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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1400~



Photos in original publication


Among the men who have lived in Fayette county in recent years, few have left behind them a more commendable record than the late George W. Harrison, a man to respect and admire for his worthy character, and his influence will long be felt.


Mr. Harrison was born near West Union, November 20, 1857. During his youth he taught several terms of school, having received his education in the common schools and in the Upper Iowa University. In his student days he exhibited those rare qualities of leadership which characterized him all through life. He must have inherited some of these traits from his ancestors, for one has a monument erected to his memory as a great general ; Nansen, the Arctic explorer, was a cousin of his father, C. C. Harrison, who went to California with the gold hunters of 1849. The son also was always ready to shoulder difficult things. Nothing seemed too hard or too big for him to undertake.


When George W. Harrison was twenty-one years of age he went to western Iowa, settling in the southeastern part of Cherokee county, where he lived an active and useful business, political and social life. On April 4, 1883, Mr. Harrison married Elma Frances Hall. This union was blessed by seven children, four sons and three daughters. All survived him by a brief six days, when his youngest son, George W., Jr., was called to follow him.


Mr. Harrison was a very successful business man, exercising soundness of judgment and executive ability of a high order. He had the confidence of all who knew him, for he was scrupulously honest. His place was always kept in a neat and up to date manner and was a model which called forth the admiration of all who saw it. On Thursday, May 16, 1907, Mr. Harrison met with a peculiar accident while carrying a roll of check-row wire down a flight of stairs. Slipping, he dropped the reel, driving one of the prongs into his foot. The accident was at first thought little of, but soon alarming symptoms of blood poisoning set in, which caused his death on June 1st, following, at the age of forty-nine years, six months and eleven days. The funeral was held at the farm residence, conducted by Rev. Mr. Allen, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church at Pierson, Iowa, citizens for many miles around attending the services, and he now rests in the cemetery which is but a few rods from his home. Among those who survive him are C. C. Harrison and Misses Libbie and Carrie Harrison, brother and sisters.


Mr. Harrison was a man beloved in the community where he lived for nearly twenty years. He took an abiding interest in public affairs and held a number of offices of trust and responsibility, to the satisfaction of all concerned. He was widely known in his chosen vocation as stock man. He loved the freedom of the farm. Delighting in good stock, his pastures and yards were all well filled with a good grade of well-cared-for stock of various kinds. While inclined to be radical in his views, his teachings were always of a strictly moral, temperate and uplifting nature. He was independent in his views, thinking for himself regardless of the opinions of others, being a leader and not a follower. He was particularly active in temperance work and under his presidency the local organization was unusually popular and efficient. What he did for the cause of temperance, the church, the local cemetery, the schools, the farmers’ institute and for good roads will be a lasting monument to his memory.


George W. Harrison, Jr., mentioned above, son of the late George W., Sr., and Elma Frances Harrison, was born in Grand Meadow township, Cherokee county, Iowa, April 14, 1891, and died June 7, 1907, as previously mentioned, dying in the very room and house where he was born, being then sixteen years, one month and twenty-four days old.

Georgie, as he was familiarly called, was a quiet, industrious, home-loving boy, preferring the companionship of the family to that of any other. He was a great reader of good books and was very fond of reading the Bible and books of religious teaching. His inclination was for study rather than that of farming. He was ambitious to obtain a good education and to honorably occupy some position of prominence, and had he lived, no doubt these would have been fully realized. On June 4, 1907, he was seized with acute appendicitis, which resulted in his death three days later, physicians attributing his rapid decline, if not his death, to grief over the death of his father. In his last hours he was happy and hopeful, and seemed to have a glimpse of the heavenly home beyond. He spoke of seeing a great multitude of people in a most beautiful place and among them his own father, who had so recently preceded him. Repeatedly he said, "I am so happy," and seemed conscious that he must die, bidding each good-by, one by one, patiently bearing his affliction as had his father before him, and departed smiling, and without a tear. Every word he spoke, during his last hours, was of cheer and comfort. Shortly before his death he said to his brothers, "On the roof, just over my bed, is a white dove, go out and see." They went, came back, and said, "Yes, Georgie, there is a white dove sitting on the roof. "Then, he added, "I am going to die." He called his relatives into his room, and for an hour talked, as young people rarely do when waiting for the "tide that bears us across the bar," saying among other things, "You must promise me you will not cry, because I am leaving this world for a place so beautiful, so pure."

The funeral services were a reproduction of those of his father a few days before, in that they were held in the home, conducted by the same pastor, and the same arrangements and hour were as on the previous occasion, and although the rain came down in torrents there was a large audience of mourners as the remains were laid to rest beside his father. In his case the line from the famous old Latin poet, "Whom the gods love, die early," is applicable, also a later line, "Perhaps ‘tis best as twas willed to be--God knows.


~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Judy Boie


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