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Fielder Bowie Harris

Contributed by Vivian Combs Moon. Images on 1 Sep 2003 & transcriptions on 21 Oct 2003
The James Harris-Mary Cherry Family by Fielder Bowie Harris, August, 1935
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Fielder Bowie HARRIS

from a cut made for the History of the Miami Valley in 1918



B. A. Normal University, Lebanon, Ohio.
B. S. and M. S. University of Chicago
August, 1935

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For forty-two years, Fielder B. Harris has been connected with the educational work, most in the Miami Valley. Few men here have had a greater influence for the elevation standards and the advancement of high ideals in the teacher's work, and his recent appointment to the superintendency of the schools of Warren county came as a well merited recognition of work capably and faithfully done, and splendid results achieved….

His elementary education was obtained in the district schools at Springhill, this county, and when but fifteen years old he entered the Scientific Class at Holbrook Normal University at Lebanon. Though the youngest member by some years his record compared well with that of the older classmates. He was not able to remain all year but took later at various times nearly all the work offered by the institution. He began teaching in 1876, the winter term of a rural school enrolling fifty pupils most of whom were almost grown and several over 21 years of age!

For several years he taught in his own adjoining district, and at the same time had charge of his father's or his uncle's farm, for he had not planned to continue teaching. In 1889 he decided to devote his entire time to school work and accepted the principalship of the Fifth District Schools at Chattanooga, Tenn., then embraced the suburbs of Ridgedale and Highland Park. After three years he returned to Ohio as superintendent of schools at West Milton, where he established an excellent record for constructive and progressive work. During the sixteen years there he developed what had been simply an advanced grammar grade into First Grade, four-year course high school of over 100 students whose work was accepted by all higher institutions in the state.

In 1894 he had planned to take a year off, complete his college course, and so obtain the degree he foresaw would soon be required for all engaged in high school work. But his father's finances had become so involved for security debts that he took the money intended for his college degree and bought in that part of the farm containing the homestead; for only in this way could his parents be kept from having to leave the home where they had lived for fifty years. With the heavily mortgaged farm and four children it was ten years before he was able to resume his college work.

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In 1904 he entered the University of Chicago and studied there every summer quarter for several years, taking eventually both a bachelor and a master degree from that institution.

In 1908 he was placed in charge of the schools at Franklin, Ohio, where he found a ready response to the influence of his high standards and enthusiasm in education. In the ten years that followed he greatly improved the school system, more than doubled the high school enrollment, largely by keeping boys in school, and won the hearty approval and indorsement of the people. While a strict a strict disciplinarian Mr. Harris controlled by his own personality and common sense, never sending a pupil before the board. He built up a corps of teachers greatly superior to the average, mostly home girls, who under his influence developed a capacity for capable, enthusiastic work that was a great factor in the development of high ideals and an efficient school system. The Franklin High School was placed on the "preferred list" by the University of Cincinnati and other leading higher institutions.

Western Star, Lebanon, Ohio, September 1, 1932. "Fielder B. Harris for the past 14 years Supt. of the Warren County Schools, retires today after 56 years service in the public schools, all but three in Ohio.
In 1918 Prof. Harris was tendered by unanimous vote the superintendency of the county schools, and while he greatly regretted leaving Franklin felt the change would give him opportunity for wider service; he entered upon the work with the same enthusiasm, vim, and tireless energy that have always characterized his career. The results have been excellent and few counties have their schools as well organized, or show finer team work by the local superintendents. In the first general high school scholarship test, held in 1930, Warren county took fifth place among the 88 counties of the state. In retiring Mr. Harris gives up one year of his last contract, feeling the need of getting away from the constant and at times arduous strain of the office. Besides he wishes to complete a family history and attend to some other personal matters for which the county work left him no time."

Western Star, September 8, 1932. (Under the heading, "A Long and Successful Career") - The retirement of Fielder B. Harris brings to an end a long successful career in the teaching profession. For the past fourteen years he has served as head of the schools in Warren county, and the high rating given them each year by the State Department attests the high ideals he has effected in the county system…
Mr. Harris has ever had the cooperation of the school patrons,

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evidence of the appreciation and esteem of the entire community. For the people of the county we wish to say that we all wish him many years of happiness and success in the work he chooses to do in retirement."

