George W. Harris


The agricultural development of Allamakee county has been greatly stimulated by the activities of George W. Harris, who owns a valuable farm of two hundred and thirty acres in Postville township, on which he still lives, although he has now retired from active labor, leaving the most arduous duties of operating his land to his son-in-law. As evidence of his success, it may be cited that he is also president of the Farmers Cooperative Company of Postville and of the Cooperative Creamery Company of this city. Moreover, he has other interests and is a stockholder in numerous prosperous enterprises.

George W. Harris was born in McConnelsville, Morgan county, Ohio, December 22, 1851, and is a son of Elisha and Margaret (Patterson) Harris, both natives of the same county. The father, who always followed agricultural pursuits, came in 1854 to Iowa, locating at Lybrand, Post township, where he continued successful in the operation of his farm until his demise in 1898. The mother had passed away about five years previous to that time. In their family were fourteen children.

George W. Harris was brought by his parents to Iowa when but a child and received his educational advantages in the district schools of Post township, the first school which he attended being conducted in an old-fashioned log schoolhouse located near what is now known as the Minert cemetery, so named for Mrs. Minert, who was the first to be buried there. Mr. Harris early began to assist his father with the work of the farm and acquired detailed information regarding agricultural operations. After laying aside his text-books he remained at home until twenty-one years of age, when he was married, continuing, however, after that event, to operate his father's land for one year, at the end of which time he purchased part of the farm he now owns. When he acquired title to this property it was but a wilderness improved with a little log house and a small thatched stable. Courageous and persevering, however, he set to work breaking acre by acre until his land brought him gratifying returns. He began with eighty acres and, as his financial resources increased gradually, added thereto until he now owns a farm of two hundred and thirty acres highly improved and well under cultivation. His barns, outbuildigs and sheds are modern and suitably equiped, his residence is comfortable and all modern conveniences can be found therein, while he has installed the latest type of farm machinery in order to facilitate the labor and improve the productivity of the soil. Although Mr. Harris has retired from the more strenuous duties of the farm, leaving that part of the work to his so-in-law, he still supervises in a general way his farming interests. The land is largely devoted to mixed farming, raisig the grai suitable to soil and climate, but his live-stock interests are also important, he having given a number of years to the improvement of his strain of high bred Poland China hogs. As is but natural for a man of the business ability, enterprise and alertness such as Mr. Harris possesses, he has become connected with allied and other interests and at present serves as president of the Farmers Cooperative Company of Postville and in the same position in the Postville Creamery Company, being not only a large stockholder in these institutions, but also having done valuable work as an executive officer in promoting their growth and effective operation. Mr. Harris is also a stockholder in the Clay Products Company, the canning factory of Postville, and is interested in the Plano International Machinery Company of Plano, Illinois. It is a cooperative concern formed by farmers in order to furnish them with machinery of the best grade at the lowest cost. Moreover, Mr. Harris is a factor in financial circles of Postville, being a stockholder in the Citizens Bank.

The marriage of Mr. Harris to Miss Ella Laughlin occurred May 4, 1872. Mrs. Harris was born in Post township in 1855, on the farm which adjoins her present home. She is a daughter of John and Jane Laughlin, natives of Scotland, who became early settlers in this county, where the father attained prosperity as the result of a long, useful and active life as a farmer. Both he and his wife passed away on the farm located next to Mr Harris' and which is now occupied by their son, J .R. Laughlin. Mr. and Mrs. Harris became the parents of six children: Warner, who married Miss Rachel Folsom and is now engaged in farming in Post township; Nina, the wife of Arthur W. Swenson, an agriculturist of Franklin township; Hazel, who married Alonzo Folsom, who now has charge of the actual operation of Mr. Harris' farm; Mabel, the wife of Richard Folsom, a farmer of Franklin township; Gerald, at home; and Roger, deceased. He was the youngest of the family and a promising young boy of ten years, who lost his life by being accidentally shot.

Although Mr. Harris has withdrawn from the most arduous labors in connection with farm work, he remains an important factor in the agricultural advancement of Allamakee county, to the development of which he has contributed in a considerable degree, while at the same time promotig his private interests. He is honored and respected in his vicinity as one who, by his own efforts, attained to a substantial place and one who always was as considerate of the interests of others as of his own.

-source: Past & Present in Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall, gg-granddaughter

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