Commanders-in-Chief Biographies

Keith Graham Harrison
Commander-in-Chief 2009 - 2011

Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States

Keith G. Harrison, of Holt, Michigan, was elected as the 58th Commander-in-Chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) on October 10, 2009, in Fort Knox, Kentucky. He was the second Companion from Michigan (the other being James Vernor Jr., 1941 1947) to serve as Commander-in-Chief in the history of the Order. He also is the fourth Companion to have served as the Commander-in-Chief of both the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) and the MOLLUS (the other three being US Grant III, Gordon R. Burry, and Lowell V. Hammer). He has been a hereditary member of the Order since 1985 and has served as Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief, Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief, Chancellor-in-Chief, National Membership List Coordinator, National Membership Contact, National Webmaster, and Michigan Commandery Commander, Registrar, and Webmaster. In 2010, he was interviewed by Michigan History Magazine.

Past Commander-in-Chief Harrison traces his MOLLUS eligibility back to two Union officers, Captain Joseph S. Harper, Company A, 12th Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Infantry (great great great grandfather) and 1st Lieutenant Perry A. Tietsort, Company K, 60th United States Colored Troops (great great granduncle). His ancestry includes 45 Union Civil War soldiers. Forty of those soldiers served from Michigan and included 1 great great great grandfather, 3 great great grandfathers, 1 great great great grand uncle, 12 great great granduncles, and 28 cousins. The Michigan units in which his ancestors served included the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 23rd, 25th, 27th, and 28th Volunteer Infantries; the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 10th and 11th Volunteer Cavalries; 1st Light Artillery, and 13th and 14th Batteries. The remaining five Union Civil War ancestors (1 great great granduncle and 4 cousins) served in the 60th United States Colored Troops and the 1st Colorado Volunteer Infantry, 15th United States Infantry, 3rd United States Artillery, and the Army of the Ohio (Major General Don Carolos Buell), respectively. The regiment with the greatest number of his ancestors was the 12th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, with 1 great great great grandfather, 2 great great grandfathers, 4 great great granduncles, and 1 cousin. The 12th Michigan went directly from Niles, Michigan, to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, two weeks before the Battle of Shiloh. During that battle, several of his relatives were captured. Companion Harrison also has one Confederate ancestor, Private James Brewster (3rd Cousin 4 times removed), who served with Company K, 11th Kentucky Cavalry, under General John Hunt Morgan (see List of Ancestors).

Companion Harrison has been a Civil War reenactor since 1982 and rose through the ranks. He remains a member and former Captain of the 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Company B., an honorary member of the 3rd Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Company K, 5th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Company K and 14th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Company A, 15th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Company B, and a Major, periodically serving in the capacity of Chief of Staff or Assistant Adjutant General with the Cumberland Guard, a nationally recognized Civil War reenactment association. Within the Congressionally Chartered SUVCWs Sons of Veterans Reseve (SVR), he served as Brevet Brigadier General and Commanding Officer during 1996/97 and currently holds the rank of Major (Retired) in the SVR. He has participated in more than 550 reenactments, parades, living histories, and ceremonies, and served innumerable times at reenactments as an infantry company commander, infantry battalion commander, and overall Union army commander. Major Harrison is very knowledgeable and well-practiced in Hardee (1855), Casey (1862), and Coppee (1862) Field Manuals, and highly competent in 1861-1865 U.S. Army company, battalion, brigade, and army-level infantry drill and tactics. He has participated in most of the national 125th - 145th anniversary Civil War battle reenactments and is beginning to now participate in the Civil War Sesquicentennial (150th) national reenactment events. Major Harrison's years and reputation within the 7th Michigan and the Cumberland Guard also resulted in he being commemorated in song:

            (Sung to the tune of Maryland, My Maryland)

            He sets up early Friday night - Harrison, Keith Harrison.
            One of the first upon the site - Harrison, Keith Harrison.
            He's drilled us all on how to fight,
            He's told us what's wrong and what's right,
            The smile comes from his beard so white- Harrison, Keith Harrison.

            He takes the role of staff chief - Harrison, Keith Harrison.
            His soldiers have the golden leaf - Harrison, Keith Harrison.
            Your knowledge is beyond belief,
            With cartridges between our teeth,
            We'll follow you, oh Major Keith - Harrison, Keith Harrison.

