Wellington County, Ontario GenWeb - Pioneer - HARRISON Family

Wellington County GenWeb

Pioneer - The HARRISON Family

Biographical Sketches of
Early Settlers of Wellington County


Information from: Historical Atlas of the County of Wellington, Ontario.
Toronto: Historical Atlas Publishing Co., 1906

HARRISON Family, The . This family from whom the prosperous town of Harriston takes its name, originated in Eng. and came to Nova Scotia when that country was first set. by the English and later found their way to York Co., Upper Canada, and set. in York Tp., when the country was a wilderness, and the present city of Toronto was a hamlet. The old homestead of 400 acres taken up by this pioneer family is owned by Christopher Harrison, a decendant. It was on this homestead that Joshua Harrison was b. in 1817; and in 1853, inheriting the pioneer spirit of his ancestors, he and his three brothers, Joseph, Archibald and George, started with ox teams, (it is said that Archibald came up first and was later followed by his brother) much of the way through the unbroken forest, from their home in York Co. to the place which they afterwards named Harriston. This was a year before the land came into the market, and outside of a few families near what is now the town line between Minto and Arthur and perhaps a stray settler or two on what is now the gravel road between Harriston and Teviotdale, there were no settlers in Minto. The Harrisons recognizing the value of the water privilege afforded by the River Maitland, at this time, pitched their tent on its banks, and there set. George Harrison built the first sawmill in 1854, and in 1856 Joshua Harrison built the first gristmill, and also had the first store in the village of Harriston.

Archibald Harrison was the first postmaster and built the first hotel, and was also the first Reeve of Minto. He gave the land for Knox Church and cemetery, also land for the first school.

The Harrisons brought considerable means with them from York Co. and were the leading men in the pioneer settlement. They took the contract for, and cut out, the Elora and Saugeen road, and in this as well as their other enterprises, gave employment to the early settlers, many of whom were sadly in need of it. They were indeed a boon to the infant settlement, and are gratefully remembered by the community at large. Joseph, Archibald and George later removed to Iowa and settled there, Joshua alone remaining. He m. Jan. 28th, 1841, Sarah Shepherd, of the old York U.E.L. pioneer family. They had four children: Mrs. James Bridgeford, Mrs. Edward Hall, Mrs. George Staiger and Thomas Harrison. The latter m. Margaret Maitland and owns and lives on the old homestead near Harriston. He is a popular and leading man in the community, and in 1904, was one of the County Commissioners.

Mrs. Joshua Harrison died in 1892, awhile her husband died the following year, age 76.

From: Historical Atlas of the County of Wellington, Ontario. Toronto:Historical Atlas Publishing Co., 1906

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