Family #7 – EKA William Harrell 1786

Last Updated on 11 Apr 2021

The Earliest Known Ancestor (EKA) of Family#7 is William Harrell, born September 8, 1786 in Frederick Co., VA, died May 29, 1857 in North Bend, Miami Township, Hamilton County, OH. On August 21, 1806 in Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, IN, he married Martha “Patsy” Bussell, daughter of Moses Bussell and Margaret Howell. The 12 children of this marriage are highlighted below and separately in the grouping of this family’s 3 generations. The burial site(s) of both William and his spouse Martha is unknown but researchers believe they could be buried in either the Berea Cemetery or the Maple Grove Cemetery, both of which are located in Cleves, Hamilton Co., OH (there are no markers or documentation in either cemetery).

Considerable information has been reported on some of William Harrell’s 12 children but nothing is known about the identity of his parents or siblings. There is speculation by some that his middle initial may be “S” but after searching all available information, the source of this speculation was found to be only one “document”: a transcription by Pat Johnson of Bailey Harrell’s Family Bible (Bailey Harrell is first son of William Harrell), shown in the website below, wherein it is stated (under “DEATHS”) ” Wm S. HARRELL father of B. S. HARRELL died May 29. 1857″. This transcription of his Family Bible is well known and well referenced by those involved in researching this family. All known references to this William Harrell, except for this particular “document”, do not indicate a middle name or initial. After careful inspection of the actual page in the Family Bible that contains this information, it was discovered that the middle initial “S” did not exist and the transcriber, Pat Johnson, had made an error in transcribing.

Without knowing his parents or siblings, and having no authentic record of him living in Frederick Co., VA, it has been very difficult to even speculate how he might link to other known Harrells living in Frederick Co., VA. At this time there is no credible link but possibilities will be discussed throughout this narrative.

Much of the information surrounding William Harrell and his 12 children was accumulated and shared by Sue Mullins who descends from Bailey S. Harrell. Ms. Mullins has possession of Bailey Harrell’s Family Bible which can be found here.

Additional information about William Harrell and his descendants was provided by Walter W. Harrell (deceased) whose great grandfather was Martin Harrell, the last child born to William Harrell. Others who also contributed information include Doug Scott who descends from son Harrison Harrell, 4th child of William/Martha Harrell, and John Harrell who also descends from Harrison Harrell.

William Harrell reportedly arrived in OH in 1806 at about 20 years of age, the same year he married Martha Bussell in Dearborn Co., IN. From many reports he apparently left Frederick Co., VA and travelled through Boone Co., KY before crossing the Ohio River and arriving in Hamilton Co., OH in 1806. All reporting about locations where William Harrell lived, showed he spent his adult life in Hamilton Co., OH, Dearborn Co., IN (Gore Area), Switzerland Co., IN, and Boone Co., KY all of which are closely connected.. He is listed in the 1820, 1830, 1840, and 1850 census records for Miami Township, Hamilton Co., OH. He was identified as a Justice of the Peace (JP) in Hamilton Co. in 1825 and it has been documented he was a JP as early as 1818.

Martha “Patsy” Bussell was born November 22, 1787 in Westmoreland Co., VA and died January 19, 1871 in North Bend, Miami Township, Hamilton Co., OH. Her father is Moses Bussell who was born 1756 in Frederick Co., VA and died 1841 in Boone Co., KY. Martha Bussell’s mother is Margaret Howell Bussell who was born Fairfax Co., VA in 1761 and died 1840 in North Bend, Hamilton Co., OH. From available information it appears as though this Bussell family remained physically close to William Harrell throughout his life.

It is likely the father of William Harrell was born before 1766 which is the time when several Harrells reportedly lived in Frederick Co., many of them included in the 14 Harrell families who have matching DNA profiles and who are identified/discussed in the Harrell Collaboration (viz., Families 1-5, and 9). It is not known when William Harrell left Frederick Co. but his arrival in OH in 1806 seems to have coincided with the arrival of Nathan Harrell 1763 with his family at Union Township, Warren Co., OH (Family#9 in the Harrell Collaboration). Most references cite the arrival of Nathan Harrell in OH “about 1800″ but the obituary of Nathan’s son Nathan Jr. indicated he arrived in 1806. One of the interesting pieces of oral history handed down by contributor Walter W. Harrell (dec’d) was that William Harrell’s grandmother (not known whether maternal or paternal) was born VA about 1735 and died at the age of 94 (d. abt 1829); unfortunately, no further information is available nor is there confirmation of these events.

