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Harrison, Benjamin (1806–1840)

Pat Ireland Nixon Biography Entry

Benjamin Harrison, son of President William Henry Harrison and the uncle of President Benjamin Harrison, was born at North Bend, Ohio, on September 8, 1806. He graduated in medicine, but he was more adventurer than physician. As a young man he was threatened with alcoholism and made a trip to the far Northwest with a French fur trader named Charles Larpenteur in the hope of overcoming the habit. He came to Texas about 1834 and married Mary Raney a short time later. He had previously been married to Louisa Bonner. In Texas Harrison became a man of mystery and controversy. In April 1836 he was captured by Mexican general José de Urrea, who sent him as an emissary of good will to the Texas colonists. According to Urrea's diary the mission was successful; Herman Ehrenberg, however, contended that Harrison was an impostor and that his mission to the Texans was a failure. After his release by Urrea, Harrison returned to his home in Ohio, where he died on June 17, 1840.

Hermann Ehrenberg, Texas und Seine Revolution (Leipzig: Wigand, 1843; abridged trans. by Charlotte Churchill, With Milam and Fannin, Austin: Pemberton Press, 1968). Charles Larpenteur, Forty Years a Fur Trader on the Upper Missouri (New York: Harper, 1898). Pat Ireland Nixon, The Medical Story of Early Texas, 1528–1853 (Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Lupe Memorial Fund, 1946). Antonio López de Santa Anna et al., The Mexican Side of the Texan Revolution, trans. Carlos E. Castañeda (Dallas: Turner, 1928; 2d ed., Austin: Graphic Ideas, 1970). Clarence R. Wharton, Remember Goliad (Houston: McCurdy-Young, 1931).

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

Pat Ireland Nixon, “Harrison, Benjamin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 30, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.