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The Larrisons

              Before Greenberry came to Illinois, his father and his nine brothers and sisters came to Waynesville, IL, and Greenberry settled there as well in 1831. He made his living by cutting cordwood and making rails. Cutting wood and selling it for lumber was a common way of bartering for the necessities of life in early McLean County, as seen in the Thomas Fell Daybook. Mr. Larrison also told a tale of a young litter of pigs he purchased and then saw carried away by the wolves of McLean County. Wolves were the main predators of McLean County, and a bounty was put on their pelts in the 1830s.


              Greenberry Larrison took out a license in 1833 to have a tavern in Bloomington. It was first located in the rear of Sam Livingston’s clothing store on Front Street, between Main and Center. He kept a gambling room on the second floor. He liked to tell the story of how he courted his wife, Araline Whitehead, when they lived in Ohio. He was just seventeen and thought that the way to court her was to show his hunting prowess. He shot a fine buck near his father’s home, cut off its head and put it on a stick to display to Araline. Larrison also served as constable and sheriff of McLean County for seven years. He was the third sheriff, but the first to take a prisoner (a counterfeiter) to the penitentiary.


               In 1850, Larrison joined a group of 50 men or so who were going west to the gold fields. In the "town" of Rough and Ready, California Larrison did not strike it rich, but took over two years to make enough money to make his way home again. In California the more established miners had a ruse for acquiring new mules. When a greenhorn had recently purchased a mule, another man would claim the mule as his lost mule and several of his friends would join in this ruse and thereby acquire the mule through a legal proceeding. Larrison sold a mule to Solomon Baker for $70 (a princely sum!), and Baker lost the mule in just such a scam. Baker came back to Larison however for the sale price and apparently was out nothing, so the joke was on Larrison.


                Greenberry and Araline had seven children that lived to adulthood. Two sons fought in the Civil War, George in the 2nd Cavalry and Greenbery Jr. in the 3rd Cavalry. Their last descendant to live and die in McLean County was Frederick Larrison, the son of Greenberry Jr., who died in 1969 and lived at White Place.

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