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HARRISON, ROBERT HENRY

HARRISON, ROBERT HENRY (1826–1905). Robert Henry Harrison, son of Jesse and Margaret (Hulce) Harrison, was born at Gainesville, Georgia, on November 13, 1826. The family moved to Tennessee in 1829. Harrison studied medicine in his father's infirmary, at a medical college in Cincinnati, Ohio, and at Mobile Medical College in Alabama. He practiced and taught medicine in Tennessee from 1846 to the mid-1850s. On May 5, 1855, he married Martha Virginia Towell at Covington, Tennessee. He moved to Shelby County, Tennessee, where he became a merchant and opened mills, which he operated until April 1861, when he organized an artillery company for the Confederate Army. During the Civil War he was captured and imprisoned for twenty-one months before being exchanged and promoted to colonel. After discharge in June 1865 he found his mills destroyed and moved to Newton County, Tennessee. In 1869 Harrison settled on property near Columbus, Texas. He returned to Mobile, Alabama, for additional medical training in 1873 and then resumed the practice of medicine at Columbus. He was vice president of the Texas Medical Association in 1875 and president in 1876–77. From 1880 to 1886 he was medical director and chief surgeon at the hospital operated by the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway (later Southern Pacific) at Columbus, which treated 800 patients a year from throughout southern Texas. At the time of the Galveston hurricane of 1900 he set up a temporary hospital in the city hall to repay aid that Galveston had sent him during a yellow fever epidemic at Columbus in 1873. Harrison contributed professional articles to the Memphis Medical Journal and to the Transactions of the State Medical Association. His horse-raising enterprise at his Beacon Hill Blood Stock Farm near Columbus was one of the most productive businesses in the county. The 2,000-acre farm was equipped with some of the finest stables and training facilities in the state, including a 200-acre racetrack complex. He and his wife had six children, one of whom, Robert Henry, Jr., graduated from the Medical College of Cincinnati and practiced medicine in Texas. Harrison died at Columbus on October 7, 1905, and was buried there.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Colorado County Historical Commission, Colorado County Chronicles from the Beginning to 1923 (2 vols., Austin: Nortex, 1986). Mary Hinton, Weimar, Texas: First 100 Years, 1873–1973 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1973). Memorial and Genealogical Record of Southwest Texas (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1894; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). George Plunkett [Mrs. S. C.] Red, The Medicine Man in Texas (Houston, 1930).

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

"HARRISON, ROBERT HENRY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhaae), accessed October 01, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.