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Benjamin Harrison

Gov. Benjamin Harrison

  • December 1, 1781 - November 29, 1784
  • January 1, 1726
  • April 24, 1791
  • Virginia
  • College of William and Mary
  • Married Elizabeth Basset; seven children that survived infancy
  • Representative
  • Signer of the Declaration of Independence


BENJAMIN HARRISON was born in at Berkeley Plantation in Charles County City, Virginia. He attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, but did not earn a degree. Harrison represented Charles City County in the House of Burgesses from 1748-49 to 1775. He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1774 and in 1775 worked with General George Washington to help plan the future of the American Army. He also was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Returning to Virginia in 1777, he served once more in the House of Delegates and as a lieutenant in his county militia. He was chosen Speaker of the House in 1778 and governor of Virginia in 1781. Harrison’s son, William Henry, became the ninth President of the United States. Harrison County, Virginia (now West Virginia), formed in 1784, was named for Governor Benjamin Harrison.

*Note: exact date of birth is not known.


Library of Virginia, Virginia Governor, Executive Papers (1781-1784: Harrison). Accession 29604. Biographical/Historical Note. State Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA 23219.

McIlwaine, H.R., ed. Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia. Vol. III: The Letters of Thomas Nelson and Benjamin Harrison. Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1929.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 10. New York: James T. White & Company.

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Recent Virginia Governors