Lee County Biography

DANIEL HARRIS
Wyoming Township


Contributed by Doug Wicks from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois
Chicago: Munsell Pub. Co., 1904 Pg.450-451

Daniel M. Harris and his good wife are well known and honored throughout Lee County as among the oldest settlers now living within its borders. They were pioneers of Wyoming Township, coming here many years ago in their early married life to improve a farm from the virgin soil and make a home in the wilderness. They are now comfortably and happily passing their declining years amid the scenes of their early toils, and are well fortified against want by the fruits of their united labors.

Mr. Harris was born in the town of Summer Hill, Cayuga County, N. Y., July 9, 1825. His father, also named Daniel, was a native of New Hampshire, born in the town of Richmond, April 12, 1794. He was a son of Joseph Harris, who is supposed to have been a native of New England. He was a farmer and spent the last years of his life in Vermont. The maiden name of his wife was Martha Mason. She was born April 2, 1767.

The father of our subject was reared in Vermont, and after marriage moved from there to Summer Hill, Cayuga County, N. Y., where he bought a tract of timber land, and hewed a farm from the forest wilds. About an acre of his land was cleared and the rest was covered with a dense growth of timber, through which deer and other kinds of game roamed at will. A log house stood on the place at the time of purchase, which he afterward replaced by a good set of frame buildings. The original dwelling, which was the birthplace of our subject, was a rude structure, without glass in the windows, the light being admitted through greased paper. They found their way to their new home by blazed trees. There were no railways in that part of the country for years, no markets, and there was but little money in circulation. Standing timber was of but little value, and large logs were piled together and burned to get them out of the way, the ashes being carefully gathered together and traded at the stores for supplies. The mother of our subject used to card, spin and weave all the cloth in use by the family for years, making linen cloth with which to clothe the family in summer, and cloth of wool for winter wear. The father of our subject had the assistance of his children in the pioneer task of clearing his farm, and he resided on it until they were grown. He then sold it and bought a smaller place in the same county, where he made his home during the remainder of his mortal existence, his death occurring June 26, 1861.

The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Miriam Page, and she was born in Cooperstown, N. Y., March 27, 1798. She spent many of her last years with our subject, but her death finally took place at the home of her son, Parker M., at Paw Paw, October 29, 1886, at a venerable age. She was the mother of ten children; of these seven grew to maturity: Luther R., Alfred, Daniel M., Mary A., James, Martha E., and Parker M. Parker M., Daniel and Martha are the only survivors of the family. The latter is the wife of Charles Jones, of whom a sketch appears on another page of this volume.

Our subject attended the early schools of his native county, and assisted his father on the farm during his boyhood. He lived with his parents until 1846, and then paid a visit to Lee County, at which time he entered a tract of Government land on sections 8 and 5, of what is now Wyoming Township. Returning in a short time to Cayuga County, he resumed work on his fatherís farm. In the fall of 1848, he took an important step whereby he secured one of lifeís choicest blessings, a true wife, in the person of Christie Ann Adaline Carmer, to whom he was wedded on the 29th day of November. She was born in Dryden, Tompkins County, N. Y., January 22, 1830. Her father, John Carmer, is thought to have been a native of the same State, and was a son of Abram Carmer. The father of the latter was Isaac Carmer, in early life a resident of New Jersey, but his last years were spent in Dryden, N. Y., in working at his occupation as a farmer, as long as he engaged in active business. His life was prolonged to the remarkable age of one hundred and three years. He was a soldier of the Revolution. Mrs. Harrisí grandfather was a farmer, and the last part of his life was passed in Tompkins County. The father of Mrs. Harris was reared on a farm, and adopted farming as his life work, owning and occupying a farm at Dryden, where he died at a ripe age. The maiden name of his wife was Huldah Hart, and she was a native of New Jersey.

In the spring of 1849, our subject came again to Lee County, this time with a view to permanently settling here, and bringing with him his young wife. They started on their momentous journey from their old home to the new with many hopes and fears for the untried future. They journeyed by rail to Buffalo, where they embarked on the Great Lakes for Chicago, whence, they went by canal to Ottawa, and from that city to their destination in Lee County with a team. After their arrival they occupied one room of William Straderís house until Mr. Harris could build one on his own land. At that time the surrounding country had advanced but little from its original wildness, settlements were few and far between, and the abundance of deer and other game showed that civilization had made but little headway in this region. The pioneers had to go to Chicago as the nearest market where they could obtain supplies, and in the absence of railways all transportation was done with teams. It was by that means that our subject procured the lumber to build his first house. He has been a resident of Wyoming Township continuously since his arrival here with his wife in that beautiful spring now lying back in the past forty-two years, with the exception of the year and a half that he spent in his native State within that time, and three months at Dundee, Ill. He has been blessed in his work, and with the cheerful co-operation of his wife has accumulated a comfortable property.

But few have such a record for long and faithful church-membership as Mr. and Mrs. Harris. They both united with the Baptist Church in their native State when very young, he being ten years old and she twelve at the time of their admission, and for more than sixty years they have been true to the religious vows made in their childhood. Their marriage has been blessed with children, of whom they have three: William Arthur, who married Mary Wheat for his first wife, who died leaving one child, and his second marriage was with Maude Manwaring, and they have four children living; Evart M., the second son, who married Mattie Monteith, and they have four children; and Dale Eugene, who married Katie Sayres, and they have four children.

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