            When rain clouds cover up the sky - Harrison, Keith Harrison.
            And shelter tents can't keep us dry - Harrison, Keith Harrison.
            You make the boring times go by,
            And that is why we wonder why,
            You just can't help but like this guy - Harrison, Keith Harrison.

            To battle he will march along - Harrison, Keith Harrison.
            With guiding words to make us strong - Harrison, Keith Harrison.
            If you're a farb and look all wrong,
            He'll make you feel like you belong,
            To you we sing this song - Harrison, Keith Harrison.

            Lyrics by Private Partz (Matt Merta).
            © 1994 Boomba Records.

Companion Harrison belongs to several historical, patriotic, and civic organizations, including the SUVCW (in which he served as National Commander-in-Chief in 1994/95), Society of Mayflower Descendants, William Brewster Society, Society of Colonial Wars, Sons of the Revolution, Society of the War of 1812, Morgan's Men Association Inc., Military Order of the World Wars, and Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels (in which he was commissioned twice, 1988 and 2003). He is a member of the Masonic Lodge #252 of Okemos, Michigan and life member of the Civil War Research Lodge #1865 of Highland Springs, Virginia. He also serves as President of the Eaton Rapids, Michigan GAR Memorial Hall and Museum, Inc., as Treasurer of the state-affiliated Friends of Michigan History, Inc. and as Chair of the state-affiliated Michigan Civil War Sesquicentennial History Partners, which is formally charged with the responsibility to assist the Michigan Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission in the planning, promotion, and implementation of the Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration in the state.

Companion Harrison is a 1968 graduate of Cassopolis (Michigan) High School. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree (1972) in fisheries and wildlife biology from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts degree (1974) in ecology from Western Michigan University. He is licensed as a Registered Sanitarian and as a Registered Environmental Health Specialist, and is nationally certified as a Senior Ecologist. His professional research and work have resulted in more than 100 publications addressing a wide variety of environmental, environmental health, natural history, and natural resources management topics. He has been published in local, state, national, and international societal scientific journals, authored a book on the Natural History of Cass County, Michigan (1979), and more recently, served as editor of three Michigan governmental publications on the State of Michigan's Environment (2003, 2005, and 2008).

Companion Harrison retired from Michigan state government in February 2005 after serving for 25 years. Prior to his state service, he had served as a Sanitarian with Cass County (Michigan) Health Department, Chief Environmental Planner with the Michiana Area Council of Governments, Environmental Programs Coordinator with the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, and Senior Ecologist with an environmental engineering consulting company. During his state career, he served as a Public Health Consultant with the Department of Public Health, Senior Environmental Specialist with the Toxic Substance Control Commission, Environmental Affairs Manager for the Department of Corrections, Director of the Environmental Administration Division within the Department of Management and Budget, Director of the Office of Special Environmental Projects within the Department of Environmental Quality, Acting Director of the Office of the Great Lakes, and Executive Director of the Michigan Environmental Science Board. The latter two positions were gubernatorial appointments by then Michigan Governor John Engler. Upon his retirement, his public service career was acknowledged with tributes from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Michigan State Senate, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, the U.S. House of Representatives, and then President and First Lady of the United States, George and Laura Bush. From 2005 - 2011, Mr. Harrison operated a small consulting firm, KGH Environmental PLC. He also served as a special federal employee on a subcommittee with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Board during this time.

Companion Harrison has been married twice, his first marriage to Linda (Dodson) Harrison in 1976, and his second to Jean (Whitmer) Harrison in 1990. He has one son, Nathan Lewis Harrison, who is a member of the Order. Companion Harrison's interest in history and genealogy peaked with the 1983 birth of his son, and ultimately resulted in his publication in 1989 of a 350-page genealogy entitled, The Ancestry of Nathan Lewis Harrison. This first book identified more than 150 families and 1,600 individuals. In 2008, he published a 648-page update entitled, The Ancestry of Nathan Lewis Harrison - Revisited Nineteen Years Later. The second book documents over 1,500 ancestral families and over 6,000 individuals. He currently is working on a book on the Civil War soldiers from Cass County, Michigan.

