Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday's Child...Celia Ellen Harrison

Celia Ellen Harrison 1852-1868
Crown Hill Cemetery
Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana

Celia Ellen the eighth child born to Benjamin and Celia Byrne Harrison was born sometime before October in 1852 near Byrneville, Harrison County, Indiana. She died on October 21, 1868 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana at the age of sixteen. Celia Ellen didn't leave much of a paper trail, but I believe much of her life story can be gleaned by following the trails left be others in her family. 

This is her story.

The 1850 Federal Census enumerates the Benjamin Harrison household as follows: Benjamin-age 45, his wife Celia-age 39 and seven children; Temple-age 16, Reuben-age 14, Easick-age 12, Mary Ann-age 11, Sarah-age 6, Theodore-age 5 and Tillman-age 3. They are living on a farm near Byrneville in Morgan Township, Harrison County, Indiana. Benjamin is listed as a Farmer with real estate valued at $1000.

Into this family sometime before October in 1852 Celia Ellen is born. She is named for her mother Celia. The joy that a newborn brings into a family is short lived when in December of that same year Benjamin, her father, dies. He is only 47 years old. Celia Ellen's mother is now left with a farm to manage and eight children to raise.

Celia doesn't remain alone for very long. On May 24, 1855, when Celia Ellen is 3 her mother remarries to Alexander Barfield. Celia is 44 and Alexander is 25.  They continue to live on the Harrison family farm near Byrneville.

I can imagine little Celia Ellen taking this all in stride as only a child can. I'm sure with older siblings around and a farm to explore that she is quite a busy child.

In May 1856 disaster strikes Celia Ellen's family. The following is published in The Daily Ledger newspaper from New Albany, Indiana on Wednesday, May 7, 1856.:

The Daily Ledger-New Albany, Indiana
Wednesday, May 7, 1856

Notice the article describes how Celia Ellen is snatched from among the flames as the house burns down around the family. Thankfully, although considerably singed and with virtually nothing left of their possessions, no one is seriously injured. I have no idea where the family lives in the near term after this fire, but I imagine that friends, neighbors and relatives all pitch in to make sure that the family doesn't go without the necessities. 

Unfortunately, disaster soon strikes again when in August, 1856 the family's barn also burns down. The following is published in The New Albany Daily Ledger on September 10, 1856.:

The New Albany Daily Ledger
Wednesday, September 10, 1856

Still living on the family farm at the time of the 1860 Federal Census enumeration the household of Alex and Celia now consists of Alex, Celia and six of Celia's children-Reuben, Mary Ann, Sarah, Theodore, Tillman and Celia Ellen. Celia Ellen's oldest brothers are now both living on their own. Interestingly, her stepfather Alex is listed as a Show Actor. The real estate is now listed with a value of $3000 with personal property valued at $400. Both the real estate and personal property values are listed as Celia's, not Alex's. Celia Ellen at age 8 is now attending school.

In August of 1862, with the Civil War raging on, Alex, still relatively young at age 32, enlists in the Union Army. Once again, Celia Ellen's mother is left alone to manage the farm and raise her family.

The year 1864 is a tragedy filled one for twelve year old Celia Ellen.  Sickness invades her family and on January 11 her mother Celia dies. She is 52. She is buried in Byrneville Cemetery next to her first husband Benjamin. Then while her stepfather Alex is furloughed home to take care of his family he himself becomes ill and dies. 

The following is published in The New Albany Daily Ledger on April 21, 1864. The sadness his fellow soldiers feel upon hearing of Alex's untimely death is palpable. 

The Daily Ledger, New Albany, Indiana
Thursday April 21, 1864

One can imagine that Celia Ellen too will miss the tunes her stepfather, the only father she's ever known, will no longer play. 

Although I don't know where Celia Ellen lives during the next few years I do know that by 1868 she is living in Indianapolis with her older brother Temple and his wife Francis.

The following article detailing the sad event of her death is published in The Indianapolis Journal on Tuesday, October 20, 1868.: 
The Indianapolis Journal, Indianapolis, Indiana
Tuesday, October 20, 1868
Celia Ellen Harrison dies at the age of 16 at the home of her brother on Monday, October 19, 1868 of Typhoid Fever. She is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Celia Ellen Harrison's life ended too soon. Her life story too short. But she hasn't been forgotten. 

(Celia Ellen Harrison - Lisa's Maternal 3X Great Aunt)

Sources: 1850 Federal Census ( Federal Census (; Indiana, Marriage Index, 1800-1941 (; U.S.,Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 ( Daily Ledger, New Albany, Indiana (; The Indianapolis Journal, Indianapolis, Indiana (; Celia Byrne Harrison Barfield Gravestone Information (Photo in my possession); Celia Ellen Gravestone Information (Gravestone photo credit: Eric McGuire-FindAGrave Contributor #46925829-September 2015-Used with permission).

Wednesday’s Child blog postings include photos of gravestones of children. A sad topic but posts can give life to the stories of these young souls.
Wednesday’s Child is a genealogical blogging prompt suggested by Thomas MacEntee at GeneaBloggers.

This and all other posts on this blog are © copyright 2016 by Lisa Dillman Wright.

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