On October 12, 1882, Mr. Harris married Addie Warwick, educated in Lebanon, and the only child of Albert C. Warwick and his first wife Mary Sherwood. Mr. Warwick was the son of Josiah and Clarissa (Wood) Warwick. Josiah was the son of Jeremiah and Genesee (Short) Warwick. The maiden name of Clarissa Wood's mother was Rhoda Crane; the first name of her father is not known. The ancestry came to Ohio from near Lexington, Kentucky. Mary Sherwood was the daughter of Henry and Hester A. (Jeffery) Sherwood. Henry, born July 13, 1807 (died 1898) was the son of Thomas Sherwood, whose wife was Elizabeth Williams, of Talbot county, Md. Thomas emigrated to Columbia, now a part of Cincinnati; in 1806 he moved to a farm four miles east of Lebanon, Ohio, where he lived till his death.

Addie developed into capable and devoted wife and mother. The "Harris House" became noted for it's hospitality, and as the children grew older for its gathering of young people. But besides being the homemaker the wife was prominent in church and social affairs and quite a factor in her husband's success. The first real sorrow to a long happy home came when she was suddenly ill with heart trouble in October, 1911. The two younger children were summoned home from college and for weeks she hovered between life and death. She partly recovered but remained a semi-invalid till she passed away, January 16, 1914.

On Aug. 15, 1916 Mr. Harris married a widow, Mrs. Daisy Moore Cropper, of Mexico, Mo. She proved a real home-maker and maintained the former well known hospitality of the house, besides taking an active part in church and social affairs and at times helping with her husband's work.

As a school man Mr. Harris was a member of the Southern Ohio School Superintendents Round Table, the Miami Valley and the Cincinnati Schoolmasters' Clubs, and County, State, and National Education Associations, as well as the American Historical and Geographic. Socially he became identified with the Knights of Pythias, Odd Fellows, and Masons, and held the highest offices in each in the West Milton, Ohio Lodges.

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At the age of nineteen he united with the Methodist Episcopal Church and ever afterward took an active part in church affairs, serving twenty years as Sunday School teacher and Superintendent. Since his retirement from school work he has busily engaged on this Family History, in other literary work and in looking after his farm and other business interests.

Since 1922 he has taken his wife and daughter, Edith, on a long auto tour nearly every summer, visiting in that time every state in the union, some of them several times, and a great part of Canada. One of these in 1931extended 6.000 miles; northwest through the Black Hills to Yellowstone Park, thence to Salt Lake City, and east to Denver, then southeast and home. The longest of all was of 8,000 miles in 1935; southwest to Texas, north to Oklahoma, then westward to San Diego, Southern California - stopping at all points of interest on the way; down into Old Mexico, then to Vancouver, British Columbia, then homeward across the northern United States. In his 14 years of county supervision Mr. Harris traveled over 112,000 miles; in all he has driven over 200,000 miles, a distance eight times around the earth.

To Mr. Harris' first marriage four children were born, all graduating from the West Milton High School while their father was in charge.
1. Clarence Eugene, May 16, 1884. He attended the National Normal School at Lebanon, Ohio, taking there both the B. S. and B. A. Degrees - meantime teaching three years in rural schools. Later he took a bachelor degree from Ohio State University, and work for a master's degree at the University of Chicago. Beginning in 1900 he taught three years in the high school at Wilmington, Ohio, then went to Plymouth, Indiana, where he became principal of the high school, serving till 1916, when he was chosen principal of the high school at La Porte, Ind. In 1919, he accepted a position as Science Teacher in Austin H.S., Chicago, where he has since remained. For several years he has been Laboratory Chairman there in the Sciences and has formulated the questions in science for the examinations of the city teachers. He resides near Napierville, a suburb of Chicago.
In August, 1906, he married Willie Lillian Brown, only daughter of Harvey Warren Brown, a Methodist minister. To the union were born; a Gilbert Eeugene, July 22, 1908. After finishing Wheaton, Ill. H. S. he spent nearly two years at Wheaton College, and then entered the U. S. Army, serving 4 years. After completing the second year in the College of Mines, El Paso, Texas, he became a salesman for the Wilson & Company,