(May 2014)

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(Keith G. Harrison's Union Ancestors)

1st Lt William H. Sherman Co F, 1st MI Vol Inf 1st Cousin (4R)
1st Lt Edward Sherman Co D, 2nd MI Vol Inf 1st Cousin (4R)
Pvt David Buell Co M, 3rd MI Vol Inf 6th Cousin (4R)
Pvt George Buell Co M, 3rd MI Vol Inf 6th Cousin (4R)
Pvt Thomas H. Higgins Co G, 11th MI Vol Inf GGG Uncle
Pvt William H. Sherman Co E, 11th MI Vol Inf 1st Cousin (4R)
Capt Joseph S. Harper Co A, 12th MI Vol Inf GGG Grandfather
Pvt Benjamin Higgins Co A, 12th MI Vol Inf GG Grandfather
Cpl John Higgins Co A, 12th MI Vol Inf GGG Uncle
Pvt James P. Higgins Co A, 12th MI Vol Inf GGG Uncle
Pvt Edward Graham Co A, 12th MI Vol Inf GGG Uncle
Pvt Henry C. Graham Co A, 12th MI Vol Inf GGG Uncle
Pvt Charles Cleveland Co A, 12th MI Vol Inf 1st Cousin (4R)
Pvt Harvey Harper Co H, 12th MI Vol Inf 1st Cousin (4R)
Pvt Timothy Sargent Co F, 14th MI Vol Inf GGG Uncle
Pvt George Sargent Co F, 14th MI Vol Inf GGG Uncle
Sgt Robert Harper Co A, 15th MI Vol Inf 1st Cousin (4R)
1st Lt George H. Brewster Co F, 18th MI Vol Inf 3rd Cousin (5R)
Pvt Elmore F. Lewis Co H, 19th MI Vol Inf GG Grandfather
Pvt Horace Buell Co K 23rd MI Vol Inf 6th Cousin (4R)
Pvt Hiram L. Brewster Co G, 25th MI Vol Inf 3rd Cousin (5R)
Pvt Daniel P. Sherman Co I, 27th MI Vol Inf 1st Cousin (4R)
Pvt Nathan Pemberton Co H, 28th Mi Vol Inf GGG Uncle
Sgt James Buell Co M, 3rd MI Vol Cav 6th Cousin (4R)
Pvt Francis B. Lewis Co D, 4th MI Vol Cav GGG Uncle
Pvt James H. Lewis Co D, 4th MI Vol Cav GGG Uncle
Pvt John Buell Co K, 5th MI Vol Cav 6th Cousin (4R)
2nd Lt Andrew Guilford Co K, 8th MI Vol Cav 1st Cousin (4R)
Capt Franklin Sherman Co A, 10th MI Vol Cav 1st Cousin (4R)
Pvt Nelson C. Sherman Co H, 10th MI Vol Cav 1st Cousin (4R)
Pvt William Sherman Co H, 10th MI Vol Cav 1st Cousin (4R)
Sgt Burwell Hinchman Co K, 11th MI Vol Cav 1st Cousin (3R)
Pvt Francis J. Patrick Batty A, 1st MI Lt Artillery GGG Uncle
Pvt Jesse Sherman 13th Michigan Battery 1st Cousin (4R)
Pvt Isaac S. Pound 14th Michigan Battery GG Grandfather
Pvt Eliphalet Pemberton 14th Michigan Battery 1st Cousin (5R)
Cpl Christopher Patrick 14th Michigan Battery GGGG Uncle
Pvt Steven Goff 14th Michigan Battery 4th Cousin
Pvt Sylvester Goff 14th Michigan Battery 4th Cousin
Pvt William H. Goff 14th Michigan Battery 4th Cousin
1st Lt Perry A. Tietsort Co K, 60th USCT GGG Uncle
1st Lt Julius Octavius Buell Co E, 1st Colorado Vol Inf 4th Cousin (6R)
Bvt Brig Gen Thomas W. Sherman 3rd United States Artillery 6th Cousin (4R)
Col George Pearson Buell, Jr 15th United States Infantry 4th Cousin (6R)
Maj Gen Don Carlos Buell Army of the Ohio 4th Cousin (6R)

(Keith G. Harrison's Confederate Ancestor)

Pvt James Brewster Co K, 11th KY Vol Cav 3rd Cousin (4R)

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