Thursday, April 11, 2013

William Harrison's Farm: Finding The Original Homestead Of My Great-Great-Grandfather

Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

The above photos are recent pictures (taken April 2013) of some of the original farm land owned by my great-great-grandfather William Harrison, circa 1853 to 1896 in Maries County, Missouri.  The photos were taken by my distant cousin, T. Cadenbach, who shares some Harrison ancestry with me and still lives in the general vicinity of our Missouri roots.

William Harrison's Land Patent:

 In 1853,  my ancestor William patented 40 acres in Section 20, Township 39-N, Range 7-W, 5th Meridian, Maries County, Missouri.  He later added to this land, and his brothers Lewis and Tyree Harrison owned adjacent farm lands and acreage.  With the help of a plotting tool utilized through Google Earth, and the legal description coordinates from the original land deeds, we were able to pinpoint the exact location of the original farms of these three Harrison brothers, as shown below. 
My cousin has recently met the current owner's of my ancestor's original acreage, who gave their permission for photos and further exploration.   The acreage is kept in immaculate condition by the current owners, and is still undeveloped rural farm-ranch acreage, much as it was back in my ancestor's time. The difference would be that the land is now far less forested.  Though many beautiful trees do remain, in my ancestor's era most forested acreage was cleared for planting of crops,  as well as later to sell the wood for railroad ties to the Frisco Railway. There is a large modern home now inhabited by the current owners.  However, remnants of historic buildings and foundations still remain, to be further explored and documented.  One of the brothers of my ancestor, Lewis Harrison, deeded part of his land that encompassed the Harrison family cemetery for the formation of what is now known as Rock Spring Cemetery. It is there that many of our Harrison ancestors and kin are buried.  We believe it may be the final resting place of our mysterious Brick Wall ancestor, the "Widow" Harrison and possibly her husband (parents of William, Lewis, and Tyree Harrison and their sisters) who may rest there in now unmarked graves.

Below is William's farm is it looks today (2013):
Below is William's farm, the only known photo of the old original old farmhouse, taken circa 1883.