Dilsia (a slave)

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Dilsia (a slave)

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Mother of Dilsia Harrison

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About Dilsia (a slave)

In 1795 Harrison met Anna Symmes, of North Bend, Ohio. She was the daughter of Judge John Cleves Symmes, a prominent figure in the state, and former representative to the Congress of the Confederation.[2] When Harrison asked the judge for permission to marry Anna, he was refused. Harrison waited until Symmes left on business, then he and Anna eloped and married on November 25, 1795.[11] Afterward, concerned about Harrison's ability to provide for Anna, Symmes sold the young couple 160 acres (65 ha) of land in North Bend.[12]


Together they had 10 children. Nine lived into adulthood and one died in infancy. Anna was frequently in poor health during the marriage, primarily due to her many pregnancies.[13] Nevertheless, she outlived William by 23 years, dying at age 88 on February 25, 1864.


Harrison is also believed to have had six children with one of his female slaves, Dilsia. When he ran for president he did not want "bastard slave children" around, so he gave four of his children to his brother, who sold them to a Georgia planter. Through this family line, Harrison is the great-grandfather of famous black civil rights activist Walter Francis White. White was the president of the NAACP from 1931–1955.[14]