Dick, Brisbane, and Harris families papers
Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
In 1813, William Dick (1778-1831) of Scotland settled with his family in Philadelphia. He found a job as a janitor in the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania and worked there until his death. He married Margaret Brisbane (1775-1852), who also was from Scotland. Their daughter, Sarah McAllister Dick (1816-1901), married Enon Harris (died 1839) in 1836, and thheir short marriage produced a son named Enon H. Harris (1839-1908) who served during the Civil War with Southard's Independent Company, Pennsylvania Infantry. After the assassination of President Lincoln, Major Enon H. Harris stood guard over Lincoln's body when it lay in state in Philadelphia. Major Harris had a son named Enon Harris (born 1866) and a grandson also named Enon Harris (born 1887).
This collection contains a variety of photographs, from daguerreotypes to cabinet cards in albums. There is an original family photograph album containing images of Civil War soldiers and family members. One image is labeled as the first wife of Major Enon H. Harris and indicates she had two sons; the wife and sons are noted as deceased from tuberculosis before the Civil War began. While some of the images are identified, most are not, making it difficult to ascertain those directly connected to family members.
There are also family history notes, letters, receipts, calling cards,ephemera, and a few small artifacts. The genealogical notes cover the Dick, Brisbane, and Harris families, as well as two other related families: the McAllisters and the Lawrences. The bulk of the collection is from or related to Dr. George Spackman (died 1861), a Philadelphia physician educated at the University of Pennsylvania who married Sarah McAllister Dick (1816-1901), the daughter of William and Margaret Brisbane Dick. Sarah Spackman organized the first corps of army nurses in Pennsylvania during the Civil War. She was previously married to Enon Harris, who died in 1839.
Copies of two interesting newspaper clippings generated some of the material in this collection. One article notes that there is a large fortune waiting for anyone who can prove he or she is descended from Thomas Lucas Wheeler, a native of Shropshire England and a former captain of the 100th Regiment stationed in India. The other states that the Gibbs fortune in England ($8 million) would be inherited by Benjamin Gibbs Mitchell, formerly of Baltimore, then residing in Bermuda. Papers related to proving lineage in these cases are interesting but do not provide clues to how these two cases are connected to family names in this collection: Dick, Brisbane, Harris, Lawrence, McAllister, or Spackman.
Gift of Patrick Wing, 2016. Accession number 2016.075.
Gift of Christina D. Bowman, 2016. Accession number 2016.076.
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Susan M. Kearney.
- Finding Aid Date
- ; 2018.
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.