Mary Dimmick Harrison

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Mary Dimmick Harrison
File:Mary Dimmick Harrison.jpg
Born Mary Scott Lord
(1858-04-30)April 30, 1858
Honesdale, Pennsylvania
Died January 5, 1948(1948-01-05) (aged 89)
New York City
Cause of death Asthma
Spouse(s) Walter Erskine Dimmick (m. 1881–82)
Benjamin Harrison (m. 1896–1901)
Children Elizabeth Harrison Walker
Parent(s) Russell Farnham Lord
Elizabeth Mayhew Scott

Mary Dimmick Harrison (April 30, 1858 – January 5, 1948) was the second wife of the 23rd United States president Benjamin Harrison. She was 25 years younger than Harrison, and was the niece of his first wife.


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.[1]

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.[1] 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.[1][2] 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:

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. 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."[3] On September 1, 1914, Mary and her seventeen-year-old daughter Elizabeth returned from Europe upon the outbreak of war aboard the SS Ryndam.[4]

She died in New York City on January 5, 1948 from her asthma.[1][5] She was buried in Indianapolis, Indiana in Crown Hill Cemetery.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "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. …<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Arden Davis Melick, Wives of the presidents (Hammond, 1985), 53.
  4. 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.
  5. "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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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