Constance Fairfax Cary

Constance Fairfax Cary

Female 1843 - 1920  (77 years)

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  • Name Constance Fairfax Cary  [1
    Born 25 Apr 1843  Port Gibson, Claiborne, Mississippi, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Gender Female 
    Burial 1920  Ivy Hill Cem, Alexandria, Independent Cities, Virginia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Buried 1920  Alexandria, Independent Cities, Virginia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Died 21 Nov 1920  Washington, District of Columbia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Person ID I5339  mytree
    Last Modified 1 Jan 2021 

    Father Archibald Cary,   b. Abt 1815, Carysbrook, Fluvanna, Virginia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1854, Cumberland, Allegany, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 39 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Monimia Fairfax,   b. 1820, Fairfax, Virginia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1875, Fairfax, Virginia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 55 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Married Bef Jul 1838 
    Family ID F2236  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Burton Norvell Harrison,   b. 14 Jul 1838, New Orleans, Orleans, Louisiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Mar 1904, Washington, District of Columbia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 65 years) 
    Married 26 Nov 1867  [1, 3, 4
    Notes 
    • Burton Harrison was private secretary to President Davis, President of the Confederate States.
    Children 
     1. Fairfax Harrison,   b. 13 Mar 1869  [natural]
     2. Francis Burton Harrison,   b. 18 Dec 1873  [natural]
     3. Archibald Cary Harrison,   b. 21 Oct 1876  [natural]
    Last Modified 1 Jan 2021 
    Family ID F2238  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 25 Apr 1843 - Port Gibson, Claiborne, Mississippi, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - 1920 - Ivy Hill Cem, Alexandria, Independent Cities, Virginia, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 1920 - Alexandria, Independent Cities, Virginia, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 21 Nov 1920 - Washington, District of Columbia, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • Constance Fairfax Cary was an American writer. She was also known as Constance Cary, Constance C. Harrison, and Mrs. Burton Harrison, as well as by her nom de plume, Refugitta. She was married to Burton Harrison, a lawyer and American democratic politician. She and two of her cousins were known as the "Cary Invincibles"; the three sewed the first examples of the Confederate Battle Flag.

      Constance Fairfax Cary was born at Port Gibson, Mississippi, into a planter aristocrat family, to Archibald Cary and Monimia Fairfax. Archibald Cary was the son of Wilson Jefferson Cary and Virginia Randolph. Monimia Fairfax was the daughter of Thomas Fairfax, 9th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, and Margaret Herbert who was the granddaughter of John Carlyle and Sarah Fairfax. Archibald Cary was a subscriber to the Monticello Graveyard (1837). They lived at Cumberland, Maryland, where he was editor of its leading newspaper, The Cumberland Civilian. When he died in 1854, her mother, Monimia, moved the family, in with her grandmother at Vaucluse Plantation in Fairfax County, Virginia, until the outbreak of the Civil War.

      After the seizure of Vaucluse and its demolition (to construct Fort Worth, as a part of the defenses of Washington, D.C.) she lived in Richmond, Virginia during the American Civil War and moved in the same set as Varina Davis, Mary Boykin Chesnut, and Virginia Clay-Clopton. She was published in Southern magazines under the pen name "Refugitta."

      Constance Cary lived with her Baltimore cousins, Hetty and Jennie; her mother served as the girls' chaperone. The three young ladies became known as the "Cary Invincibles." In September 1861, they sewed the first examples of the Confederate Battle Flag following a design created by William Porcher Miles and modified by General Joseph E. Johnston. According to her own account, one flag was given to General Joseph E. Johnson, one to Confederate general P. G. T. Beauregard, and hers to Confederate general Earl Van Dorn. Later during the war, she assisted her mother as a nurse at Camp Winder.

      She later met Burton Harrison (1838-1904), a private secretary for Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and helped win his release from Fort Delaware after the war's end.

      Harrison and her mother spent the winter of 1865 in Paris before returning to New York City in 1866. She and Burton Harrison were married on November 26, 1867, at St. Anne's Church, in Westchester County, New York. Their wedding breakfast was at Morrisania, the country home of her uncle, Gouverneur Morris. Burton Harrison held various public offices while Constance spent her time writing and being involved in the city's social scene. They were the parents of Fairfax Harrison (March 13, 1869 - February 2, 1938), who was a President of the Southern Railway Company, and Francis Burton Harrison (December 13, 1873- November 22, 1957), who served as a Governor-General of the Philippines.

      Among her other contributions to American literature, Constance Cary Harrison persuaded her friend Emma Lazarus to donate a poem to the fundraising effort to pay for a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty.

      In 1871, the Harrisons first visited Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, Maine, staying at the cottage of Captain Royal George Higgins. Sometime in the 1880s, they commissioned Arthur Rotch of the architectural firm Rotch & Tilden to build a seaside cottage called Sea Urchins, with a garden designed by Beatrix Farrand. The property now is owned by the College of the Atlantic, transformed into Deering Common, student center. Sea Urchins was the center of hospitality during the "Gilded Age" in Bar Harbor and she entertained many noted visitors there, including friend and neighbor James G. Blaine, who lived at Stanwood. The Harrisons' winter home was a mansion on East 29th Street, New York. [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constance_Cary_Harrison]

  • Sources 
    1. [S109] Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer, General G. Moxley Sorrel, (Name: Morningside Bookshop;), Page 52.

    2. [S350] Wikipedia, Constance Cary Harrison.

    3. [S57] Find A Grave.

    4. [S50] Dinwiddie Papers.


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