Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Caroline Scott Harrison 1832 ~ 1892


Caroline Scott Harrison

Mrs. Harrison was among the most highly educated and accomplished women who ever occupied the White House. Caroline Scott Harrison was born in Oxford, Ohio, October 1, 1832. Mrs. Harrison's ancestors were Scotch, immigrating to America and settling in the Valley of Neshaminy, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where the village of Hartsville now stands, twenty miles north of Philadelphia. At this place Reverend William Tennent, in 1726, founded the historic Log Collie, which was the original of Princeton College. Mrs. Harrison's great-grandfather, John Scott, son of the founder of the family in this country, took up his residence in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, and purchased land opposite Belvidere, New Jersey, which is still known as the Scott Farm. During the Revolutionary War he was a quartermaster in the Pennsylvania line. His brother, Matthew Scott, after serving as Captain in the army, moved to Kentucky. Mrs. Harrison's grandfather, Reverend George McElroy Scott, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1793, and studied theology with the President of Princeton College, Reverend Stanhope Smith. His first charge was Mill Creek Church, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, the first Presbyterian Church of that locality. He occupied the pulpit in 1799. Her father. Dr. John W. Scott, was born in 1800, while his father was pastor of the Mill Creek Church. Descending from an educated ancestry, Mrs. Harrison had superior educational advantages early in life. She graduated in 1852 from Oxford, Ohio, Female Seminary. Benjamin Harrison, her future husband, took his degree at Oxford University in the same town. They were engaged at the time of their graduation, but Mrs. Harrison taught music in Carrollton, Kentucky, for one year before her marriage October 20, 1853, and removed to Indianapolis, Indiana. When the Civil War broke out, Benjamin Harrison decided to enter the army, his wife saying to him "Go and help to save your country, and let us trust in the shielding care of a higher Power for your protection and safe return."

She took great pride in her husband's distinguished service, especially in his heroic deeds at Resaca and Peach Tree Creek, Georgia. She was a woman of strong individuality and deep sympathy for those in distress; she was generous and benevolent to a fault; she was one of the most active workers in the Presbyterian Church and Sunday school and in all patriotic and charitable organizations; she was universally popular. During Senator Harrison's six years in the United States Senate, prior to his election to the Presidency, Mrs. Harrison was one of the best known and universally beloved ladies of the Senate.

When her husband was made President, Mrs. Harrison's experiences had served to fit her for the duties of Mistress of the White House, and no criticism was ever made of her conduct. She recognized the fact that the house belonged to the Nation, but at the same time she made it a home for her family and none of her predecessors made it more attractive for all who cared to visit the White House. Her receptions and other social functions were charming in every sense of the word. Her long illness and pathetic death have left a lasting impression upon the Nation.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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