John Harris and a Journey of Discovery
By Jean Simpson, Education Coordinator
The Curator, November 2007
This story begins last spring when Marilyn Williams began leading tours of the old Sugar Creek Baptist Cemetery on North Main Street. An avid photographer, Marilyn took photos of many of the interesting gravestones and gave us copies. The photo on this page caught my eye as one that could be used to commemorate Veteran’s Day. When I visited the gravestone I found that the front of the stone had deteriorated so that no information about the deceased person was readable. However, the flag holder revealed that a veteran of the War of 1812, Captain John Harris, was buried there. Research revealed that he, his wife Elizabeth, and eventually 10 children lived on a farm on E. Social Rd. The house, built before 1809, is still in use today. As a volunteer with Edmund Munger ‘s Rangers, he served in the War of 1812. Later, John was one of the major stockholders of The Farmers and Mechanics Manufacturing Company which owned the town of Woodbourne and some of the businesses. In 1827 he was a trustee for School House # 1 on Nutt Road. He died in 1828 and is buried between Elizabeth and three of his very young children. As a result of Marilyn’s photo and the marking of John Harris’ grave site with the veteran’s flag, I learned about another of our early settlers. What an interesting journey!
Post Script: I just learned from Martha Boice and further research that Katherine Littel, a CWTHS member living in Oklahoma and an Edmund Munger descendent, is responsible for the flag being placed on John Harris’ gravesite. Edmund’s son married John’s daughter so John is a part of the “family.” The flag was dedicated in the fall of 2003 in a ceremony at the cemetery.