Henry "Harrison" Minerd was born in 1841 or 1842 in the 'Hexebarger' area of Kingwood, Somerset County, PA, the son of Henry and Mary 'Polly' (Younkin) Minerd. He went by the names Harrison, Henry and Harry.
Sadly, Harrison was mentally retarded, and little is known of his life. When his parents resided in Hexebarger in 1850, he was named as an eight-year-old in the federal census., and his names spelled out as 'Harrison.'
A decade later, in 1860, when his parents lived near Beeler Station, Marshall County, WV, he was living in the household, age 21. The census that year labels him as "Idiotic" (with the actual handwritten entry seen here). His name was given as "Henry."
In July 1870, when the family was residing in Morris Twp., Greene County, PA, he again was listed as "Idiotic," with his name shown as "Harry" or "Henry" (the writing is unclear).
Harrison's fate after 1870 is lost to history. Assuming that he died as a young man, he likely is buried somewhere in Greene County, in an unmarked grave.
Reflecting his father's fuzzy politics, Harrison appears to have been named after Whig President William Henry Harrison. The president was elected in 1840, but had died just one month after taking office, right around the time the boy was born. The Whigs were united in their opposition of reforms by Democrat President Andrew Jackson. President Jackson's goal was to promote basic human rights as a "counterweight" to the rights of property holders. The president sought to do this by destroying the powerful Bank of the United States and gaining control the U.S. currency to make more money more easily available to the common man.
In 1846, when Harrison was about five, a baby brother was born and given the name "Andrew Jackson Miner" after President Jackson, who had died the year before. It's not known why their father named sons after two bitter political rivals.
Copyright © 2003 Mark A. Miner