Harris - Thomas E. - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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Harris - Thomas E.

Source: H. W. Beckwith History of Montgomery County, Indiana. (Chicago: HH Hill, 1881) p 367

In the fall of 1836 Thomas E. HARRIS bought 95 acres in the NW  1/4 Sec 25 (Walnut Twp). Even at this late day, though nearly all  the land had been entered, the says he found here and there a  little log cabin. Some had cut the wood partly from their  dooryards, and cleared an acre or so for corn. After purchasing  his land, Mr. Harris erected a house 16 x 18, 7' to the caves  from floor, roof of clapboards fastened down by poles (nails cost  too much), small round poles for joist and on these riven or  split boards for floor, two half logs sawed out of the side of  the house for a window two feet wide and 15 inches deep. in  winter this hole in the wall was covered with greased paper, wood  and clay chimney and fireplace 5' wide. Mr. H. lived in this  house six years and this was his courtroom. He was elected JP  soon after his arrival, and he held court at home. Within these  walls, Ben. F. RISTINE of Crawfordsville bar, made one of this  first speeches if not his maiden speech. An important case was to  be tried at the HARRIS court of justice. One KELLISON had  assaulted one George TIPTON with a knife and Kellison was  arrested for assault and battery and Ristine was employed as  defense, while Harris acted for plaintiff. Witnesses were  examined and the rising attorney, with the pomp the profession  always gives its practitioners, in language most emphatic, no  matter how argumentative, made his oratorical effort. How  different the surroundings from the lawyer! The plea was made,  the evidence weighed by the magistrate, and defendant bound over  to the circuit court. But just then a whisper ran throughout the  court room that the assault occurred over the line in Boone Co.  This whisper reached the ear of the dispenser of justice and put  a damper on all proceedings. Tipton, the plaintiff, acknowledged  the report to be true, and as the jurisdiction of that court did  not extend beyond the Montgomery line, the prisoner was  dismissed. The lawyer ret. to the city and the judge resumed his  farm duties. No six years of his life has Squire Harris enjoyed  as those lived in that log cot. But success wanted a change, so a  new hewn log dwelling was erected, 18 x 24 brick chimney, the  brick of which he moulded and burned himself. He got some lumber  and partitioned this, making two rooms. It also had an upstairs.  This was his abode for 16 years.
Source: H. W. Beckwith History of Montgomery County, Indiana.   (Chicago: HH Hill, 1881) p 386

Thomas E. HARRIS, farmer, New Ross is one of the old settlers  of Walnut Twp, and has been among her most prominent citizens.  Mr. H. was b. Sept 15, 1804 in Buckingham Co, Va. His father,  James Harris, was a native of the same place, and became a  leading planter, and was a lifelong democrat. He d. in 1853 at an  advanced age. His father, John Harris and grandfather to Thomas  E., fought in the revolution and was at Yorktown when Cornwallis  surrendered. The PENDLETON S and FREEMAN S, famous in Va, are  relatives of the Harrises. The mother of Thomas E., Ellen  (STAPLES) was an amiable woman, and d. in 1835 from sorrow at  losing her son while he was at medical college at Philadelphia.  Thomas E. Harris was raised ont he Va. farm. At the age of 22, in  1826, he was marr. to Rebecca POWERS and raised 9 children, four  of whom are living and following successful occupations and  upright lives, which is very gratifying to their father. These  four are: John F; James S; Mary A. and Martha E. In 1836, in the  fall, Mr. & Mrs. H, with their family, emigrated to  Montgomery Co. and settled in Walnut Twp, where he now lives. He  bought 95 acres of the NW 1/4 of Sec 25. Here he built a cabin  and proceeded to prepare for future years. Many were his  privations and hardships, yet happiness and love reigned within  the cabin of round logs for six years. About 1842 Mr. H. built a  hewn log house and was very particular to make it "neat." The  bricks he moulded and burned for the chimney. This house was 18 x  24 "with upstairs" and two rooms below. This was his habitation  for 15 years. he then erected a fine frame house, 18 x 30, with  ell 16 x 18, two stories. In 1868 he lost this by fire, yet  nothing daunted, he built his present commodious dwelling, 28 x  33, two stories at a cost of about $2,000. He has added to his  orig. 95 acres till he owns 381 acres, besides having given some  away. Soon after coming to the twp. he was elected justice of the  peace and afterward served as Twp. Trustee and inspector of  elections. In 1850 and 1851 Mr. H. represented Mont Co. in the  legislature and was offered the nominations again, but refused.  He has been a life-long democrat and has been respected by both  parties. His contributions to Church purposes and benevolent  causes have been liberal and his life has been one of uprightness  and integrity. He has been a member of the Baptist Church for  many years, also Church clerk. Mr. H. has been 3 times marr. His  first wife, who shared his early toils, died in 1853, aged 44 and  rests in the Pisgah graveyard. He then marr. Mrs. GEORGE, an  estimable lady, who died in 1862. His last wedding took place in  latter part of 1862, to Mary JOHNSON, daughter of Clement and  Nancy Johnson, old settlers of Montgomery Co. There are two  children by the last union: Virginia J, b. July 30, 1863, and  Robert E. b. June 30, 1876. Mr. Harris appears quite prominent in  the general history of the township. Perhaps no man has done more  toward developing Walnut Twp. than has Mr. Harris.

Source: 1878 Montgomery County, Indiana Atlas p 55

HARRIS, Thomas E; PO New Ross; Farmer & Stock Raiser, Sec  25; native of Va; settled in this co. 1836.
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