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1899 Biographies

ROBERT HENRY HARRIS


HARRIS, Robert Henry, usually called "Bob Harris," of Missouri Valley, Harrison county, editor of the Missouri Valley daily and weekly Times, is the son of Judge D. M. Harris. He was born in Williamsport, Maury county, Tenn., March 23, 1854. His mother's maiden name was Martha Minerva White. In 1854 his parents moved to Audubon county, Iowa, where his father became county judge, and served three terms in the Iowa state legislature. He was a candidate for lieutenant-governor on the democratic ticket in 1866, and afterward a candidate for congress on the democratic ticket from the Ninth congressional district, in both cases being defeated, as the state and district were both largely republican.

"Bob" Harris received a Common school education in the district schools of the state. In 1863 his father commenced the publication of the Guthrie County Ledger, in the town of Panora, and the subject of this biography commenced at that early age, 9 years, to make himself useful in his father's office, and under the instruction of John McLune, foreman of the Ledger, he took his first lesson as a typo. In 1868 his parents moved to Missouri Valley, and his father established the Harrisonian, the first paper in this young city, where "Bob" became a leading hand in its publication, working in the office and attending school until 1872, when he went on a tramp, working in many offices throughout the country. During that year Judge Harris, the father, sold his paper, and went to Independence, Kan., and bought of V. B. Bennett, the Kansas Democrat, in which "Bob" became a typo and continued with his father, until 1874, when he returned with his parents to Iowa. During that year his father established the Audubon County Defender, at Exira, and he assisted in its publication. In 1875 they sold the Defender office and located in Atlantic, Cass county, Iowa, and established the Cap Sheaf, a weekly paper, and in 1876 sold the Cap Sheaf, and returned to Missouri Valley and bought the Missouri Valley Times. They conducted this paper under the firm name of D. M. Harris & Sons until 1894, when "Bob" bought the entire outfit, and became its editor and publisher. It is one of the leading papers of the west. His first and last dollar was made in the profession of printer, having learned the entire business from A to X, to editor and publisher, and never engaged in any other business.

Mr. Harris has always been a democrat, having been born of democratic stock, and having been engaged in publishing a democratic paper from childhood. He is well fitted to fight the battles of the party in a state in which democracy is in the minority, being aggressive and fearless. He has never held nor has he sought any public office. He has been a Mason from early manhood and also belongs to several other social orders. He was married in Audubon County, Iowa, on September 15, 1874, to Miss Frances Chapman. They have had four children born to them, three of whom are living, viz: Frank, born March 12, 1876, is a musician of note, having studied his profession in Berlin, Germany for two years; Earl R., born October 5, 1878, who is now local editor of the Daily Times, and Delia, born December 1, 1884.


From Biographies and Portraits of the Progressive Men of Iowa, Leaders in Business, Politics and the Professions, Together with an Original and Authentic History of the State, by Ex-Lieutenant-Governor B. F. Gue. Des Moines: Conway & Shaw Publishers, 1899, pp. 367-368.

 
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