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Rorison, Harmon Chadbourn, 1893-1976



  • Existence: 1893-04-15 - 1976-02-27


Harmon Chadbourn Rorison was born April 15, 1893, in Bakersville, NC, the son of Elizabeth Chadbourn Rorison and Richard Baskett Rorison. After his mother’s death, he and his brother, John Lee Rorison, moved to Wilmington, NC, to live with their aunt, Serena Chadbourn, and grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. James Harmon Chadbourn. Rorison was educated in Wilmington public schools, Jefferson School for boys of Charlottesville, VA, the University of Virginia, and the University of Georgia, where he was awarded the Bachelor of Law degree in 1916.

Rorison’s war record covers two world wars and the Russo-Polish War immediately following World War I. In the first world war, Rorison volunteered for the army, serving in the aviation section of the Signal Corps as an officer and pilot. He flew in Europe and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Then the Russo Polish War broke out over the border between the newly independent Poland and Bolshevist Russia. Rorison joined Poland’s 7th Squadron, made up of the American aviators and called the Kosciuszko Aerial Squadron in honor of Thaddeus Kosciuszko, Polish patriot who entered the American continental army as a volunteer in 1776. The Kosciuszko Squadron was commanded by Cedric E. Fauntleroy and second in command was Merian C. Cooper. Rorison had several close calls and returned home before the end of the war because of wounds. On March 14, 1921, Rorison was invited to the Legation of Poland in Washington, D.C., where he was awarded the Virtuti Militari, Medal of Valor. In Wilmington, NC, Rorison Worked for the Citizen’s Bank, the Murchison Bank, and the North Carolina Bank and Trust Company. When the Security National Bank opened in August of 1933, Rorison was elected vice-president and manager of the Wilmington branch. He held that position until his retirement in 1958, with the exception of two years for military leave of absence during World War II. In that war, Harmon Rorison served the British Eighth Army and First French Army as a volunteer ambulance driver.

Rorison was a board member of the Community Chest/United Fund, YMCA, L’ Arioso German Club, Security National Bank, Wilmington Public Library, Surf Club, and the Local (Wilmington Draft) Board No. 66, North Carolina. He was also appointed to the Morehead Scholarship Committee, Third District. Harmon Rorison belonged to several Wilmington clubs, worked for many years with Boy Scouts, and was a member of the St. James Episcopal Church.

Rorison married Margaret Devereux of Wilmington on January 31, 1924. Their two daughters are Margaret L. Rorison and Mary Ann Rorison Caws. Harmon C. Rorison died on February 27, 1976.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Harmon C. Rorison Private Papers

Identifier: SC-MS-017
Scope and Contents This collection contains materials pertaining to the life and military career of Harmon C. Rorison, a military officer, pilot, and banker from Wilmington, North Carolina. The bulk of the materials in this collection pertain to Rorison’s military service during World War I, the Russo-Polish War (also known as the Polish-Soviet War), and World War II. The military-related materials include correspondence, including a letter to Rorison from Merian Cooper; copies of U.S. and Polish military...
Dates: 1819, 1900-1990

Robert J. Cooke Collection

Identifier: SC-MS-214
Scope and Contents This collection consists of material collected by Robert J. Cooke from various presidential elections from the late 1960s to the early 1990s, primarily at the respective Democratic Conventions. Items include copies of speeches, pamphlets, publications, press badges, ads, biographies, and campaign material. Candidates of note include Governor George C. Wallace, President Jimmy Carter, and President Bill Clinton. A selection of Cooke's research on the Rorison family of Wilmington, North...
Dates: 1967-2013, undated; Majority of material found in 1976, 1992

Rorison family research, 1968-2013, undated

 File — Box 1, Folder: 17
Scope and Contents

Contains Cooke's research on the Rorison family of North Carolina, especially of Harmon Chadbourn Rorison and John C. Rorison, brothers who served in World War I and World War II. This includes newspaper articles, photographs, newsletters, typed notes, and two CDs containing files and photos. The majority of the material is copies of the original documents.

Dates: 1968-2013, undated