Portrait Photograph of Commander Matthew James Harrison Royal Navy 1846-1926
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Commander Matthew James Harrison RN (Royal Navy).
(1846?-1926)

Born: 22 July1846 and died 26 June 1926 in British Columbia.
Son of: James Park Harrison and Julia Harrison (nee Heath, 1807-1879).
Matthew was an only child.
Matthew married: Lucy Wedgwood (1846-1919), daughter of Josiah Wedgwood III and Caroline Wedgwood (nee Darwin), 29 April 1874.
Matthew and Lucy had issue:
1. Geoffrey Richard Harrison (1876-1882).
2. Lt Comd Thomas Edmund Harrison (1879-1914), who married Maud Winifred Harrison (nee Godman. 1881-1962).
3 Ann Dorothea Gooch (nee Harrison, 1877-1950), known as Nancy, who married Maj John Sherlock Gooch (1865-1929) known as Jack.
4. Lucy Ursula Houghton (nee Harrison, 1884-1931), who married Arthur Case Houghton (1866-1936).
5. Lt. Commander George Basil Harrison (1882-1915).

Commander Matthew James Harrison: An Overview

The following overview of Matthew was written by Robina Arbuthnott (his great grand-daughter).

Mathew James Harrison married Lucy Wedgwood who was the daughter of Josiah Wedgwood of Leith Hill Place Dorking.  Lucy's sister Margaret married Arthur Vaughan Williams and their son Ralph was therefore Mathew and Lucy's nephew.  Lucy's Uncle was Charles Darwin and would often send her notes at Leith Hill asking her to do experiments for him!!  Lucy had quite a lot to do with Ralph's earliest music lessons because Arthur died early so Margaret and her two sons returned to Leith Hill Place.  Mathew James Harrison and Lucy had three sons and two daughters.  The eldest Geoffrey died at the age of 6 from scarlet fever, Thomas my Grandfather married Maud Winifred Godman of Muntham Itchingfield Nr Horsham and had 3 children  Geoffrey Wedgwood, Isabel and Sophie.  Both Thomas and his brother Basil (who was not married) were killed in their ships in the first world war in 1914.

Portrait photograph of Lucy Harrision nee Wedgwood 1846-1919
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Lucy Harrison nee Wedgwood


Mathew had been in the navy and was on one of the first expeditions to Easter Island when the huge wooden heads were found and a lot of his collection from this voyage was later donated to the British Museum along with some of his sketches from this voyage.  During his time also in the navy he had shore leave from Vancouver and took the railway up to Nelson.  He crossed Kootenay Lake and fell in love with the area and vowed one day to return.  In 1908 he came back  located a site and started building his retirement home.  In 1911 he was joined by his wife Lucy (both were 65 years old by this time!) and their two daughters, Anne Dorothea (Nancy) who married an English man called Jack Gooch and both settled in another property on this Kootenay estate but had no children and Ursula who married a local man, Jack Houghton and had 4 children.  Lucy Wedgwood died in 1919 and Mathew James having married his nurse, died in 1926 and both Lucy and Mathew are buried in the grounds of the lovely house they built.  Before he died he built a beautiful church called the Harrison memorial church to his three dead sons and to Lucy who died just before its completion. It is still there and used.   Ursula died very young in Wales from pneumonia having gone 'home' to bring up the 4 children and persuaded her husband to come too, much against his will.  He then took the 4 children back to the Kootenays and died himself shortly afterwards.  This left Nancy who was a widow by then to bring up the 4 children and so she moved down to Victoria to make life easier for them and descendants still own the estate there. 

 

A note from John Callcut states:
Lt. Commander George Basil Harrison, was killed when HMS Natal blew up in mysterious circumstances in Cromarty Forth on the 30th December 1915.

 

If you have any information to add to what is listed please contact me on jj@jjhc.info

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