University Archives


Benjamin Harrison's Female Relatives Invest in Indianapolis Railroad & Stockyard

A small archive relating to the surviving female relatives of 23rd U.S. President Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901), including second wife and widow Mary Scott Lord Dimmick Harrison (1858-1948), and Harrison's daughter with her, Elizabeth Harrison Walker (1897-1955). Harrison's widow and daughter invested in Belt Railroad & Stock Yard Company (Indianapolis, Indiana) stock in the 1920s.

The lot is comprised of:

1. Stock certificate No. 2728 comprising 119 $50 shares of Belt Rail Road & Stock Yard Co. common stock issued to Mary Lord Harrison and 2x signed by her as "Mary Lord Harrison," once to the left, and once verso. Countersigned by the company president and secretary in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 26, 1920. The reverse of the stock certificate transferred Harrison's shares to an unknown presumed relative named Otto F. Harrison on January 12, 1927. Bearing an embossed seal, several star punch-outs, and two revenue stamps. The voucher at left is currently detached but included. Expected folds, light overall toning, and gentle edge darkening, else near fine. The larger portion of the certificate measures 11.5" x 9."

2. Stock certificate No. 2729 comprising 130 $50 shares of Belt Rail Road & Stock Yard Co. common stock issued to Elizabeth Harrison and 2x signed by her as "Elizabeth Harrison," once to the left, and once verso. Countersigned by the company president and secretary in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 26, 1920, but the signatures have been crossed out. The reverse of the stock certificate transferred Harrison's shares to Gavin L. Payne & Company on an unspecified date. Bearing an embossed seal, several star punch-outs, and three revenue stamps. Expected folds, else near fine. 15.5" x 9."

3. A print of Benjamin Harrison's first wife, First Lady Caroline Lavinia Harrison (1832-1892), captioned "Mrs. Benj. Harrison" underneath the portrait. 4.25" x 6.25."

Benjamin Harrison died of pneumonia at age 67 in March 1901, leaving two adult children from his first marriage to Caroline Harrison; a 42-year-old widow, second wife Mary Harrison; and his 4-year-old daughter with Mary, Elizabeth Harrison.

The Belt Rail Road & Stock Yard Company had been incorporated as the Indianapolis Belt Railway Company in 1873. The company was tasked with constructing a railroad connecting the outer city limits of Indianapolis, from North Indianapolis near the White River to the west, to Brightwood in the east. The successful establishment of the railroad coincided with the development of an enormous stockyard that, at its peak in the 1940s, processed 3,000,000 livestock a year. The company was sold in 1967.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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