Biography of William Harrison



Kalamazoo County

Online Biographies


Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]

There is on earth no spectacle more beautiful than that of an old man, who has passed with honor through storm and contest, and retained the freshness which adorned his youth; such is a true green old age, and such an one it is a pleasure to know. There is a Southern winter in declining years where the sunlight warms, although the glare is gone.

There is still living in the town of Charleston, and its first settler William Harrison. For fifty years he has observed the momentous changes which have culminated in the present state of advancement, When he left his home In Ohio, and came to Kalamazoo County, he found a trackless wilderness. Detroit had hardly reaehed the distinction of a village. Beneath bin observation mn a grand life panorama, Kalamazoo County has been organized and developed into one of the foremost agricultural regions of Michigan. It is in keeping with the self abnegation of such men that he has retired to the background, and quietly looks on as the great and varied interests of which he helped to lay the foundation, expand and multiply and prosper.

William Harrison was born in Frederick Co., Va., Jan. 17, 1790. He is the oldest son of Judge Bazel Harrison, the first white settler of Kalamazoo County, and the most important character in its history. He can refer with pride to a long line of distinguished ancestors His paternal great-grand-father was a descendant of the General Harrison who held a commission under Cromwell.

Benjamin Harrison, father of President Harrison, who participated in the proceedings of the First Congress, and who was a signer of tbe Declaration of Independence, and an intimate friend of Washington, wan his great-uncle. His grandfather, also named William, was with Washington in Braddock's expedition, and often told his children of that awful day on the Monongahela, and the charmed life which that young Virginia colonel, who was afterwards to be so great in history, seemed to wear. His father, Judge Harrison, who may be appropriately called the father of Kalamazoo County, first settled in Prairie Ronde, in the history of’ which township an extended sketch of his life may be found. William's emigration to Michigan was one year subsequent to. that of his father, shortly after he settled in Charleston, where he was not only the first white settler, but had the honor of plowing the first furrow and raising the first crop.

The life of Mr. Harrison has been an eventful one, and marked by interesting incidents, many of which are mentioned in the town history. He is a man possessed of great strength of character and fine natural abilities. Socially be is genial and courteous, winning the regard of all with whom he comes in contact.

History of Kalamazoo County, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of its Men and Pioneers.
Everts & Abbott., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia.