Isaiah "The Emigrant" Harrison, Sr.

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Isaiah "The Emigrant" Harrison, Sr.

Birthplace: Chester, Cheshire, England
Death: Died in Shenandoah County, Province of Virginia
Place of Burial: Shenandoah County, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Husband of elizabeth wright; Elizabeth Harrison and Abigail Harrison
Father of elizabeth lydia harrison; Isaiah Harrison, Jr.; John Harrison, Sr.; Gideon Harrison; Mary Cravens and 6 others

Managed by: Carol Ann Selis
Last Updated:

About Isaiah "The Emigrant" Harrison, Sr.

Isaiah Harrison, as a refugee from Dublin, sailed from Chester or nearby Liverpool, Eng, on the ship "Spotted Calf" in 1687. Landing first at Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY. As was the custom boys of genteel families and younger sons of noble families were trained to some trade, he was a blacksmith. His full signature appears on all deeds and papers at Oyster Bay, evidence that he had been taught to write in his youth.

A freeholder in Oyster Bay Town records Jan 2, 1687. Purchase of 100 acres at Suckscalls" Wigam from John Wright, his first wife's cousin, Jan 16, 1688 for sixty pounds current money of NY. The land was part of the general purchase from the Matenacocke Indians made Jan 9, 1685. Suckscall was an Indian Chief and his Wigwarm was located at what is now known as Brookville (Wolver Hollow), Long Island. Isaiah was the first white man to live on the site. Recorded in Book "B" of the Ancient Town Book of Oyster Bay Jan 2, 1687

Apr 20, 1702 sale of Oyster Bay land recorded , purchase of land at Smithtown from William Lawrence, 500 acres Suffolk Co, NY . Jun 12 1721 sold to Amos Willitts, and purchased 900 acres in Sussex Co, Delaware. "Maiden Plantation". Deeded to sons, Daniel, Thomas, & Jeremiah, 250 acres each.

Sold May 7, 1736. With the exception of Elizabeth & Gideon (who had died), He departed for Virginia with a party of sixteen. He arr. in what is now Alexandria, VA, crossed the Blue Ridge at Thornton's Gap. For two years they surveyed the area and camped in Page County by the "Whitehouse" where Isaiah died in 1738. The Harrisons then followed the South Fork of the Shenandoah River father south into the the Valley in the present vicinity of Harrisonburg, VA, in 1738.

Other early settlers included the Cravens, Smiths, Herrings, and Lincolns. Paraphased from House of Cravens.

Alexander Herring, Senior, died while residing in Delaware?. Isaiah died in VA and is buried on the east side of the Massanutten mountains. Isaiah Jr. went first to the Carolinas before joining his family later in VA . All of the Harrisons were settled in the vicinity of what is now Harrisonburg, Virginia which was Augusta county at that time all chosing land with springs and good farming land.

House of Cravens: 5 brothers from Delaware are John, Daniel, Thomas, Jeremiah and Samuel the first to locate in Rockingham Co, VA. Later Isaiah, Jr, and Mary, the eldest dau md to Robt Cravens, Sr came. All of Isaiah's living descendants settled here. Thomas named the present Harrisonburg town.

A tradition exist in the descendant families to the effect that Pres. Wm Henry Harrison and his grandson, Pres. Benj Harrison were descendants of Isaiah Harrison. No reliable evidence confirming such tradition has been found. J. Houston Harrison had heard of the same tradition, and devoted considerable research in that connection, his findings failed to substantiate the tradition. Those Harrison families were descendants of Harrisons who settled early in Eastern Virginia, and were known as the James River branch of Harrisons. It is quite possible, however that there may have been some distant relationship between them and Rev. Thomas Harrison, the probable father of Isaiah Harrison.


From The Will of Thomas Harrison, D.D.

Ever since I started researching my genealogy and eventually discovered I was descended from Isaiah Harrison of Oyster Bay, I have been interested in finding out who his ancestors were. In Settlers by the Long Grey Trail J. Houston Harrison says: "the only apparent reasonable explanation lies in the conclusion that the father of the immigrant was Thomas Harrison, D.D." However, his conclusion is based on a series of possibilities and coincidences. There is no birth record for Isaiah, although many sites list his birthday as 25 September 1666 (for who knows what reason!). No record of his passage to America. No record of anything.

Dr. Thomas Harrison died in 1682 in Dublin, but his will was lost in the Four Courts fire in June 1922. I've always thought that somebody, sometime, would have made notes or a copy during the 240 years between when the will was filed and when it was destroyed, or that a birth or christening record or mention in some other obscure contemporary document might show up.

Recently I did a Google search on Dr. Thomas and came across an article by Francis Burton Harrison in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 53, No. 4 (Oct., 1945), pp. 302-311, that not only includes an abstract of the will but also a reference to the location of a certified copy at the Virginia Historical Society. The copy had been ordered by Charles Penrose Keith (1854-1939) in 1899 and donated to the Society in 1932.

There is no mention of Isaiah, or any other son, in Dr. Thomas Harrison's will. While this does not prove absolutely that Thomas had no sons who survived him, it reduces the possibility to a matter of wishful thinking.


Based on the fact that no sons are mentioned in the 1682 will of Thomas Harrison, D.D., he has been disconnected as father of Isaiah on 6 Sept 2015.

Isaiah is the 7th great grandfather of Elvis Presley.


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Isaiah "The Emigrant" Harrison, Sr.'s Timeline

September 25, 1666
Chester, Cheshire, England
September 25, 1666
St Peters Church-Chester, Chester, England, Great Britain
Age 21
September 27, 1689
Age 23
Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY
September 25, 1691
Age 25
Oyster Bay, Long Island, Nassau Co., NY
June 25, 1694
Age 27
Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY
May 25, 1696
Age 29
Oyster Bay, Nassau County, New York, United States
March 30, 1698
Age 31
New York, New York County, New York, United States
Age 31
Oyster Bay, Nassau County, New York
Age 33
Huntington(?), Long Island, NY