Harrison, George W. (IL State Senator)

Born: 1803-04-23 Virginia

Flourished: Galena, Illinois

A surveyor by trade, Harrison spent the years between 1832 and 1835 surveying portions of the Michigan Territory that would eventually become Wisconsin. He then settled in Galena, Illinois. In January 1838, Harrison became one of the vice presidents of the newly-organized Galena Temperance Society. In the state elections in August 1838, Harrison won a seat as a Whig to the Illinois Senate representing Jo Daviess, Rock Island, Stephenson, Winnebago, Ogle, Mercer, and Boone counties. In March 1839, he married Anna Eliza Morrison, daughter of Elijah C. Berry. Harrison obtained a contract in the fall of 1839 to survey parts of Cook and Lake counties. He obtained subsequent contracts in 1840 and 1842. He later surveyed the town site of Dubuque, Iowa. In 1840, voters reelected Harrison to the Senate, representing Jo Daviess, Rock Island, Stephenson, Ogle, Mercer, Whiteside, Winnebago, Boone, Carroll, and Lee counties. Voters again reelected him in 1842 and 1844 to represent Jo Daviess, Stephenson, and Carroll counties. In 1849, he joined the Gold Rush to California, and wrote to his wife of his safe arrival in San Francisco. She apparently never heard from him again.

The History of Jo Daviess County, Illinois (Chicago: H. F. Kett, 1878), 477-78; Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 311, 350; Illinois Senate Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 4; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 3; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 206, 208, 210, 212; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Fayette County, 6 March 1839, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; David C. Clark, “The Surveyors Surveyed: Investigations of Bias in General Land Office Surveyor Data for Northeastern Illinois, 1837-1840” (MA thesis, Northeastern Illinois University, 2000), 23-26.