Russell Benjamin Harrison

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Russell Benjamin Harrison

Birthplace: Oxford, Butler County, Ohio, United States
Death: December 13, 1936 (82)
Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the USA and Caroline Lavinia Harrison
Husband of Mary (May) Angeline Harrison
Father of Marthena Harrison; William H. Harrison, U.S. Congress and Walton Harrison
Brother of Mary Scott McKee and nn Harrison
Half brother of Elizabeth Walker

Managed by: James Hutchison
Last Updated:

About Russell Benjamin Harrison

Russell B. Harrison, the son of Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States, and his first wife, Caroline Scott Harrison, was born in Oxford, Butler County Ohio, on 12 August 1854. He graduated from Pennsylvania Military Academy, Chester, PA, and in 1877 from Lafayette College, Easton, PA, where he specialized in mining and engineering. Russell Harrison's first public appearance was in 1878, when he represented his family in announcing to the press that the body of his grandfather, John Scott Harrison (son of President William Henry Harrison) had been stolen from its grave and had just been discovered hanging by the neck in a well at Ohio Medical College, ready for dissection. Shortly after this, Harrison moved to Helena, Montana; where he ran the U.S. Assay Office from 1878 to 1885, and was credited with giving valuable assistance to Secretary of the Treasury John Sherman in resuming specie payments on greenbacks in 1879. At the same time, he engaged in "some ill-conceived ventures in cattle and mining enterprises" which "resulted in catastrophe" in 1886. A major scandal was averted by the intervention of his father, who found Russell's penchant for speculation a great source of worry and concern. On 10 January 1884 he married Mary A. Saunders, daughter of Alvin Saunders, who had been Territorial Governor of Nebraska under President Lincoln and Senator from Nebraska (1877-1883). They had two children William Henry and Marthena. By the mid 1880's Russell Harrison was spending part of his time in New York, partly for his business interests, partly to participate in the direction of Judge and of Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. In 1890 he acquired ownership of the Helena Daily Journal. In the same period he was involved in projects concerning the Austin and Northwestern Railway in Texas, the street railways in Richmond and Muncie, Indiana, and land in Montana. He was also secretary of the Montana Stock Growers Association, and participated in his father's presidential campaigns of 1888 and 1892. During his father's presidency he made some memorable appearances in the press, the most notable being his arrest in a suit for libel brought by John Schuyler Crosby, former Territorial Governor of Montana, a month after his father's inauguration. In 1892 he made a remark concerning the mental condition of James G. Blaine, his father's Secretary of State and rival for the 1892 presidential nomination, which caused a furor. During the mid-1890's he seems to have been involved in his Helena newspaper and in studying the law, eventually passing his bar examination, and was president of the Terre Haute Electric Railway Company, ca. 1894-1897. When war broke out with Spain, he volunteered, was commissioned a major on the staff of Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, and eventually was made inspector general of Puerto Rico, with the rank of colonel. After the Spanish-American War he practiced law in Indianapolis, with offices at various times in the Newton Claypool Building, the Bankers Trust Building, and at 39 East Ohio Street. He separated from his wife and lived at the Columbia Club and then the Denison Hotel. From 1908 to 1927 he served as consul for Mexico; from 1919 to 1927 as consul for Portugal. Long a supporter of the Republican party, he personally entered politics in 1921, serving a term in the Indiana legislature and two terms in the State Senate. In both bodies he became chairman of the judiciary committee. During an investigation in 1927, he claimed that money to buy six gold medals for past commanders of the Indiana Department of Spanish-American War Veterans had been improperly assessed; he was cited for court-martial for malicious slander by the national body of the organization, but was exonerated. He died in Indianapolis of heart trouble on 13 December 1936. Sources: A Biographical Directory of the Indiana General Assembly, Vol. 2. Obituary in Indiana Biographical Series, vol. 16, pp. 58-59. Sievers, Harry J. Benjamin Harrison (Indianapolis, Bobbs Merrill, 1952-1968). Dunn, Jacob Piatt, Greater Indianapolis (Chicago, Lewis Publishing Co., 1910) Indianapolis city directories, 1900-1930 _________________________________________

