John Francis Harrison, who is engaged in general farming and stock-raising near Milpitas, was born on the 26th of February, 1867. His father, Thomas Harrison, was a native of Dublin, Ireland, of English parentage, born on the 8th of August, 1823. He spent the greater part of his boyhood and youth in the line of his activity and in the year 1842 crossed the Atlantic to New York. After a brief period, however, he returned to England and served for three years in the British army, and during that service was in almost every country of the world. Later, however, he again came to America, and in this country was united in marriage on the 3rd of February, 1866, to Miss Anne Denman, who was born April 27, 1836, in Williamsburg, New York, now a part of the city of Brooklyn. She is of English-German descent, her parents born in South Carolina. In the year of his marriage he sought a home in California, arriving in this state in April. For one year he served as foreman of the Laurel wood farm in Santa Clara county for James L. Burtis and then turned his attention to the nursery business, in which he was for two years, conducting his enterprise with B. L. Fox, where R. D. Fox is now carrying on a nursery near San Jose. In 1870 he purchased a farm near Milpitas, comprising seven hundred and thirteen acres, which he at once began to cultivate and improve, and on which he made his home until his death. He was widely known as an enterprising agriculturist and stock-raiser, and a man who in all his business relations was strictly honorable and upright. He died January 5, 1899, and his wife died February 21, 1895. Thomas Harrison left a large and valuable estate which he devised to his children in equal shares. Twelve children were born of this marriage: Mary H.; Thomas M.; John F.; James B.; William H.; Anne J., the wife of P. J. Benjamin, who is now a member of the police force of San Jose; Isabella A., the wife of Frank B. Longley, who is a mining engineer of San Francisco; Lottie S., the wife of William H. McLaughlin, of the San Francisco Call; Ida E., a clerk; James B., who is a mining carpenter of Arizona; Herbert S., now dead; and Richard W., now deceased.

John Francis Harrison acquired his education in the schools of Santa Clara county and has served for two years as deputy sheriff under G. Y. Bollinger, while for four years he filled the same position under James H. Lyndon, and for two years under R. J. Langford, and has proved himself a shrewd and efficient criminal officer. He is now engaged in stock-raising and general farming, and his industry and activity in business life are resulting in bringing to him a very desirable measure of prosperity. Like his father he has always been a stanch Democrat and has been deeply interested in political affairs though never seeking public office, save when it came to him through appointment. He is well known in the community where his entire life has been passed, and the fact that many who have been acquainted with him from boyhood are numbered among his stanchest friends is an indication that his has been a career worthy of good will, confidence and respect.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume I

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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