Inventory
 

Harris Family Papers
Dates: 1863-1878
Accession Number: 991012C
Donor: Unknown
Description: Two file folders in a flat storage box


Biography

Born in Delaware in 1820, Richard John Harris was a farmer, stockgrower, and businessman in Sugar Creek Township, Vigo County. He married Lavina Bennett and had ten children: Mary, James, George, Thomas, Richard, Gideon, Charles, Martha, Frances, and Lavina. Richard John Harris died September 2, 1888 and is buried in Bethesda Cemetery in Sugar Creek Township.

James W. Harris, son of Lavina Bennett and Richard John Harris, was born circa 1843 in Indiana. His Civil War service record states that he enlisted as a Corporal in the 2nd Cavalry (41st) Regiment Indiana Volunteers, Company H, on November 1, 1861. He was promoted to Full Lieutenant 1st Class on March 2 (effective April 8), 1863. In 1864 and 1865 for approximately 9 months, Liet. James W. Harris was a prisoner of war in Macon, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. He was honorably discharged from service on March 21, 1865.

According to Bradsby's History of Vigo County, Indiana, James W. Harris was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church after the Civil War. No record of his death has been found.

George Washington Harris, the third child of Lavina Bennett and Richard John Harris, was born in 1844 in Sugar Creek Township, Vigo County. During the Civil War, George Harris served under three regiments. On November 1, 1861, he enlisted as a Private in the 2nd Cavalry (41st) Regiment Indiana Volunteers, Company H, and was discharged on January 29, 1863. On May 17, 1864, he enlisted as a Sergeant 1st Class in the 133rd Regiment Indiana Infantry, Company H, and was mustered out on September 5, 1864. And finally, on February 17, 1865, he enlisted as a Sergeant in the 149th Regiment Indiana Infantry, Company F, and was mustered out on September 27, 1865.

Following the war, George W. Harris attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. After several years as a teacher, Harris turned to farming the land his father had owned in Sugar Creek Township. In 1883 he was elected Vigo County Surveyor. He was also the commander of Jacob Hoops Post No. 163, Grand Army of the Republic.

George Harris married Cindora McClain in 1867 and had six children: William H., Eva and Iva (twins), Ethalinda, George Jr., and James. He was killed at a railroad crossing in Sugar Creek township on October 21, 1903.

Content and Scope of Collection

This collection contains letters of the Harris family written during the Civil War and its aftermath. The September 30, 1864 letter addressed to the father Richard John Harris discusses his son, Liet. J. W. Harris, being a prisoner of war at Charleston, South Carolina. Also of special note is the August 26, 1865 letter written by another son, George W. Harris. This letter describes an incident involving the murder of an army officer by an African American and the subsequent execution of this man.

Also included in the collection is a draft of a medical disability claim for James W. Harris as a prisoner of war, a list of Civil War officers that includes George W. Harris, and an inventory of the personal estate of Richard J. Harris, Jr.

Background material and transcripts of the letters in this collection are included in the inventory folder.

Flat Storage Box

 

 

 

 

Folder 1

Letter, from Josiah [Reccord?], Camp Wood,  Kentucky,
to J. R. Harris

Feb. 17

 

 

 

 

Letter, from unidentified individual, Terre Haute, Indiana,
to "Bro. Jim"

Jan. 28, 1863

 

 

 

 

Letter, from Bennett Depenbrock, 2nd Lieutenant, Company H, 2nd Indiana Cavalry, Cartersville, Georgia,   to R. J. Harris, Terre Haute, Indiana

Sept. 30, 1864

 

 

 

 

Letter, from George W. Harris, Camp Decatur, Alabama,  to "Father" [Richard J. Harris]

Aug. 26, 1865

 

 

 

 

Letter, from Alfred Hopps, Terre Haute, Indiana, to George W. Harris

June 1, 1866

 

 

 

 

Envelope addressed to R. J. Harris, Macksville, Vigo County, Indiana

Dec. 29

 

 

 

Folder 2

Draft of a medical disability claim [James W. Harris]

n.d.

 

 

 

 

List of Civil War officers (includes George W. Harris)

n.d.

 

 

 

 

Inventory of the personal estate of Richard J. Harris, Jr., deceased

Aug. 12, 1878