Russell Benjamin Harrison (August 12, 1854–December 13, 1936), also known as Russell Lord Harrison, was the son of United States President Benjamin Harrison and Caroline Harrison, and great grandson of United States President William Henry Harrison.[1]

Born in Oxford, Ohio, Harrison grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana where his father had a successful law practice. Harrison graduated from the Pennsylvania Military Academy and in 1877 graduated from Lafayette College where he took courses in mining and engineering. In 1878, his grandfather John Scott Harrison was exhumed from his grave and hung by his neck in tree near the Ohio Medical College. Harrison oversaw communication with newspapers during the incident.[2] At the end of 1878 he moved to Helena, Montana where he took a job in the U.S. Assay Office with the help of his father who was then a United States Senator. During his time there, he met and married Mary Saunders, the daughter of Governor Alvin Saunders on January 10, 1884. The couple had two children, William Henry and Marthena. In 1885 the family moved to briefly to New York City, but had returned to Montana by 1890 when Harrison purchased the Helena Daily Journal. He became estranged from his father following his father's remarriage to a much younger woman, Mary Scott Lord Dimmick, but inherited a large part of his estate when he died in 1901.[2]

Using the wealth, he invested in the Austin and Northwestern Railway, public transportation systems in Richmond and Muncie, Indiana, and engaged in land speculation in Montana. In 1894, Harrison moved to Terre Haute, Indiana as president of the Terre Haute Street Railway Company, which he reorganized into the Terre Haute Electric Street Railway Company. His son William was born in Terre Haute in 1896. During the late 1890s, he was admitted to the bar. With the outbreak of the Spanish-American War he enlisted for service and was given the rank of major. He served in the force that occupied Puerto Rico and later became inspector general of Puerto Rico. When the war ended he moved his family to Indianapolis where he setup a law office.[2]

In 1908 he returned to public service, serving as consul to Mexico until 1927, and doubling as the consul to Portugal from 1919 to 1927. He first entered politics in 1921, serving two two-year terms in the Indiana House of Representatives. In 1925 he was elected to the Indiana State Senate where he served two four year terms. He died of a heart attack in Indianapolis on December 13, 1936

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Russell Benjamin Harrison's Timeline

August 12, 1854
Oxford, Butler County, Ohio, United States

"Benjamin Harrison Hoosier Warrior"

Ben's happy turn in fortune came none too soon. At Oxford,
Ohio, on Saturday, August 12, 1854 just eight days before Ben's
twenty-first birthday Carrie gave birth to a boy. They named
him Russell. Congress had recessed, and John Scott Harrison
was at home resting when the news of Russell's birth came. In
his own quiet way he rose to the occasion and honored the proud
parents with a significantly beautiful letter. Part of his epistle
was directed to Ben:

'You now stand, my dear son, in a new relation in life a relation
that will be attended with new joys and also new cares and responsi-
bilitiesthat the former may outnumber the latter I hope with all my
heart. And yet my experience tells me that life is very much of a
mixed draught in which the bitter and the sweet are pretty fairly
or at least equally contributed afflictions, sometimes bring joys and
again, joys afflictions, and so we are all never perfectly happy, and
never so miserable, that hope does not spread a small ray on the sur-
rounding darkness.'

And to Carrie he sent warmest congratulations and love; he asked
Ben to tell her that:

'I wish her all of a young mother's joy. I will not say without a
young mother's anxiety, for I believe in that very anxiety is entwined
her pleasure and her joy but I will say that T hope she may escape
those many little pains and annoyances which so often afflict a young

. . .
The child was named after Russell Farnura Lord who had married Carrie's
older sister, Elizabeth. They were married in 1849 and made their home in Honesdale. -- Indianapolis News, Dec. 10, 1889.

January 18, 1888
NE, United States
August 10, 1896
Terre Haute, Vigo, IN, United States
December 13, 1936
Age 82
Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, United States