John Thomas Harrison was born on July 17, 1880 in Byers Green, England to Joseph Harrison and Sarah Jane Raisbeck. During his early childhood, he lived with his parents in Middlestone, Durham, England, according to the 1881 English Census. In 1884, at the age of 3, John immigrated with his parents and younger sister to the United States, probably on the City of of Berlin. They settled in Pennsylvania. In the 1900 Census, John was living with his parents at Benzinger Township, Elk County, Pennsylvania in 1900; his occupation was listed as a laborer.

Around 1904, John married Mary Susannah Buskirk, daughter of Thomas Aaron Buskirk and Mary Elmira Brown. For most of his life, John worked as a coal miner. John and Mary probably lived in Byrnedale, Pennsylvania for a time, because that is where their daughter Elmira was born. The family is recorded in the 1910 Census in Weedville, Pennsylvania and John is recorded as having the occupation of a miner. The Harrisons had a number of boarders in their house, which include Thomas Smart, who would marry John's sister Bessie, as well as George Diez, Charles Erickson, and John Mock. On September 12, 1918, John registered for World War I. According to the registration card, John was a miner and worked in Byrnedale, Pennsylvania. In the 1920 Census, the Harrisons still had boarders living with them, only this time they were different people: Abraham Mayes, John Filbough, George E. Boeker, Albert Meyer, Volover Andrews, and Joseph Getz.

Life changed for the Harrisons in the 1920s. John changed his occupation as a coal miner and took on the trade of a farmer. By 1930, John and Mary were living on their farm in the neighboring Fox Township. Additionally, the Harrisons no longer took in boarders as there are no boarders living with them in the 1930 Census. Additionally, John and Mary's only child, Elmira, married Martin Emil Widegren, a Swedish immigrant, on June 6, 1928. They went on to live in Jamestown, New York.

Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, the Harrisons remained on their farm in Fox Township, just south of St. Marys. On April 27, 1942, John registered for the fourth draft of World War II. He is recorded to be living in Kersey, Fox Township, Elk County, Pennsylvania where he works for Western Pennsylvania as a Timekeeper. On the card, he is described as being 5' 8" tall, about 150 pounds, brown eyes, gray hair, a light complextion, and wears glasses. Despite his registration, it is unknown if he fought in the war.

Mary died in 1945 and John continued to live in Pennsylvania. He died in 1959 in Pennsylvania. John was buried at Morningside Cemetery in DuBois, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.


Offspring of John Thomas Harrison and Mary Susannah Buskirk (1880-1945)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Elmira Sarah Harrison (1906-1994) 15 October 1906 Jay, Elk County, Pennsylvania, United States 18 February 1994 Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York, United States Martin Emil Widegren (1903-1990)



  1. 1881 British Census, Middlestone, England
  2. 1900 United States Federal Census, Belinger, Elk County, Pennsylvania.
  3. 1910 United States Federal Census, Jay, Elk County, Pennsylvania.
  4. 1920 United States Federal Census, Jay, Elk County, Pennsylvania.
  5. 1930 United States Federal Census, Fox, Elk County, Pennsylvania.
  6. World War I Registration card
  7. World War II Registration card
  8. Gravestone

Footnotes (including sources)