June 11, 1936, article in the Denison Herald about a Denison
woman being almost as old as Texas' freedom. Miss Lou Harris was getting
ready to celebrate her 99th birthday while Texas observed 100 years of
freedom. Miss Harris had lived in Texas since 1845, having settled in Cherry
Mound before the Civil War.
At that time Miss Harris was said to be the oldest woman in Grayson
County, followed closely by Mrs. Helen Alexandria Morrison Cummins of Denison
who had celebrated her 95th birthday. Mrs. Cummins was a bride in Texas
one year after the close of the Civil War.
Every year she was honored at a reunion in August at the home at
Cherry Mound where she had lived for many years. She was known as "Miss
Lou" and called "Aunt Nie," although no one knew why.
Having lived through four wars -- the Mexican, Civil, Spanish-American,
and World War I -- Miss Lou scoffed at people in the 1930s who languished
under what she called "the so-called Depression". She called the times "prosperity"
in comparison with the privation that followed the War Between the States.
"People do not know what poverty and want are nowadays," she told the newspaper
Miss Lou was described as a venerable lady who always had been a
favorite with children. No doubt, the pet name "Aunt Nie" came from some
of those youngsters. While being interviewed, she held an infant on her
lap. A very small woman weighing only about 88 pounds, she wasn't strong
enough to lift the husky baby but delighted in having him handed to her.
A niece said that during her childhood her wounds were always healed by
the kisses of Aunt Nie.
Miss Lou, like many women of her day, remained true to the love of
her early youth, a young Confederate soldier who marched off to war with
the thought of coming home and being married. Unfortunately, he didn't
return from the war. His photo was among her cherished relics. "It was
all very long ago," she said when asked about him.
Miss Lou decided that she didn't want a 99th birthday party because
she said it was too much trouble for those giving it.
As a young woman, she played the violin and accordion and just two
years before her 99th birthday she had entertained a group by playing the
accordion. She was a member of the Trinity Methodist Church congregation
and was a regular attendee at worship service until she was about 97.
Miss Lou was born in Illinois in 1837, one year after the battle
of San Jacinto. Went to Arkansas with her parents in 1843, and two years
later the family settled at Preston Bend. She and her mother later moved
to Warren Flats that was near Cherry Mound. In 1928 she moved to Denison
to live with a great niece Mrs. Carrie Gilliam until she died. She was
making her home with Mrs. Clint Price at the time of the interview. She
was educated in the rural schools of Preston. A brother, Mat Harris, fought
for the Confederacy in the Civil War.