Children of William Harrell 1786

When nothing much is known about the parents/siblings of William Harrell, sometimes one can find clues in the naming of his children – many times in Harrell families we their children’s names reflect parents, siblings, or other relatives and close friends.


The first born child was reported to be Nancy Harrell, born in Cleves, Hamilton Co., OH in 1808. Her death date, spouse, children (if any), and living locations are all not known. Being first born and a daughter, she could have been named after William Harrell’s mother (note: Martha Bussell Harrell’s mother is named “Martha”). Could William Harrell’s mother have been named “Nancy”? As one possibility, there is a longstanding Harrell mystery as to who the William Harrell was that married Nancy Rutherford in 1773 in Fincastle Co., VA. There is no DNA from this particular Harrell line and nothing more is known about this marriage, so it’s possible the father and mother of William Harrell could be William and Nancy Rutherford Harrell.
Margaret Howell Bussell, mother of Martha Bussell Harrell, had 6 children: Elizabeth, Nancy, Charles, William, Martha, and Moses Bussell. It’s possible this first born daughter was named after Martha’s sister Nancy.


Of all the 12 children of William Harrell/Martha Bussell, the name “Bailey” is the most troublesome in terms of understanding why he was named as such. “Bailey” is a given name rarely found in early Harrell families of Northern Virginia. Of the 14 Harrell families identified in this Harrell Collaboration, only Family#2 (EKA Reuben Harrell) has a descendant with a given name equivalent to “Bailey” – that being Reuben’s son “Bayles” who died about a year after birth. Also, there is no known “Bailey” in the early Bussell family. It’s possible, however, the name “Bailey” reflected a very close family friend that is thus far unknown.

Considerable information is available on Bailey S. Harrell, except for his middle name which still remains somewhat of a question. With one exception, all known references to Bailey, including his Family Bible, use his middle initial “S”. The exception stems from a story told to the author of this narrative in 2009 by Lyndon Irwin, a dedicated Harrell researcher who descends from Chester Harrell, son of William and Susannah Chester Harrell (William Harrell is a son of Richard Harrell b. 1700 and discussed in Family#5). Mr. Irwin reported the following: “I found some correspondence that I had from 11 years ago that I forgot about. Sarah Smith sent me the handwritten notes that her grandmother [Sarah Carmichael Harrell] had written about a hundred years ago. The notebook listed the children of Chester Harrell and both (of his) wives. Then, on a separate page is this information: ‘William Harrell was born in Frederick Co., VA, Sept. 8, 1786. Martha Bussell was born in Westmoreland Co., VA, Nov 22, 1787. Married Aug 21, 1806 in Lawrenceburg, Ind by Rev. Gibbs. Wm. H. died in Cleves, Ohio, May 18, 1857 – Age 71. Martha died in Cleves, Ohio Jan 18, 1871, 84 yrs old. Bailey SMITH Harrell married Julia Berry. They had two daughters, Mrs. Clara Basler and Mrs. Kate Wilke. So 11 years ago we had big discussions about why this Harrell information was in the Chester Harrell family notebook. We eventually came to no conclusion other than to say that this William was NOT (emphasis by Lyndon) the son of Chester.” This is the only evidence that Bailey Harrell’s middle name might be “Smith”.

Bailey S. Harrell, many members of his family, and some family members of his brother Harrison Harrell, are buried in Berea Cemetery, Cleves, Hamilton Co., OH. In this cemetery there is a large marker “B. S. & Julie Harrell” and there is another marker/headstone with the name “Bailey Smith Harrell, son of Harrison Harrell”. It is unknown why Harrison Harrell used “Smith” in naming his son. Perhaps related, the middle name of William Bussell, brother of Bailey’s mother Martha Bussell, is also “Smith”. In addition, the father of Martha Bussell Harrell is named Moses S. Bussell and some think, without proof, that the “S” could be “Smith”. Another possible Smith family connection is found in Bailey’s Family Bible where the following funeral notice is written: “Mrs. Matilda, wife of Dr. Matthew Smith. Burial at the Upper Graveyard. Services by Rev. Mr. Chambers. Sept 8, 1856″. There are also several close Smith family members associated with Thomas Chester of Frederick Co., VA – he being the father of Susannah Chester Harrell, spouse of William Harrell who is a son of Richard Harrell (Family#5). There are simply too many Smith family connections to credibly answer the question as to why “Smith” was selected as a middle name for the son of Harrison Harrell, Bailey Harrell, and possibly Moses Bussell.

