Transcribed by: Mary Ann KaylorPage 217
THOMAS R. HARRIS is a native of Fluvanna county, Virginia, and was born May 8th, 1804. His ancestors had been residents of the Old Dominion from an early period of its history. His father was John Harris, and his mother Delilah Shores. Mr. Harris was the third of a family of seven children. His father died when he was about nine years old, and his mother in the year 1816, moved to Bourbon county, Kentucky. He attended school some little time, mostly at North Middletown, in Bourbon county, but most of his education he acquired by his own efforts. When fifteen he became an apprentice to the tanning business in Montgomery county, Kentucky, and followed that occupation for many years. Leaving Kentucky in 1828 he settled at Palmyra, Mo. In 1829 he married Mrs. Elizabeth Forman (whose maiden name was Fry), and then embarked in the tanning business near the town of Palmyra, on his own account. In 1834 he removed to Illinois, and settled in Morgan county just across the line from North Palmyra township. He followed the tanning business in that location till 1850, and then moved to North Palmyra township, and engaged in farming. He had entered land in North Palmyra township soon after coming to Illinois, and became the owner of about 600 acres in sections 2 and 11. He began to improve these lands while living in Morgan county, and after coming to Macoupin county, carried on farming quite extensively. His first wife died in 1866. In July, 1868, he married Mrs. Margaret Hutchinson, born in Jefferson county, Indiana, October 24th, 1820, and came to Sangamon county, Illinois, when seven years old. Her maiden name was Westfall. Her first husband died of the cholera at Waverly, in 1851. He was a local preacher in the Methodist church, ran a carding machine at Waverly, and was a good business man.
Mr. Harris has had six children: John L., Sydney T., Virginia F., who married Edward O. Clark, of Carlinville; Milton F., William J., and Mary E., wife of Milton Rohrer. Of the sons, John is in Iowa, William in Nebraska, and Sydney farming in North Palmyra township. John, William and Milton were soldiers in the Union army during the war of the rebellion. John enlisted in the 14th Illinois, under Gen. Palmer, and served three years. William enlisted in the 32d Illinois regiment, under Col. Logan, and heard him deliver one of his great speeches at Paris, Kentucky. He voted for Clay three times for president. He has been a republican since the organization of that party.