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Packers, of that city. On Aug. 2, 1932, he married Gabrielle Menke; lives at El Paso.
b Martha Winfred, Sept. 29, 1911. After graduating from Wheaton H. S. she completed the course at Wheaton College, and then decided to take up nursing at the West Suburban Hospital, Oak Park, Ill., completing her training there in 1935. c Elizabeth Sherwood, July 13, 1915. d Oct. 31, 1917. d Richard Warwick, Jan. 22, 1919. e John Warren, March 5, 1921. f Mary Jeanne, Aug. 1, 1923.

2. Edith, June 23, 1886. She began teaching in 1904, attended the Wesleyan College at Delware, Ohio, a year and then taught in the Springboro, Ohio, H. S. two years, meantime taking training in public school music in the summer school at the University of Pittsburgh, Pa. After 1909 she taught in the Middletown, Ohio schools, having also part charge of the music. For eight years, beginning in 1919 she taught in the Lebanon, Ohio, H. S., directing in part the music. She then spent two years full years in the University of Chicago, taking the B. A. Degree, with much work on that of Master. Since then she has been Director of English, South High School, Akron, Ohio.

3. Samuel Albert, April 6, 1888, names after his two grandfathers. He completed the Scientific Course at the Lebanon, Ohio Normal in 1906, taught rural schools three years, a year in the H.S. at Ft. Scott, Kansas, and one at Carlisle, Ohio, studying meantime during the summers at the University of Chicago. In 1911 he transferred his credits to Yale, entering the Senior Year, and though twice called home by serious illness of his mother, completed the work for a B. S. Degree, winning a scholarship. He taught a year in Ashtabula, Ohio, H. S., four in that at Mobile, Ala., and when the World War came on served as government chemist at Pittsburgh, Pa. After two years each in the high schools at Duluth, Minn., and Peoria, Ill., he transferred in 1921 to the Lane Technical High School in Chicago, where he has since remained. He lives in Elmhurst, a suburb of Chicago.
On Dec. 29, 1912, he married Amelia Kessler, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lorin Kessler, of Greenville, Ohio. To this union were born: a Albert J. 1914. He graduated with honors from Elmhurst H. S. in 1931. HE was a great student of nature and an enthusiastic Boy Scout, winning nearly all the medals offered and became an Eagle Scot, serving as instructor in Nature Study at the scouts summer camps. On Oct. 22., while riding a bicycle be was hit by an auto and thrown to the pavement, fracturing his skull. He died Nov. 10, at the Cook County Hospital Chicago. A

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daughter, stillborn, Aug. 21, 1917 c Robert, Aug. 21, 1919
In Oct. 1922, Amelia passed away. Albert managed to take good care of the motherless boys, some way. On Nov. 12, 1927, he married Marguerite Stromingher. To this union have been born; Twins, d Samuel William and e James Joseph, Jan. 27, 1920. f Dorothy Louise, Jan. 7, 1932. g Mary Ann, Feb. 12, 1934.

4. Ada Mary, March 23, 1890. She remained at home some years after completing high school, but in 1911 entered the Sargent School of Physical Culture, at Cambridge, Mass., to prepare for playground supervision in public schools. She was soon summoned home by the dangerous illness of her mother, and became her devoted nurse and caretaker till her death. In Dec. 1915, she married William J. J. Miles. The couple remained at her father's till the next June, when they moved into their own home in Middletown. They had just become nicely settled when the wife was suddenly ill, July 4, 1916, and lived but a few hours. She was buried by the side of her mother in Riverside Cemetery, Franklin.
In the fall of 1918 Mr. Miles married Minnie Schultz, whose mother was Emma Snook Shultz, a great grand daughter of Captain Ephraim Kibbey. Pioneer at Columbia, now part of Cincinnati (Vol. II). The couple live at Middletown and have four daughters.


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