Harriton House/The Harriton Association
The Harriton Association is a non-profit organization that exists to educate the public and to promote and preserve the 1704 Harriton House, an early colonial estate in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania. Harriton House was originally called Bryn Mawr by the builder and original owner Rowland Ellis, an immigrant from Wales who settled here to escape religious persecution. In 1720, Ellis sold his house, land, and improvements to Richard Harrison. Harriton renamed the house Harriton and operated a successful tobacco plantation here until the mid-1740s. The house and property were inherited by Harrison’s daughter Hannah Harrison in 1774. Shortly after inheriting, Hannah was married to Charles Thomson. Hannah and Charles Thomson lived at Harriton between 1789 and her death in 1808 and his death in 1824. A scholar, philosopher, and gentleman farmer, Charles Thomson, was Secretary to the Continental and Confederation congresses and in this role designed the great seal of the United States and orchestrated the process of the 13 Colonies becoming the United States of America. An abolitionist, activist, and great friend to Native Americans, he was known as “Weg-woo-law-mo-end (phonetic spelling)” or “The man who stands and tells the truth.” A little-known founding father, Charles Thomson retired to Harriton House after delivering the news to George Washington that he was to become the first President of the United States. During his years living at Harriton House, Thomson delved into beekeeping, farming, animal husbandry, and his great love, scholarship. The Association offers programs and educational opportunities centering around the more than 300 years of history that happened here at Harriton House.