison ancestor

Clement King Harrison - a sad story

Augusta Chronicle - June 13, 1807, page 3

Recently a group of about eight Harrison researchers contacted me and although it has been years since I’ve done any research on this particular branch of my family, I am “off and running” again.  The closer I become to being an ancestor, the more I want to know mine.

Clement King Harrison, my fourth great grandfather is especially intriguing.  However, when I initially discovered the above article, I was saddened.  Why did Clem Harrison murder his neighbor Thomas Critcher?  Why on earth?

The oral story of my Harrison family is (of course!) that we descend from President William Henry Harrison’s (1773-1841) ancestors.  Well, I’ve not found proof of this but the story persists.  Who knows? I’ve just not been able to find the parents of Clem Harrison’s father Richard Harrison, Sr. who died in Columbia County, Georgia – nor the maiden name of his mother Elizabeth “Betty” Harrison.

My Elusive Harrisons

One of Clement King Harrison’s sons, Matthew Richard Tyrell Harrison (1805-1893), upon graduation from West Point Military Academy, changed his name to that of his maternal grandfather, Matthew Jouett Williams.

DEPARTMENT OF WAR 8th March 1820


YOU are appointed a CADET in the service of the United States.–You will immediately notify this Department of your acceptance or non-acceptance. In face of the former, you will repair to West Point, in the state of New York, in the month of June next, and report yourself to the Superintendent of the Military Academy for examination.  If you are admitted, you will receive your Warrant, and your pay will commence from that date.

Unless you punctually obey this order, or render satisfactory reasons for delay, your appointment will be recalled.

J. C. Calhoun
Secretary of War

Cadet, Matt. R. T. Harrison

Qualifications necessary for admission.
Each cadet, previous to his being admitted a member of the Military Academy, must be able to read distinctly and pronounce correctly; to write a fair legible hand, and to perform, with facility and accuracy, the various operations of the ground rules of arithmetic, both simple and compound; of the rules of reduction; of single and compound proportion; and also of vulgar and decimal fractions; ages from 14 to 20 years.

Care of Thos. W. Williams
Elbert County, Georgia

Matthew R. T. Harrison as Matthew Jouett Williams married Martha Sarah Devant (1813-1883), daughter of James Davant (or Devant) born 1783 and died 1859 and Mary Whaley.  James Davant was the son of James Davant, Sr. (1744-1803) and Lydia Page.

James Davant Sr. Notes:

When James Davant died in 1803 his will left Lot 33 of Bayley’s Barony, well known as Possum Point, to his daughter Lydia. But the heiress had already been married on Lot 22 at the head of Broad Creek, next door to her sister Rebecca, calling it Marshlands Plantation. Following the 1816 death of Thomas Webb, Lydia and her eldest son, Samuel, operated the plantation until after 1820 when their neighbor, William Fripp Chaplin of Chaplin Plantation, added the 400 acres of Marshlands to his holdings. At the confiscation by the federal government, both plantations were distributed to ex-slaves and were not redeemable.
Peeples, An Index to Hilton Head Island Names (Before the Contemporary Development), p.26

Matthew R. T.  Harrison changed his name:


To alter and change the name of Matthew R. T. Harrison to that of Matthew Jouett Williams.

Be it exacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Georgia in General Assembly met, and it is hereby the authority of the same, That from and immediately after the passing of this Act the name of Matthew R. T. Harrison of Elbert County, be and of the same is hereby altered and changed to that of Matthew Jouett Williams.

SFC2.  And be it further enacted, that nothing therein contained shall be so construed as to prevent the said Matthew Jouett Williams from receiving or recovering any property to which he was entitled previous to the passage of this act, any law, resolution, or decision to the contrary notwithstanding.

Speaker of the House of Representatives

President of the Senate

Assented to June 11, 1825
G. M. TROUP, Governor


About hopeseguin

Who am I? I'm still discovering just who I am, I suppose. A. Powell Davis writes that "Life is just a chance to grow a soul."

Posted on June 18, 2009, in genealogy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Just browsin’

  2. Steven Davant Mull

    Greetings cousin!

    Matthew’s portrait, along with his wife, my ggg aunt Martha Davant Williams hung in my dining room until I gave them to the Old Salem Museum in North Carolina. (Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.) Martha was the cover girl of their bi-annual magazine, and Matt’s portrait is contained within.

    It was on the internet, but I can’t find it now. But the pics are available.


    Steven Davant Mull
    325 Fordham Rd.
    Manhattan, KS 66503

    • We corresponded briefly several years ago, Steven and you were so kind to introduce me to your mom who sent a copy of the magazine that contained these photos. I was (and am) so grateful . . . and now, in my dotage, I ‘connected’ with Marolyn again on – Glory Be – Facebook!

      I didn’t have the link . . . and appreciate you sending it!

      Happy New Year! [and thanks again . . .]

  1. Pingback: My Harrison Heritage « Aimless musings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: