Local History Collections

Collection ID: LH-314
Location: LH-314

(Description ID: 595626)

Rutherford B.  Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

Captain Jonathan Harrington


Biographical Sketch
Scope and Content

Additional information on the Harrington family may be found in the Israel Harrington Biographical File and Local History Collection and the Lucille Hutson Local History Collection..

Biographical Sketch
Jonathan F. Harrington was born January 3, 1835 in Erie County, Ohio to Ralph and Anna (Paxton) Harrington. He attended local schools and also spent one year attending school at Detroit, Michigan. Returning home he began his life=s work of farming. Shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War, Harrington enlisted as a private in Company H of the 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, assisting in the recruitment of the company. In 1862 he was promoted to second lieutenant and later to first lieutenant. He served as Captain of Company A for the last two years of the war, mustering out in September of 1865. Harrington fought at Shiloh, Corinth,  the Campaign and Seige of Vicksburg, Nashville, Guntown, and at Dauphin Island.

Following the war, Harrington returned to the family farm in Erie County, Ohio. He married Sarah ([email protected]) McKesson, the daughter of James and Marietta (Prout) McKesson, January 1, 1868. They were the parents of one daughter, Anne Marietta ([email protected]) Harrington. Jonathan served several terms as trustee and as clerk of Groton Township, Erie County. He was also a member of the Union Veterans Corps and an officer of the Erie County Agricultural Society. Jonathan died August 14, 1916. His wife Sarah died November 3, 1935.

Ralph Harrington father of Jonathan, was born in 1802 in Pennsylvania. In 1812, Harrington moved to Erie County, Ohio with his family.  He and his wife Anna Paxton had four children: Jonathan ([email protected]), Lionel ([email protected]), Mary, and Charles.  A pioneer settler and farmer, Ralph Harrington also served as a justice of the peace for Groton Township.  He was active in establishing the township=s first schools. Ralph Harrington died in 1863 and Anna died in 1884.

Seth Harrington, grandfather of Jonathan and father of Ralph was born in Rhode Island. He served during the Revolutionary War. He later  moved to Pennsylvania and then to Erie County, Ohio, in 1812.  During the War of 1812, he  organized a company of volunteer militia (of which he was elected captain) in 1813. He married  Hulda Smith in 1795. Seth and Hulda had had seven children. Seth died in 1857

Scope and Content
The collection consists primarily of the family and business correspondence, business papers, legal and military documents, and memorabilia of Captain Jonathan Harrington and his immediate and extended family members of Groton Twp., Erie County, Ohio.  The collection dates from 1850 to 1915. 

Perhaps the most important portion of this collection are the 128 letters written by Captain Jonathan Harrington during his Civil War service with the 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the approximately 40 Erie County, Ohio home front letters of family, relatives, and friends.  Harrington’s correspondence, written during his continuous service with the regiment (January 1862 to September 1865), provides one of the most comprehensive records of the 72nd OVI.  Harrington’s letters offer accounts of battles; health of the regiment; camp life; military duties; comments on his comrades; and attitudes toward the enemy, command structure, and opinions regarding other officers. Harrington’s father (Ralph) died accidentally during the Civil War.  Following his death, Captain Harrington’s letters express deep concern for his family and their economic well-being.  While his widowed mother and brother Lionel managed the farm, Captain Harrington used much of his military pay to reduce debts against the Harrington land.  The collection also contains a small number of letters written by Lionel Harrington during his service in the 145th OVI. Box 1 also contains post war correspondence, applications, and affidavits concerning military pensions.  Box 4 contains the clothing ledger of Company A of the 72nd kept by Harrington; an 1861 record of disbursements for recruitment of soldiers; and a list of Company A’s equipment captured by General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s forces at the Battle of Guntown.  

Correspondence of Ralph and Anna Harrington regarding farming; family business; land transactions; and justice of the peace, school, and township government matters are included in Box 2. Affidavits, testimony, and documentation of Seth Harrington’s service as the captain of an Erie County, Ohio militia group during the War of 1812 are also a part of this collection.   There are also letters to and from Jonathan and Sarah (McKesson) Harrington before and after their marriage as well as correspondence of Jonathan and Sarah’s daughter Marietta Harrington.  During the postwar years, Lionel and his wife settled on a farm near Blissfield, Michigan.  Some of his correspondence with the Harrington relatives is also included.

Box 3 contains correspondence from relatives and friends. The letters are arranged by family, the largest grouping being the Edwards family correspondence.  Several photographs and miscellaneous invitations, advertisements, and envelopes complete the collection.

