There is some discrepancy with regard to the date and location of Harrison Whitson's Birth. According to most available records, he was born between 1787 and 1789 in Virginia. The 1860 census of , Perry County, Tennessee, lists his birthplace as Kentucky. All other census records and all other Records list Virginia and it appears most likely that he was born in Virginia.
In 1813, Harrison was residing in White, Tennessee when he was drafted for service in the War with the Creek Indians, also known as the War of 1812. Pension papers describe Harrison as having a fair complexion and blue eyes at the time of his enlistment. Military records show his service to be for the West Tennessee Militia, Col Lowry, Lt. Col. Hammons, and Capt Asahel Rain's of Inf., 2nd Reg't of Tennessee Militia.
By 17 August 1819, Harrison is living on Cedar Creek, Perry County, Tennessee where he signed petition requesting grant of 20 acres to Andrew Stobaugh, Sr., a soldier of the Revolution.
Harrison does not appear in the 1820 census of Tennessee, however, on the 18 June 1820, he signed a petition requesting that the southern line of Humphries, Tennessee, remain unaltered.
The 1830 census shows Harrison residing in a household consisting of 1000001-100001, that is one male under age 5 (Alfred) , one male aged 40 to 50 (Harrison), one female under 5 (Naomi) and one female aged 30 to 40 (unidentified first wife). Since this female was born between 1790 and 1800, it is not Lydia Tracy who was born 25 July 1809. There are no identified records which indicate whether Harrison's first, unidentified wife moved with him from White or if they were married after his move to Perry County. Since Harrison was known to be in Perry County in 1819 and there are no children over age 5, it is likely that the marriage took place after the move to Perry
At the 1830 census, John Tracy, the father of Harrison's second wife, Lydia Tracy, is found living next door. According to Sisler, an Andrew Whitson lives next door on the other side. This Andrew Whitson is not yet identified.
At the 1850 Perry census, taken 4 Sept 1850 Harrison, aged 61, is residing in household 95. Harrison is living with second wife, Lydia Tracy Whitson. Five sons, two by the first marriage; Alphage (Alfred), 22, and John C., 16; and three by second marriage; Pleasant, 6; Thomas, 4; and James, 2 are also living in the household. Based on the ages of the children, it appears that the first wife is dead and Harrison has married Lydia by 1843.
In a letter dated 09 Nov 1850 from Law Firm, Smith & Jones, Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee, Harrison makes application for Bounty Land under act of Congress approved 28 Sept 1850. Between 1850 and 1855, Harrison legally disposed of 80 acres granted by BLWT 5621. On 25 Apr 1855, Harrison applied for additional Bounty Land under act of Congress approved 3 Mar 1855.
Both the 1860 and 1870 census find Harrison living with his son, John C. Whitson and family. The 1860 census finds Pleasant Whitson as single head of household.
On 24 Oct 1872, Harrison applied for a pension due to his War of 1812 service.Apparently, when Harrison applied for his pension, there was some difficulty locating his service record. There is a letter from an attorney stating that there are no roles of Capt. John Raines company on file at the department. Harrison, at approximately 87 years of age, retained a clear mind and somewhat of a temper. His response to this query was, 'What I say once I will say again my captain's name was (underlined) John Rains, though he might have had a double name, but if he did I never heard of it to my recollection. Harrison Whitson is thought to be buried in Craig Cemetery, Perry County County, Tennessee. The land where Craig Cemetery is located was owned by John Tracy, father of Harrison's second wife, Lydia Tracy Whitson.