Department of Michigan
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Keith G. Harrison, PCinC
Department Commander 1985-1987
Commander in Chief 1994-1995
G. Harrison of Holt, Michigan, was elected Commander-in-Chief of
the National Organization of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil
War (SUVCW) on August 13, 1994 at the 113th National Encampment
in Lansing, Michigan. Brother Harrison's ascension represented the
fourth Michiganian in the then 113-year history of the Order and
the first in 46 years to serve in the Order's highest office. The
three other Commanders-in-Chief from Michigan prior to 1994 were:
Marvin E. Hall (1892/1893), Urion
W. Mackey (1944/1945) and Perle
L. Fouch (1948/1949). Brother Harrison served as Commander-in-Chief
until August 12, 1995.
In addition to serving as Commander-in-Chief, Brother Harrison
has served the Order in several national capacities, including:
Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief, Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief,
Patriotic Instructor, Membership-at-Large Coordinator, History Book
Coordinator, and Council of Administration member. Within his native
state of Michigan, he has served as Department Commander for three
years, Senior Vice Commander for two years, Department Council Chair
for two years, and Department Chief of Staff for seven years. He
is a charter member of Curtenius Guard Camp #17 of Lansing-Sunfield,
which he organized in 1983. Within his local camp, he has served
as Camp Commander (three years), Camp Secretary (four years), Camp
Treasurer (two years), and Camp Historian (four years). He has been
a member of the Order since 1981 and a life member since 1986.
Since serving as Commander-in-Chief, Brother Harrison has continued
to serve the Order as a member of the National Council of Administration
(1995/96), Communications Technology Committee (1995 - Present),
Constitution and Regulations Committee (1996 - 1998), National Committee
on Grand Army of the Republic Records (2001 - Present), National
Signals Officer (2000 to 2002), National Webmaster (1998 to 2002),
Backup National Webmaster (2002 to Present), and National Webmaster
for the SUVCW's Sons of Veterans Reserve (SVR) (1998 - Present).
In 1999, he was awarded the Order's Meritorious Service Award and
in 2001, he along with then National Counselor James B. Pahl were
awarded the Order's Cornelius F. Whitehouse Outstanding Brother
Brother Harrison traces his SUVCW eligibility back to 28 Michigan
Civil War soldiers, including one great-great-great-grandfather
(Captain Joseph Harper, 12th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Company
A), three great-great-grandfathers, eight great-great-granduncles,
and 16 cousins. The Michigan regiments represented by his ancestors
include the 1st, 2nd, 11th, 12th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 25th, 27th,
and 28th Volunteer Infantries; the 4th, 8th, 10th and 11th Volunteer
Cavalries; and the 13th and 14th Batteries. The regiment with the
greatest number of his ancestors was the 12th Michigan Volunteer
Infantry, with three grandfathers, four uncles and one 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. Brother Harrison also has
an ancestor who served with the Confederacy, Private James Brewster,
11th Kentucky Cavalry.
Brother Harrison was a Civil War reenactor from 1981 - 1997 and
rose through the ranks. He remains a member and former Captain of
the 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Company B., Inc. and a Major,
periodically serving as Chief of Staff with the Cumberland Guard,
a nationally recognized Civil War reenactment association. Within
the SUVCW's SVR, he served as (Brevet) Brigadier General and Commanding
Officer during 1996/97 and currently holds the rank of Major (Retired)
in the SVR Inactive Reserve. Previous SVR service includes Chief
of Infantry for the Third Military District, SVR and organizer and
Commander of the 30th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, SVR. During his
active reenactment career, he participated in more than 500 reenactments,
parades and ceremonies, and served innumerable times at reenactments
as an infantry company commander, infantry battalion commander,
and overall Union army commander. Major Harrison became knowledgeable
and well practiced in Hardee, Casey and Coupee, and competent in
1861-1865 U.S. Army company, battalion, brigade and army-level infantry
drill and tactics. He participated in most of the 125th and 130th
anniversary Civil War battle reenactments. Major Harrison's years
and reputation within the 7th Michigan and the Cumberland Guard
also resulted in him being commemorated in song:
HARRISON, KEITH HARRISON
(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 stupid song - Harrison, Keith Harrison.
Lyrics by Private Partz (Matt Merta).
© 1994 Boomba Records.
Brother Harrison belongs to several historical, patriotic, and
civic organizations, including the Military
Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS), in
which he currently serves as National Chancellor-in-Chief, National
Webmaster, and National Membership List Coordinator, and, from 1986
to 2003, Michigan Commandery Commander. He also belongs to the Society
of Mayflower Descendants; 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 (Commissioned twice, once in 1988 and again in 2003). He
also is a Mason (Lodge #252 of Okemos, Michigan and Civil War Research
Lodge #1865 of Highland Springs, Virginia).
Brother 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 90
publications addressing a wide variety of environmental, environmental
health, natural history, and resources management topics. He has
been published in local, state, national, and international societal
journals. He retired from the State of Michigan in February 2005
after serving for 25 years. 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 Governor John Engler. At one point in his career, he held
the latter three state positions simultaneously. He currently operates
his consulting firm, KGH Environmental, PLC, and serves as a special
federal employee on a subcommittee with the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency's Science Advisory Board.
Brother 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 life member of the Order. His interest in history and genealogy
peaked with the birth of his son, when he wrote and published a
350-page genealogy, The Ancestry of Nathan Lewis Harrison. The book
documents his son's ancestry back to the year 938 A.D. and identifies
more than 150 families and 1,600 individuals who preceded him. A
copy of the book was provided to the Order in 1989.