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African American History Forum

"William Harrison" - why was this name chosen?

I have two ancestors, one born 1874 and the other 1878, whose first and middle names were William Harrison.

This seems an unusual coincidence. One was born in Ohio to parents from Ohio and Tennessee; the other was born in Chicago to a mother from Kentucky (father unknown). I don't think these parents ever me.

I wonder whether they were named after someone famous (or named after people their parents admired who themselves had been named after someone famous).

I first thought they might have been named after the president, William Henry Harrison, but he had lived many years earlier, had had an extremely brief presidency (one month), and had been pro-slavery, so it seems he would have been an unlikely hero for the parents who chose the name "William Harrison."

From Wikipedia, I see that there was a William Harrison (1830-1895) who was a Methodist minister and author of "The Gospel among the Slaves," which the Wikipedia article describes as "the first comprehensive accounting of the religious beliefs of African American slaves in the United States." I wonder whether my ancestor might have been named after this man.

But I see that there are other William Harrison So-and-Sos from even earlier dates. Perhaps this is just a random coincidence?

Messages In This Thread

"William Harrison" - why was this name chosen?
Re: "William Harrison" - why was this name chosen?

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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