Ac. 5574
1 ½ linear feet

Box 1

1.   Jonathan Harrington, n.d./incomplete (6)
2.   Jonathan Harrington, January 1862-May 1862 (12)
3.   Jonathan Harrington, June 1862-December 1862 (10)
4.   Jonathan Harrington, January 1863-March 1863 (12)
5.   Jonathan Harrington, April 1863-August 1863 (8)
6.   Jonathan Harrington, September 1863-December 1863 (10)
7.   Jonathan Harrington, January 1864-May 1864 (9)
8.   Jonathan Harrington, June 1864-August 1864 (12)
9.   Jonathan Harrington, September 1864-December 1864 (11)
10. Jonathan Harrington, January 1865-May 1865 (15)
11. Jonathan Harrington, June 1865-August 1865 (11)
12. Ralph Harrington, October 1862-August 1863 (11)
13. Lionel Harrington (8)
14. Sarah McKesson (10)
15. Mary E.  Paxton (3)
16. Mary E.  Edwards (3)
17. M.M. Brown (1)
18. Lionel Harrington, 145th O.V.I. (6)
19. Christopher [email protected] Edwards, 72nd O.V.I. (1)
20. Spencer Russell, 72nd O.V.I. (1)
21. Nelson Barber, 72nd O.V.I. (1)
22. Pierson C.  Magill, 72nd O.V.I. (1)
23. Lester Lathrop, 55th O.V.I. (4)
24. Andrew McKesson, 101st O.V.I. (6)
25. Lyman Smith, 8th O.V.I. (1)
26. Alfred Ford (1)
27. Martin Young (1)
28. Alfred Magill (1)
29. Stephen Paxton (6)
30. H.E.H. (2)
31. F.H.K. (1)
32. Unidentified (1)
33. Civil War pension application requests, of Nelson Barber, Thomas Babcock,72nd O.V.I.
34. Jonathan Harrington pension and affidavits for J. F. Harrington, Sherman Newman, S. H. Roberts, Charles 
      Barber, W. B. Woolverton
35. Lionel Harrington commission, Ohio Volunteer Militia (1)
36. Photographs: 72nd O.V.I. Reunion (2) Charles M. Dillon Home, Fremont, Ohio, n.d.; 1909,
       location unknown.
           -Unidentified woman (CDV)
           -R. H. Young (CDV)
           -B & W Print of Capt. Jonathan Harringtion in Civil War uniform (reprint from original CDV
             image of Harrington)

Box 2

1.   Seth Harrington, affidavitBre: War of 1812 service at Bloomingville, Blockhouse (Fort Necessity), dtd. 1857
2.   Ralph & Anna Harrington, n.d. (12)
3.   Ralph & Anna Harrington, 1850-1859 (10)
4.   Ralph & Anna Harrington, 1860-1879 (15)                       
5.   Ralph Harrington, deeds/estate (8)
6.   Ralph Harrington, misc.
7.   Ralph Harrington, Justice of the Peace documents
8.   Ralph Harrington, Groton Twp. schools (18)
9.   Lionel Harrington (19)
10. Lionel Harrington, misc.
11. Jonathan & Sarah Harrington, n.d. (13)
12. Jonathan & Sarah Harrington, 1856-1869 (22)
13. Jonathan & Sarah Harrington, 1892-1915 (5)
14. Jonathan Harrington, misc.
15. Marietta Harrington, n.d./1886-1890 (15)
16. Marietta Harrington, 1891-1897 (24)

Box 3

1. Edwards Family Correspondence, 1866 - 1872 (16)
2. Guardianship affairs of minors Charles H. and George R. Edwards, 1869
3. Prouty Family Correspondence, nd. to 1869, (4)
4. H. T. Fleming Correspondence,(Groton Twp., Erie County, Ohio), 1862 - 1865 (3)
5. Rowell Correspondence, 1859 - 1864 (5)
6. M. E. Paxton, 1863 (1)
7. Willaim Deindl Correspondence (German language)
8. Harrington - Miscellaneous materials: envelopes, business and trade cards, political memorabilia, notes,
    advertisements, announcements, etc.
9. Handwritten memoir of Captain Jonathan Harrington, 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, covering period from Battle of
    Nashville (16 December 1864) until muster out, nd., np.12 pp. [Ac.5798]

Box 4

1. 72nd O.V.I. Company A Clothing Ledger, October 1861 to February 1865, 126 pp.
    Misc. notes
2. AAbstract of [email protected] for recruiting for soldiers of the 72nd OVI duirng October and November 1861
3. List of equipment items captured at the Battle of Guntown, dtd. September 30, 1864
4. Miscellaneous notes and pressed leaves