William Harris


Among the residents of Postville who were at one time closely associated with the agricultural interests of Allamakee county and are now enjoying the fruits of their former toil in honorable retirement is William Harris, who was born in Morgan county , Ohio June 19, 1847, a son of Elisha and Margaret (Patterson) Harris, both natives of Morgan county, where the father followed farming until 1854, when he came to Iowa. He was one of the first settlers in Lybrand, Post township, where he located on a farm which he continued to develop and improve until his death, which occurred about the year 1896. He was born in 1819 and was seventy-seven years old when he died. His wife died August 2, 1885. In their family were fourteen children, of whom the subject of this review is the second in order of birth.

In the acquirement of an education William Harris attended district school at Lybrand and when not engaged with his books aided his father with the work of the farm. Until he was twenty-one years of age he remained upon the homestead and he then began his independent career, buying land in Post township and turning his attention to its development. There he resided until 1904, transforming the property during that time into a rich and productive farm supplied with modern equipment and accessories. The place comprises five hundred and twenty acres and is neat and well ordered in every particular. Mr. Harris has the distinction of having brought the first Aberdeen Angus cattle to this vicinity and for about eighteen years he was one of the most extensive breeders of that breed of cattle in Allamakee county. He continued his personal supervision and practical work upon his property until 1905, when he moved into Postville, where he has since made his home.

In 1869, Mr. Harris was united in marriage to Miss Charity McDonald, who was born in Postville, January 1, 1849. She is a daughter of Duncan and Jane (Green) McDonald, the former of whom was born in Union county, Ohio, June 30, 1818, and the latter in Rensselaer county, New York, March 18, 1827. The father, who followed farming as an occupation, went to Wisconsin at a very early date and his marriage occurred in Monroe, that state. He and his wife came to Iowa in 1849, settling on the present townsite of Postville, where they resided for many years before removing to the vicinity of Nevada, Missouri, whence they went to Lawrence county. In that section of the state both passed away. They were the parents of three children, of whom Mrs. Harris is the first in order of birth. Mr. and Mrs. Harris have six children. Herman Howard, born October 7, 1869, married Miss Christina Willman, of Postville, and they have one child, Ossa, who was born February 20, 1896. Bertha, born January 12, 1871, married Darious Orr, a farmer in Post township, and they have become the parents of four children: Ethel, born October 29, 1891; Edith, born September 13, 1892; Esther, born February 27, 1896; and Eva, born November 14, 1899. Edith, born May 16, 1875, married Ernie Churchill, a plumber in Monroe, Wisconsin, and they have one child, Charlotte, born May 6, 1906. Edna, born March 18, 1879, married Fred Oehring, a jeweler in McGregor, and they have a daughter, Esther, born June 3, 1911. Glessner, born march 25, 1889, is the wife of Arthur Webster, an electrician in Postville. Adelaide, who completes the family, was born October 23, 1893, and resides with her parents.

Mr. Harris give a general allegiance to the republican party but votes independently when he feels that the best interests of the community demand independent action. Although he has never sought nor desired public office he served for two terms on the Postville city council and discharged his duties in a most able and effective manner. He is a stockholder in the Bank of Postville and is well known in fraternal circles, holding membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. His wife is a member of the Royal Neighbors. He is well known in this community as an industrious, far-sighted and capable man who enjoys the confidence and respect of his neighbors. He resides in a modern and attractive home in Postville, where he is spending his retired life in the enjoyment of rest, earned by his long season of honest and successful labor.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913; pg. 6 & 7
-transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall

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