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The Harrison family were foremost in
affairs during the last quarter of the
eighteenth century. The rector's eldest
brother, Robert Hanson Harrison, was
Aide-de-Camp to Gen. Washington and,
afterwards, Judge of the Supreme Court.
Another brother, William Harrison, was a
member of Congress. The rector himself
was a bachelor and fond of pleasure. But
he seems to have been energetic and
persevering, and somewhat of a business
man. After he had held the rectorship a
few years he offered to collect his salary
himself, to which proposition the Vestry
agreed - a most unwise arrangement which
resulted of course, in a diminution of
interest in affairs of the Parish on the
part of laity. The Vestry met, how-
ever, with tolerable regularity, although
there was a considerable period during
which no meetings were held, as we learn
by the following entry in the Vestry Book:
"IN church, Easter Monday, April 25,
1791. Whereas there has been no Vestry
in Durham Parish for above two years on
account of the people of not meeting and
choosing a vestry according to law, - And
whereas the people of said parish notwith-
standing, are truly anxious and desirous
that all Parochial affairs should be attend-
ed to, and particularly observing the ap-
proaching ruin and destruction of the
church unless some speedy and necessary
steps are taken to prevent the same - did
meet on the day above recited sundry
Inhabitants of the Parish aforesaid and AP-
pointed and choose Gen'l William Small-
wood, Major William T. Stoddert, Capt.
Franklin Speake, Capt. William G. Adams,
Capt. John Mitchell, Frances B. Franklin,
Zephaniah Franklin, Capt. Hezikiah
Garner, Jeremiah Gray, William Jones,
and Walter Hanson Stone (or a majority
of them) To act in the Room and place of
Vestrymen, in order to raise by subscrip-
tion a sum of money or Tobacco to repair
the Church, build a Vestry house, and
raise a salary for the support and encourage-
ment of a minister and for other Parochial

These gentlemen (who were certainly
representative men) met on Monday, May
9, 1791, and organized a temporary Vestry
which continued in office until Easter
Monday, 1792, when a regular Vestry was
again chosen. They then proceeded to
pass a resolution referring to the evident
desire of the parishioners "to Restore and
Revive the spirit in their Religion and the
flourishing State it was in antecedent to
"the Glorious Revolution" and suggesting
the expediency of opening a subscription
"To Raise the sidewalls high enough to
admit of windows, and galleries with pews
on the south side and at the ends, to add
a new Roof and repair the Brickwork
where it is wanting, the window panes,
sashes, pews, and lower floor, for the better
accommodation of the Parishioners, and to
build a Vestry house." Thus was inaugu-
rated the long delayed movement to repair
Durham Church which had been built
almost sixty years before. The Vestry
minutes of the next four pages are extreme-
ly interesting. Subscriptions were at once
opened, the response on the part of the
people being prompt and generous. On
Saturday, May, 28 (nineteen days after
the first meeting), the temporary Vestry-
men reported that almost 8,00 pounds of
tobacco and over 177 pounds sterling had
been subscribed. That was a good start,
and before the books were finally closed
the subscriptions in tobacco amounted to
32,650 pounds and those in money to 191
pounds, 13 shillings and four pence. The
List of Subscribers contains two hundred
and seventy-one names. I give it in full,
in the Appendix, as it certainly contains
the name of almost every Protestant family
within the limits of the Parish in 1791.
In June of that year the Rev. Mr. Harri-
son contracted with the Vestry to repair
the Church and build the Vestry house,
the work had to be finished by the eleventh
day of July, 1792. On Sunday, Aug. 20,
the Vestry met and resolved "that one of
the flight of steps into the gallery be erect-
ed at the south east end of the church and
enclosed in brick and completed in a
workmanlike manner. And that another
flight of steps be erected within the church
to go into the gallery at the west corner of
the church for the better convenience of
the Parishioners." "It appearing to the
present Vestry that the place where the
former Communion Table stood, being at
one end of the church is very inconvenient
and too remote from the several parts of
the congregation - Resolved that it be
erected under the window on the right hand
of the pulpit in the place where the pew
stood that was formerly allotted to Edward
Maddox, William Taylor, William Benson
and Thomas Davis, and that the said
window be bricked in and the Communion
Table erected and ornamented in a suitable
manner to the solemnity of the place."
Mr. Harrison asked for extension of time
for the completing of the church and vestry

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