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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.

Collection Inventory

Genealogical notes on births, marriages, and deaths, undated.
Box 1 Folder 1
Genealogical notes, undated.
Box 1 Folder 2
Dick family: Miscellaneous, 1820-1914, undated.
Box 1 Folder 3
Lawrence family: Genealogical notes, undated.
Box 1 Folder 4
McAllister family: Genealogical notes, 1860-1905, undated.
Box 1 Folder 5
Letters by Major Enon M. Harris, 1865-1866.
Box 1 Folder 6
Letter from Ewing Jordan to Margaret B. Harris, 22 October 1914.
Box 1 Folder 7
Harris family: Miscellaneous, 1854-1907, undated.
Box 1 Folder 8
Copy of Will: Margaret B. Harris, December 1943.
Box 1 Folder 9
Estate papers: James M. Harris, 1942-1943.
Box 1 Folder 10
Margaret B. Harris: Teacher Certificate, 11 June 1898.
Box 1 Folder 11
George Spackman MD: Lecture notes, 1820s, undated.
Box 1 Folder 12
George Spackman MD: School papers, 1820s.
Box 1 Folder 13
George Spackman MD: Cards of Admission to Courses and Lectures, 1824-1831.
Box 1 Folder 14
Letters to George Spackman, 1821-1822.
Box 1 Folder 15
Letters to George Spackman, 1823-1825.
Box 1 Folder 16
Letters to George Spackman, 1827-1830.
Box 1 Folder 17
Letters to George Spackman, 1833-1843.
Box 1 Folder 18
Letters to George Spackman, 1846-1866.
Box 1 Box 19
Letters to George Spackman, undated.
Box 1 Folder 20
Reference for Dr. George Spackman from Joseph Parrish, August 1828.
Box 1 Folder 21
George Spackman MD: Estate Papers, about 1862.
Box 1 Folder 22
Medical Address, possibly by Dr. George Spackman, undated.
Box 1 Folder 23
Medical Addresses by James Harris, 9 June 1846, undated.
Box 1 Folder 24
Family photograph, undated.
Box 2 Folder 1
Photograph album, undated.
Volume 1
Photograph album, undated.
Volume 2
Photograph album, undated.
Volume 3
Photograph album, undated.
Volume 4
Photograph album, undated.
Volume 5
Photograph of Mrs. Enon Major Harris, before 1861.
Box 3
Eight Miniature Portraits, undated.
Box 3
Worchester's Dictionary, 1872.
Box 3
Miscellaneous pins, undated.
Box 3
Copy of Photograph album, Volume 1, undated.
Box 2 Folder 2-6
Wheeler Case: Copy of Will of Thomas Lucas Wheeler, Canterbury, England, [July 1792] undated.
Box 2 Folder 7
Wheeler Case: Genealogical notes, undated.
Box 2 Folder 8
Wheeler Case: Wheeler/Hurst indenture, Hartford County, Maryland, 1815.
Box 2 Folder 9
Wheeler Case: Notes and Miscellaneous, 1803-1849, undated.
Box 2 Folder 10
Wheeler Case: Correspondence, 1848-1851, undated.
Box 2 Folder 11
Gibbs fortune: Newspaper clipping and correspondence, 1848-1851.
Box 2 Folder 12
Postcards by Flynn's Printing: Scenes of Delaware County, PA, 1890-1903.
Box 2 Folder 13
Pamphlet: "The Theological Seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church," Philadelphia, May 1978.
Box 2 Folder 14
Souvenir Guide Book: Mauch Chunk, undated.
Box 2 Folder 15
War Service Register: Artillery Corps Washington Grays of the City of Philadelphia, 1861-1865, 1861-1865.
Box 2 Folder 16
Papers removed from War Service Register, 1922-1954, undated.
Box 2 Folder 17
The Church Standard: George W. South Memorial Church of the Advocate, 16 October 1897.
Box 2 Folder 18
"The Naval Reserve," Volume 1, Number 11, 30 June 1918.
Box 2 Folder 19
"The Golden Jubilee Number of The Record of St. Mary's," Philadelphia, May 1894.
Box 2 Folder 20
"A Book About Them," (Mothers, Daughters, Wives), The Women's Hospital of Pennsylvania, undated.
Box 2 Folder 21
Pamplet: "Mount Pleasant", 1927.
Box 2 Folder 22
Postcards with Sketches of Gettysburg, PA, undated.
Box 2 Folder 23
Miscellaneous, 1850-1924, undated.
Box 2 Folder 24

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