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Harrison, William Kelly (1870–1928)

Art Leatherwood Biography Entry

William Kelly Harrison, Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Waco, Texas, on July 30, 1870. He entered the United States Naval Academy on May 28, 1885, was commissioned ensign on July 1, 1891, lieutenant on March 5, 1899, and commander on January 14, 1911. On April 20, 1914, Congress authorized the occupation of Veracruz, Mexico, to "obtain the fullest recognition of the rights and dignity of the United States." On the night of April 21 Commander Harrison distinguished himself by bringing his ship into the inner harbor without the assistance of a pilot or navigational aids. He had his ship in position on the morning of the twenty-second to use his guns with telling effect. Harrison retired from the navy in 1918. In 1928 he was living in San Diego, California, where he died on August 15, 1928.

Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863–1973 (Washington: GPO, 1973).

Time Periods:

  • Progressive Era

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

Art Leatherwood, “Harrison, William Kelly,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 22, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.