July 19: George Byrd Harrison (1898)

George Byrd Harrison had a distinguished ancestry in Virginia. His father was William Byrd Harrison of “Brandon,” a James River plantation. His mother was Mary Randolph Harrison of “Clifton,” in Cumberland County, Virginia, and a cousin of Epiphany’s ninth rector, Randolph Harrison McKim. George attended the College of William and Mary and then received his medical degree from the University of Virginia. Dr. Harrison was a teacher of pediatrics at Columbian University [George Washington University]. He was president of the Medical Association of the District of Columbia, senior physician at the Washington City Orphan Asylum, and the attending physician to the Epiphany Church Home. George Byrd Harrison married Jane Lenthall Stone at Epiphany. Jane was the daughter of Lincoln family physician, Dr. Robert King Stone. Both of the Harrison’s children were baptized at Epiphany and both George and Jane Harrison were buried from the church.

The following excerpt from an article in Epiphany’s Parish Guide newsletter testifies to Dr. Harrison’s character. “Dr. Harrison was well known in this city, which had been his home since the beginning of his professional career, and it is safe to say that all who really knew him loved him; he was a most amiable and lovable man. Pure, incorruptible integrity shone forth in his every act. He can be truly commended to attention as a citizen, as a son, as a brother, as a husband, and as a father, for under that calm, sedate demeanor, there burned the liveliest affection; and in his domestic relations he approached as near perfection as it is permitted man to come. The crowning beauty of the man was that he was a Christian, one who not only bent his knee to the altar, but whose heart bowed in genuine religious fervor to his God. His fellow physicians testify to his usefulness to his fellow man, for he truly did his Master’s will, going about healing the sick and comforting the distressed with little thought of a reward in this world. He was a physician of eminent skill which, with his unlimited benevolence, attracted the confidence and love of his patients.”

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1 Comment

  1. Ashton Harrison Wheeler

    Thu 10th Aug 2017 at 5:11 pm

    I am a descendant of George’s brother, Benjamin. George’s grandfather, Randolph Harrison, was a first cousin of Pres. William Henry Harrison. George’s nickname within the family was, “The Doctor.” This photo of him is from the book, “History of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia, 1817-1909.” Member of Washington Obstet. and Gynecological Society, for two years its president; member of Faculty of Washington Training School for Nurses; physician to Washington City Orphan Asylum from 1882 until his death; member of staff and Board of Directors, Central Dispensary and Emergency Hospital. George died of a stroke suddenly while on vacation at Cape May, New Jersey.

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