Bailey S. Harrell lived a very full life, beginning with his birth in an old fort near the mouth of the Big Miami River on April 17, 1809; his longtime Cleves residence being only five miles from this fort. He died at 90 years of age (oldest resident of Cleves in April 1899) on July 8, 1899 three months after he was hit by a freight train at a street crossing in Cleves – an accident reportedly contributing to his death at the Cleves home of his son Walter. Bailey married twice: (1) Abigail Wood on January 16, 1834 in Cleves, OH, and (2) Julia Ann Berry Koblitz on October 15, 1848 in Cairo, IL. Bailey spent 30 years in Cairo, IL where he engaged in merchandising. Following his return to Cleves, it was reported “he engaged in business for 10 years, in this time losing and regaining large fortunes”.

In his younger years Bailey Harrell was the village school teacher and Benjamin Harrison (a local resident and later 23th President of the U.S.) was among those whom Bailey taught. President William Henry Harrison, the 9th President and grandfather of Benjamin Harrison, also lived in area and was known to Bailey. This close connection to these two Presidents was significant in the life of William Harrell as he reportedly named two of his sons Harrison and Scott (Scott Harrison was the father of President William Harrison). Other children of William Harrell whose names could have been derived from the family of President William Henry Harrison are Elizabeth “Betsy” Harrell (Elizabeth “Betsy” Harrison, 1796-1846, 1st daughter of President Harrison) and William Harrell.

Bailey had 6 children with spouse Abigail Wood (Eliza Martha, Jane, Albert, twins who died within days, Cornelia) and 6 children with his second wife Julia Koblitz (Walter C., Edward, Jane, Clara W., unidentified son, Kate D.) None of the names of these children seem to provide clues as to the names of Bailey’s paternal grandfather/grandmother.

An excellent reference about the early history of Cairo, IL includes excerpts written by Moses B. Harrell in the book “A History of the City of Cairo Illinois”, John M. Lansden, Chicago, R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company 1910, reprinted by Higginson Book Company, Salem, Massachusetts. In this historical account of Cairo, IL, a segment of Bailey S. Harrell’s early life is briefly highlighted by his brother Moses B. Harrell as they both lived in Cairo for an extended period.


It is possible Elizabeth “Betsy” could have been named after one of the daughters of President William Harrison. Elizabeth was born May 21, 1812 in KY according to all census records, and died July 8, 1897 in Aurora, Dearborn Co., IN. She married Jacob Snyder Harbaugh in 1829 in Boone Co., KY (likely county of her birth) and they had 9 children: the first six were born in OH (probably Hamilton Co.) and are Francis, Jane Ann, Jacob Snyder, Henry, William, and Pallas “Polly” Harbaugh; the other 3 were born in Dearborn Co., IN and they are George A Harbaugh who lived for about 7 months, Ida Bell, and George A.


Harrison Harrell was born May 27, 1814 in Vevay, Switzerland Co., IN (Switzerland Co. formed from Dearborn Co., IN in October 1814), and died March 4, 1900 in Bartholomew Co., IN (buried in Hartsville College Cemetery in Bartholomew Co., IN but his grave is not marked). He was named after President William Harrison. He married 3 times: (1) Mary Ann Unknown in OH about 1832; (2) Eliza Jane Henry in Jackson Co., IN in 1846; and (3) Sarah Ann Sprague before 1880. Harrison had 6 children with his first wife Mary Ann (Bailey Smith, Rebecca, John Scott, Abby, William Harrison, Margaret Ann Harrell), and 6 with his second wife Elizabeth Henry (Martha Matilda, Albert H., Harrison S., Mary E., Clara Belle, Cordelia D./S. Harrell). The following link speculates that Harrison’s first wife may have been Mary Ann Smith which, if accurate, could be the reason why the middle name of their son Bailey was “Smith”:

“Mary Ann Unknown” is buried in Berea Cemetery in Cleves, OH along with two of their children, Bailey and Abby. The following link reports the burial of Harrison’s third wife Sarah Ann Sprague Harrell:

The burial location of his second wife is not known.


