Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 493-94.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Oscar A. Harris

Oscar A. Harris is the owner of a fine and well improved farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 23, Providence township.  He has lived in this township for thirty years and for two years previous was a resident of Newell.  His birth occurred in Lemington, Vermont, September 10, 1850, his parents being Stephen and Maria (Abbott) Harris, the former a native of Vernon, Vermont, and the latter of Bath, New Hampshire.  The father was one of a family of nine children and was reared to farm life.  He followed the same occupation throughout the period of his manhood and died at Westfield, Massachusetts, August 14, 1882, when seventy-three years old.  His wife passed away at Stewartstown, New Hampshire, in 1869, at the age of sixty years.  They had a family of four sons and four daughters:  Julia, the deceased wife of H. De Flanders; Warren, deceased; Horace, who is living in San Bernardino, California; Louella, deceased; Sewell, who makes his home in Brewster, Washington; Martha, deceased; Oscar, our .subject; and Angie, who died in childhood.


Oscar Harris was reared upon the home farm in Vermont from the age of four years, his parents at that time leaving the town and taking up their abode amid agricultural surroundings. The district schools afforded him his educational privileges and when not busy with his text-books he worked in the fields, remaining at home until he had attained his majority.  He then started to earn his own living by working as a farm hand by the month, and in 1876 he came to Newell, Iowa, where he worked for his brother Horace, who was a banker, for two years.  He was then married and turned his attention to farming.  He purchased eighty acres on section 13, Providence township, and for a quarter of a century devoted his time and energies to the further development and improvement of that farm.  He then bought his present farm of one hundred and sixty acres in section 23, Providence township.  It constitutes one of the attractive features of the landscape, for it presents a most neat appearance and is improved with good buildings, while the fields give promise of golden harvests in the autumn.


On the 28th of November, 1878, Mr. Harris was united in marriage to Viola McBride, a daughter of Richard and Lura (Hutchins) McBride.  Mrs. Hutchins was born in National, Clayton county, Iowa, February 22, 1861.  She was a granddaughter of Malcolm McBride, who came from Scotland and died in Clayton county, Iowa, at an advanced ago. Her maternal grandfather was John Hutchins, a native of Vermont, who followed the occupation of farming as a life work, and died when well advanced in years.  Richard McBride, her father, was also born in the land of hills and heather, and following his emigration to the new world married Liu-a Hutchins, who was born in the Green Mountain state.  They had seven children:  Douglas, who is living at Plankinton, South Dakota; Jeannette, the deceased wife of De Los Barber; Warren, who is living in Worthington, Minnesota; Mary, the wife of Albert King, of Pocahontas county, Iowa; Viola; Orris, of Storm Lake; and Hector, who died at the age of fourteen years.


Mr. and Mrs. Harris have become the parents of three sons and a daughter:  Howard Warren, the eldest, is employed by the Gas Company at Los Angeles, California.  He married Ollie Whitman and they have two children, Cecil Burdette and Hollis; Priscilla L. is the wife of Edward Hines, of Storm Lake, and they have two children, Mabel Altabel, and Merrill Harris.  Pay Everett and Ray Oscar are both at home.  Mrs. Harris belongs to the Congregational church and is an estimable lady, who has many warm friends in the community.  Mr. Harris belongs to Newell Lodge, No. 232, I. O. O. F., and his wife is connected with the Rebekahs.  His political allegiance is given the republican party and for twelve years he served as school director, the cause of education finding in him a warm and stalwart friend.  His interest in community affairs find tangible proof in the support which he gives to many measures for the public good.  He is interested in the welfare of the community and is widely known here as a careful and enterprising citizen, and a capable and successful farmer.