Mary Dimmick Harrison
Mary Dimmick Harrison (April 30, 1858 – January 5, 1948) was the second wife of the 23rd United States president Benjamin Harrison. She was nearly 25 years younger than Harrison, and was the niece of his first wife.
Mary Scott Lord
April 30, 1858
|Died||January 5, 1948 (aged 89)|
New York City, US
|Resting place||Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana|
Walter Erskine Dimmick (m. 1881–1882)
Benjamin Harrison (m. 1896–1901)
|Children||Elizabeth Harrison Walker|
Born in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, as Mary Scott Lord, she was the daughter of Russell Farnham Lord, chief engineer of the Delaware and Hudson Canal (later known as the Delaware and Hudson Railway), and his wife Elizabeth Mayhew Scott.
On October 22, 1881, she married Walter Erskine Dimmick (July 4, 1856 – January 14, 1882), a son of the attorney-general of Pennsylvania and brother of future Scranton mayor J. Benjamin Dimmick. He died three months after their marriage, leaving her a widow at age 23. A niece of Caroline Harrison, she in 1889 moved into the White House to serve as assistant to the First Lady. Sometime after Mrs. Harrison's death in 1892, the former president and Mrs. Dimmick fell in love and late in 1895 announced their engagement.
At age 37, she married the former president, aged 62, on April 6, 1896, at St. Thomas Protestant Episcopal Church in New York City. Harrison's grown children from his first marriage, horrified at the news, did not attend the wedding. Harrison's vice president, Levi P. Morton, and several former cabinet members were among the three dozen guests; former navy secretary Benjamin F. Tracy was best man. Without a honeymoon, the couple settled in Indianapolis.
Together, the Harrisons had one daughter:
- Elizabeth (Harrison) Walker (1897–1955), a lawyer. Born in Indianapolis, she graduated from New York University School of Law in 1919. In 1922, she married James Blaine Walker, grandnephew of her father's secretary of state James G. Blaine. She was founder and publisher of "Cues on the News", an investment newsletter for women. Their daughter, Mary Jane Walker, married Newell Garfield, a grandson of Interior Secretary James Rudolph Garfield, and great-grandson of President James Garfield.
The Harrisons traveled widely: to Venezuela, where Harrison played a role in settling a boundary dispute, and to the First Peace Conference at The Hague in 1899. Benjamin Harrison died on March 13, 1901. Mrs. Harrison survived the former president by nearly half a century. Arden Davis Melick reveals that "Mary Dimmick Harrison established The Benjamin Harrison Memorial Home in Indianapolis, Indiana." On September 1, 1914, Mary and her seventeen-year-old daughter Elizabeth returned from Europe upon the outbreak of war aboard the SS Ryndam.
- "Mrs. Benj. Harrison, Widow Of 23rd President, Dies at 89". Milwaukee Sentinel. January 6, 1948. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
Mrs. Harrison was born Mary Scott Lord in Honesdale, Pa. Her first husband, Walter Dimmick, a lawyer, died in 1882 three months after their marriage. …
- "An Old Inmate of the Family. The ex-President's Relatives Said to be Aggrieved at the Match and Inclined to Grumble. The Wedding to Take Place in St. Thomas's Church in This City April 6". New York Times. March 29, 1896. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
- Hart, Craig (2004). A Genealogy of the Wives of the American Presidents and Their First Two Generations of Descent. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-7864-1956-2.
- Arden Davis Melick, Wives of the presidents (Hammond, 1985), 53.
- 1914; Arrival; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: 2365; Line: 18; Page Number: 3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820–1897; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls); Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
- "Died". Time magazine. January 12, 1948. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
Mary Scott Lord Dimmick Harrison, 89, widow of Benjamin Harrison, 23rd U.S. President; in Manhattan. A niece of Harrison's first wife, she helped out as White House hostess during her aunt's last illness, married Harrison in 1896, 3½ years after her aunt's death, three years after Harrison left the White House.