Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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HISTORY of CERRO GORDO COUNTY, IOWA
WHEELER, J.H. Vol. II. Pp. 472-73. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910

BIOGRAPHY ~ CLARK W. HARRIS

Clark W. Harris, a pioneer merchant of Rockwell, is one of the most prominent and best known citizens of the community. Reserved and modest personally, he has, nevertheless, always played a leading role in its life, and he assisted in organizing Dougherty township in Cerro Gordo county and acted as secretary of the meeting. He has been twelve years mayor, nearly thirty years as justice of the peace, and is conducting one of the largest and most up-to-date business houses in the town. He was born in the province of Toronto (then known as Canada West), December 9, 1846. His father, Thomas H. Harris, was born in Maine and died in Mason City, Iowa, October 9, 1902. being about eighty-eight years of age at the time of his death. Ohio was the birthplace of the mother, whose maiden name was Matilda Waggoner. She died in Wyoming, Iowa, in June, 1867. Soon after their marriage in the Buckeye state they bought land in the province of Toronto and there made their home for the following fourteen years. They then sold out and went to Three Rivers, Michigan, where for three years the father ran a grist mill. Their next step was to go to Schoolcraft. Michigan, where Thomas Harris took up farming. About this time the Civil war cloud broke and he enlisted and was sent to various posts, among them St. Louis and Lookout Mountain. He returned to Schoolcraft, where he remained for a year, then taking his family to Wyoming. Iowa, where he engaged in farming. In 1870 he came to Dougherty township, Cerro Gordo county, where he bought wild land and improved it, and he assisted in the organization of the township. Later he went to Sheffield and devoted his energies to the restaurant business. His last years were spent in Mason City, where as previously mentioned his death occurred. Mr. Harris was the third of eight children, of whom four are living. The father was a Republican, served as trustee of Dougherty township, and was once a candidate for sheriff, coming within a few votes of being nominated. He and his wife were Free Will Baptists in Canada, but while in Michigan affiliated with the IMethodist Episcopal church and at Mason City belonged to the Christian church.

Mr. Harris enjoyed a good education, attending the common schools in the localities in which he happened to be staying. He attended a private school at Hazel Knoll conducted by a retired Methodist minister and his family, and was then a pupil in the high school at Anamosa in Jones county. In his boyhood Mr. Harris learned the carpenter's trade from lhis father and in his young manhood engaged in contracting and building in Cerro Gordo county. He abandoned this to take up the furniture business at Rockwell in 1877, having previously for several years made his home in this town. He began in a small way, but today carries a much larger stock than is usually carried in a town of this size. He has taken up the undertaking business in conjunction and has no competitor in the town. He has the distinction of being Rockwell's pioneer merchant, having been longer in the same line of business than any other man in Rockwell. He has held various public offices, having served as a member of the school board, as mayor for twelve years, and as justice of the peace for twenty-eight. He was a candidate for nomination for representative, but was defeated by John S. Stanbery in the convention by a fraction. He was one of the organizers of the city of Rockwell. He is an Odd Fellow and has many times filled the several chairs of the order. He is a Republican and he and his wife are communicants of the Methodist church.

Mr. Harris was married November 21, 1876, at the home of the bride's parents in Geneseo township, the bride's uncle, Rev. G. C. Lyman, officiating, to Miss Mary E. Lyman, born in Wyoming county, Pennsylvania, July 6, 1856, a daughter of George E. and Sara E. Lyman, both natives of Pennsylvania and now residents of Rockwell, of whom mention is made en other pages of this volume. Mr. and Mrs. Harris are the parents of three children: Maude L., is at home; Ada E., is the wife of Frederick A. Green, of Seattle, Washington, and the mother of two children; and George Lyman is at home. Both of the daughters are graduates of Mt. Vernon College and the elder daughter was a teacher of English in the Hampton School in the year 1909.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2014

 

 

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