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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF JUDGE BAZIL HARRISON

BY A. D. P. VAN BUREN

Mrs. Daniels was well acquainted with him, and he counted her as one of his favored friends. She met him frequently during his visits and relates to us one occasion in particular upon which Judge Harrison's connection with the story was discussed. This was one day, probably in the summer of 184(5, when Mr. Cooper was the guest of Mr. Comstock, and at the time he was writing the book. On that day, Mrs. Daniels tells us, Mr. Cooper spent hours talking with her and others of the guests about Judge Harrison, his family and pioneer history, his relations with the Indians, his bee hunting proclivities, and various other matters connected with the early settlement of Kalamazoo and the country hereabouts. It was known then that he was writing a book, the scene of which was laid here, and he made no concealment of the purpose for which he sought his information, and stated openly the character he proposed to make out of Judge Harrison. Mrs. Daniels had come to Kalamazoo when a little girl, in 1834, and was well acquainted with the Harrisons as well as all of the early settlers. She was one well prepared to give such information as Mr. Cooper sought, and he afterward acknowledged her services in this resj»ect, by prerenting her with a copy of the "Oak Openings, " and at that time he told her that Judge Harrison was the original of the "Bee Hunter. " Mrs. Daniels also informs us that in frequent conversations with the old Judge he lias stated to her that he understood that he was the person Cooper had in mind when he created "Buzzing Ben" and also that he had been so informed by Cooper himself. Last year we ourselves questioned Judge Harrison on this point, but his mind was not then clear enough to comprehend the question. We have made a great deal of research to fix the identity of the "Bee Hunter" beyond question, and have talked with scores of old settlers.

Michigan


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