Rebecca was born June 4, 1817 in Hamilton Co., OH and died 1898 in Miami, Hamilton Co., OH. She married Andrew Richard Lind in 1835 in Hamilton Co., IN and they had 8 children: John Scott, Catherine “Kate”, Thomas Newell, Addison Shannon, Margaret, Merritt, Lewis M., and William G. Lind. The 1870 census for Miami, OH shows Patsey Bussell Harrell, 84 years old, living with her son Martin Harrell; a few households from them was A. R. Lind 60 with spouse Rebecca 53 and their children. Members of the Lind/Linn family also married into the family of aforementioned Nathan Harrell (Family#9) who arrived about 1800 or 1806 in Warren Co., OH. The father of Andrew Lind was Andrew Linn who married Rachel Bly – Andrew Linn’s sister was Elizabeth Lind who married John Harrell, son of Nathan Harrell (Family#9).


John Harrell was born July 24, 1819 in Hamilton Co., OH but nothing further is known.


William E. Harrell was born November 27, 1820 in Cleves, OH and died August 11, 1909 in Cairo, Alexander Co., IL. He married Ann Eliza Arter in 1848 and they had 2 children: Florence A. and Frances Marion Harrell (dentist).


Scott Harrell was born April 30, 1823 in Hamilton Co., OH but nothing further is known. He was named after the father of President William Harrison, Scott Harrison.


Isaac Harrell was born May 5, 1824 in Hamilton Co., OH and died November 19, 1882 in Cairo, IL. He married Mildred E. Keesee in 1853 in Mississippi Co., MO. They had 3 children: Edgar C, Kate, and C. B. Harrell.


Margaret Harrell was born September 2, 1826, Hamilton Co., OH and died October 3, 1844, Hamilton Co., OH. Her burial, marriage and any children are not known.


Moses was born December 6, 1828 in Boone Co., KY (from census records) and died April 9, 1909 in Chicago, Cook Co., IL. He is buried in Villa Ridge Cemetery in Cairo, IL. He married Adelia (sometimes “Dealia) Angeline Arter 1852 in Pulaski Co., IL. From their marriage, 4 children were born in Illinois: Ida Leona, Herbert Addison, Oscar Gerald, and Mildred A. Harrell. Moses arrived in Cairo, IL in 1848 and lived there for about 30 years. He began his professional life in Cairo as a merchant and later became a well-known newspaper man. It is believed (from Walter W. Harrell’s oral report to the author of this narrative), that Moses was named after Moses Bussell, father of William Harrell’s spouse.


Martin was born October 22, 1832 in Hamilton Co., OH and died August 22, 1914 in Cleves, OH; he and his wife are buried in Maple Grove Cemetery in Cleves, OH. He married Mary A. Myers in 1855 in Miami, OH and they had 7 children: Arthur Howell, William H., Katherine “Kate”, Moses B., John Logan, Mary A., and Virginia Harrell. As mentioned previously, “Martin” is not a common given name among the 14 Families. Within the Harrell Collaborative Families there is known to be only four individuals who were named “Martin Harrell”: (1) Martin Harrell, b. abt. 1775, who is EKA of Family#8; (2) a son born to Isaac Harrell and Delilah Doom in KY in 1804 – Isaac Harrell being son of Chester Harrell who is son of William Harrell who is son of EKA Richard Harrell of Family #5; (3) a son born to the EKA William Harrell 1786 of this Family#7; and (4) a son born 1832 to William H. Harrell 1793 who is son of James Harrell 1762 (spouse Elizabeth Crume) who is son of Moses Harrell who is son of EKA Richard Harrell of Family #5. Martin Harrell 1775 married an unknown and had children whose names are William 1797, John 1800, George, Page, James, Lucy, Mary, Evaline, and Calvin Harrell. Lack of information precludes any sensible speculation of a link between William Harrell 1786 and Martin Harrell 1775.

Unless additional information is provided, the mystery remains as to the parents and siblings of William Harrell 1786.

A listing of all known descendants of EKA William Harrell 1786 is provided through the first 3 generations (i.e., William Harrell, his children, and grandchildren).

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