The History of Harrison
The town of Harrison was surveyed and laid out by Col. Marcus LaRue Harrison, a Union officer, (consequently named after him) in 1869 during reconstruction after the Civil War. Harrison was platted and made the county seat. On March 1, 1876 a certificate of incorporation was issued for the town of Harrison.
- In 1900, telephone lines connected the town to communities as far away as Eureka Springs (Carroll County) and Marshall (Searcy County). By 1905, 175 miles of lines and 435 telephones had been installed.
- The death of outlaw Henry Starr took place in Harrison in 1921 and created national interest. Starr and accomplices attempted to rob the People’s National Bank on February 18. The attempt ended when former bank president W. J. Myer took a shotgun from the bank vault and fired, wounding Starr, who died four days later in the county jail.
- Flood of May 7, 1961 flooded the south side of the square, 4 killed
Harrison has been home to several notable figures:
- Brandon Burlsworth, All-American offensive lineman, played for the Arkansas Razorbacks in the late 1990s; Drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft, but was killed in a car accident eleven days later; born in Harrison; 1994 graduate of Harrison High School, after whom the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation was named
- John Paul Hammerschmidt, U.S. Congress representative for 24 years, 1967-1993; author of the law preserving the Buffalo National River as a free-flowing stream and adding it to the National Park System in 1972.
- Ben C. Henley, lawyer, businessman, and chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party from 1955 to 1962, U.S. Senate candidate in 1956, lived in Harrison.
- J. Smith Henley, federal judge, retired to senior status in Harrison; the federal building in Harrison is named in his honor.
- Brian McComas, country-western singer, originally from Harrison.
- Gracie Pfost, first woman elected to Congress from Idaho, was born in Harrison.
- Charles Robinson, Arkansas State Treasurer; native of Harrison
- Jack Williams, Medal of Honor recipient for service during World War II
- Hugh Ashley, country musician and public servant
- Claude H. Turney, who established Turney Wood Products, Inc.
- Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Vance Trimble was born in Harrison
- Ida Callery, a suffragist, was raised in Harrison
- Alexander Hull was the state’s sixteenth secretary of state.