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Massey White Harbison

Massey White Harbison

Massey "Mercy" White Harbison, born 1770 Somerset Co., NJ, died 1837 in Western Pennsylvania.

Massey came to Western Pennsylvania in her early teens with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward White. Her father was a Revolutionary War veteran and received land in the "West" in exchange for his service in the War. They got stalled in their western progression because of Indian uprisings and while they were living just north of Pittsburgh in Butler County, Massey met and married John Harbison, an Indian fighter and scout.

On 22 May 1792, Massey was kidnapped from her cabin by Indians and taken with her baby across the Allegheny River into Indian territory. Two of her little boys were killed by the Indians. Massey escaped from the Indians a few days later and made her way, barefoot, carrying her baby, back through the forests to the Allegheny River, where men rowed across and picked her up and carried her to medical care. Years later Massey wrote a book about her harrowing escape and used the proceeds to support herself in her old age.

Butler County was huge at the time of Massey's kidnapping and it extended clear up to Lake Erie. It has been divided several times since, but the area in which Massey lived is still Butler County.

Submitted by Patricia Donley Mellor, 5th great granddaughter of Massey Harbison. Photo courtesy of Pamela and Manny Mellor


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