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 • Coffee County
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William "Grancer - Grand Sir" Harrison
Birth: 1789
Edgefield County
South Carolina, USA
Death: May, 1860
Coffee County
Alabama, USA

The passing years did not decrease his love for dancing but at last he realized that his frolicking days would soon end. He began to talk of death not in a morbid way but with the practiced approach of a businessman preparing for the inevitable. "I want to be buried right here," he told his family, pointing to a spot only a few yards from his dance hall. "I want to be where I can hear those fiddles and feel the rhythm of the dancing feet."

Having selected his final resting place, he began making other preparations. He sent his servants to Milton, Florida, to bring back a load of brick from the kiln there, and upon their return, he set his skilled brick masons to constructing his tomb. This tomb, all above ground, was unusually wide so that it could hold the feather bed on which he wished to be buried. The top of his tomb remained opened awaiting his death, and a wooden pavilion was built over the burial plot to protect it from the weather.

His instructions were explicit, "When I die," he said, "I want to be dressed in my dancing clothes with my dancing shoes on my feet. Then I want to be placed on my feather be and carried to my tomb. After I've been laid in it, I want my workmen to take the brick we saved for the purpose--they know where the bricks are stored---and seal the top and the dancing must goon in my dance hall."

These instructions were carried out faithfully when he died, and for awhile the dances continued but somehow the gatherings were not much fun without him there to call the figures and to teach new dances and to stir up the dust with his fancy dance steps. Gradually, folks quit coming and the hall was seldom used.

It was soon after, his friends stopped congregating in the dance hall that people going down the road near his tomb reported hearing a rollicking fiddle and dancing feet. These first stories rough scoffs of disbelief from listeners, but more and more people told of hearing old fiddle tunes and rhythmic tapping of shoes coming from the Harrison burying ground, particularly on Saturday nights.

Frequently horses and mules shield and bolted as they approached the place, and their drivers were certain that the animals, too, heard the sounds of the ghostly dance. And those who heard it, declared there was no doubt that the ghost of Grancer Harrison was dancing again, stirring up a dust to the lively tunes he loved.

In recent years, John A. Burgess of The Opp News has collected stories about Grancer Harrison and has compiled much information about this colorful Coffee County citizen. He often goes to the Harrison Cemetery near Kinston to visit Grancer's grave and to look out from the high plateau across the river valley and the gently rolling hills. Strolling along the plateau, he tries to imagine where the Harrison home stood and what it looked like, and sometimes he tries to recreate in imagination the gay dances in Grancer's hall.
He says he is not a real believer in the supernatural but this is what happened to him: One day he was out with his dogs in the vicinity of the Cemetery. It was a still, bright, sunny afternoon. He walked the rise toward the cemetery and paused at the top to look out across the countryside and to wonder how many times Grancer must have delighted in the same magnificent view. Thinking of Grancer, he turned toward the brick tomb. At that very instant the sun disappeared behind a black cloud and a cold gust of wind swept past him and in the cemetery, a swirl of dust danced from Grancer's sheltered tomb.

Continued reading: 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey, written by Kathryn Tucker Windham and Margaret Gillis Figh.

Family links: 
  William Henry Harrison (1758 - 1832)
  Nancy Justice Harrison (1787 - 1867)*
  Charlotta Harrison (1821 - 1899)*
  James M. Harrison (1822 - 1864)*
  Frances Harrison Fleming (1823 - 1894)*
  John A. Harrison (1824 - 1864)*
  Sarah Harrison Adams (1824 - 1860)*
  William A. Harrison (1827 - 1864)*
  Moses M. Harrison (1830 - 1866)*
  Martha Patsy Harrison Paul (1831 - ____)*
  James Harrison (1788 - 1848)*
  William Harrison (1789 - 1860)
*Calculated relationship
Harrison Cemetery
Coffee County
Alabama, USA
Maintained by: Barb
Originally Created by: Anonymous
Record added: May 26, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19539074
William Grancer - Grand Sir Harrison
Added by: Carl Whigham
William Grancer - Grand Sir Harrison
Added by: Barb
William Grancer - Grand Sir Harrison
Added by: Barb
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Rest on, Grandpa, rest on.
- Barbara A. Harrison-Hurst
 Added: Dec. 10, 2016
4th great uncle
- Bette Ward
 Added: Oct. 25, 2016
A dancing bear in your memory. May you rest in eternal peace, with our Father in Heaven.
- Winnette
 Added: Oct. 17, 2016
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