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William T. Harris, M.D.


Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/3/2001 at 12:46:41

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties – 1890
William T. Harris, M.D. one of the leading medical practitioners of Keosauqua, Iowa, was born in Stanford, Lincoln County Kentucky on September 18, 1841 and is the son of the Rev. Ralph and Mary Wilson Harris. His father, a native of Virginia, was born in 1812, and acquired his education in the Center College, of Danville Kentucky. In his youth he determined to devote his life to the ministry, and followed that profession for a number of years, but in 1849, after his emigration to the west, he turned his attention to other pursuits, yet has ever manifested a deep interest in religious work and aided not a little in the advancement of the cause in the community where he makes his home. He was married on May 31, 1837, to Miss Wilson whose birth occurred in 1818. As before stated, he removed to the west in 1849, locating in Macomb Illinois and shortly afterward commenced reading medicine, which study he supplemented by a course in Hahnemann College in Chicago. After his graduation from that school, he entered upon the practice of the medical profession, which he still continues, but being now an old man he has to some extent laid aside its more arduous duties. Both he and his wife are still living and make their home in Macomb, where they are highly respected people. At the time of the Rebellion, Dr. Harris was appointed Chaplain of the Eight-fourth Illinois Infantry and served about one year. He has been prominently connected with church work, being a Presbyterian in faith, and was the first President of the McDonough Presbyterian College.
Our subject passed his boyhood days in a manner usual to lads similarly circumstanced. He acquired his literary education in the McDonough College, land then, having determined to follow the same pursuit in which his father was engaged, he began reading medicine. In the winter of 1866—67 he attended lectures at the Keokuk Medical College, and during the following spring commenced practice in Blandinsville, Illinois. He also attended lectures at the Hanhnemann Medical College of Chicago, but was graduated from the Missouri Medical College, located in St Louis.
Dr. Harris displayed his loyalty to the Government during the late war by faithful service in the field. In June of 1861, he became a member of the Seventh Regiment, Missouri State Militia, serving until March 1862, and in June of 1862, he enlisted in the Eighty-fourth Infantry. He was mustered in at Quincy as a private of Company C, and with his command participated in the battles of Perryville, Wild Cat Mountain and Stone River. During the latter engagement he was severely wounded, a ball passing through his face and tearing away a part of his tongue and jaw bone, so that for almost a year he was deprived of speech. Being thus disabled for duty, he was discharged on February 23, 1863, but when again able to enter the service he rejoined his old comrades and was commissioned First Lieutenant of his company. He served as one of the body- guards of General Rosencrans, and at the close of the war was honorably discharged.
Not long after his return home, in 1867, Dr. Harris was united in marriage with Miss Lottie Herrick, daughter of Amos and Phoebe Herrick, the former a native of Massachusetts and the latter of New Brunswick. They settled in Adams County, Illinois in 1836, and are numbered among the pioneers of that community. Unto the Doctor and his wife were born two children, but Ralph Flint, the elder, died at the age of four years. The daughter is Lenna Pearl. This family has been residents of Keosauqua for the past six years. Previously they had resided in Fairmount Missouri where for fifteen years the Doctor had engaged in the practice of his profession with marked success. Although his residence in Van Buren County is of short duration, his worth and ability have secured recognition by a liberal patronage, and among the better class of the county’s citizens he has won high regard and confidence. He is now a member of the United Stated Pension Medical Examining Board.
I am not related and I am posting this biography for those who may find this person in their family history.


Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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