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Benjamin Harrison and Mary Stringer

Benjamin Harrison.
Born about 1600 (S1,S4), possibly in St. Giles, Northamptonshire, England (S4); son of (Richard Harrison and Margaret Pilkington-S3)(Thomas Harrison and Elizabeth Bernard-Wikipedia.com).

There has been a long held belief that the Harrisons are the descendents of Thomas Harrison, the regicide general who served under Oliver Cromwell, and was executed by King Charles II upon his return to power. According to this tradition, Thomas Harrison's family fled to Jamestown after his execution in order to escape further persecution, with Benjamin Harrison (I) carrying on the family name. However, a closer look at what we know of these two individuals makes this connection impossible. First of all Thomas Harrison was born in 1616, only a decade and a half before Benjamin Harrison (I) arrived in Jamestown. Furthermore, at the time of his execution in 1660 for his part in the death of King Charles I, Thomas Harrison had no living children. The burial register of St. Anne’s Cathedral in London records the death of each of his three sons, each having died well before his own death. Thus, Thomas Harrison simply could not have been the father of Benjamin Harrison (I). Although I (S4 author) have not been able to check the primary sources myself, the relevant secondary sources for this early historical information include J. B. Boddie, Historical Southern Families (Vol. 5) (Redwood City, CA, 1960, pp. 71-76; Stella Pickett Hardy, Colonial Families of the Southern States of America (Baltimore, 1968, pp. 282-296. For more, see C.H. Firth, "Memoir of Major-General Thomas Harrison," American Antiquarian Society 8 (1893): 390-464; C. H. Simpkinson, Thomas Harrison: Regicide and Major-General (London, 1905); M. Ashley, Cromwell’s Generals (London, 1954) especially pp. 83-97 and 223-226; and also C.V. Wedgwood, The Trial of Charles I (London, 1964). (S4).

Benjamin emigrated in 1631 from England to Surry County, Virginia. (S1).

He married Mary Stringer. (S1).

At one time he received 50 acres as a right of a freeman, which he later sold to Thomas Davis. [Patent Book 2, p. 71]. (S3).

He was clerk of the Council of Virginia (by 15 March 1633-1634 when he signed a document in that capacity-S3,S4)(from 1636 to 1640-S1).

On (6 or 7-S4)(7-S3) July 1635 he (was granted by the governor-S3)(purchased-S4) two hundred acres of land on "Warrisquake" (Warrosquyoake-S3)(Watrosquivake-S4) Creek in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. He apparently did not reside there. (S4).

On 18 May 1637 he was granted six hundred acres in James City County at Sandy Point on Chippokes Creek. (S3,S4).

He was elected to the House of Burgesses in 1642. (S3,S4).

He received 500 acres in James City on 21 March 1643-1644. [Patent Book 1, pp. 207, 420, 949]. (S3).

He also purchased 500 acres on the south side of the James River in Southwark Parrish, Surry County. where his children were born. One of Benjamin's neighbors was Richard Bennett, Esquire. After the death of Benjamin, Mr. Bennett apparently had aquired this land, since he sold the land to Francis Jordan. (S3).

Benjamin died (in 1648-S4)(in 1648-1649-S1), probably in Wakefield, Surry County, Virginia. (S4).

Mary Stringer.
Born in 1596. (S4).

She died in 1687. (S4).

She married (1) Benjamin Harrison. (S1, S4)

She married (2) Benjamin Sidway. (S2,S3).

Will of Mary Sidway, dated 1 March 1687-1688 (S2) [Surry Co. Wills, Deeds, Etc. 4, 1687-94, p. 41] (S3):
" Item. I give and bequeath unto my Grand Daughter, Hannah Harrison, the horse colt that sucks on the black mare.
"I tem. I give and bequeath unto John Kersey, one yearling hepher. And for the rest of my estate my will is after my just debts paid that it be equally divided between my two sons, Benjamin Harrison, and Thomas Sidway, whom I do make my executors, to see this my will performed."
The will was witnessed by Lyddeia Norwood and Sam'l Alsebrook, who proved it on May 29, 1688.

CHILDREN of Benjamin Harrison and Mary Stringer:
  1. Benjamin Harrison. Born on 20 September 1645 in Southwark Parish, Surry County, Virginia. (S4). He married Hannah Churchill. (S4). He died on 30 January (1711-1712-S4)(1712-1713-S1) at Cabin Point, Surry County, Virginia. (S4).
  2. Peter Harrison. Born about 1647. (S4). Peter Harrison, son of Benjamin and Mary Harrison, as “Peter Harrison, orphan of Benjamin Harrison, deceased,” received from his stepfather Benjamin Sidway a tract of land in 1652. A patent of 1655 describes Capt. Sidway as “father-in-law to Peter Harrison, son of Benjamin Harrison dec’d & heir …” [Surry Co. Wills, Deeds, Etc. 4, 1687-94, p. 18]. He died before 1 March 1686-1687. (S4). (no issue).

CHILDREN of Benjamin Sidway and Mary Stringer:
  1. Thomas Sidway. Benjamin Harrison [II] witnessed the 1694-will of his half-brother Thomas Sidway. [Surry Co. Wills, Deeds, Etc. 5, 1694-1709, p. 79] (S3).