BENJAMIN CHRISTOPHER HARRIS
Researched and Submitted by Charlene Holland
Benjamin Christopher Harris, my great-great grandfather, was born October 1838 in Bledsoe County, Tennessee and died on an unknown date after November 5, 1903 and before 1910 in Scott or Yell County, Arkansas. He is buried at Parks Cemetery at Nola in an unmarked grave. The last record I have been able to find of Benjamin C. Harris was the marriage record of Samuel Franklin Morrow of Nebraska to Millie Jones, also of Nebraska on November 5, 1903. This was in the Scott County Marriage Book C, page 233 and was performed by B.C. Harris. His daughter, Missouri Harris Cloninger writes in a letter dated November 14, 1961 that he had died 57 years prior to that date, which would make his year of death about 1903-1904. I have been unable to find an obituary for him. He was the son of Robert Riley Harris and Joannah Gipson of Tennessee. He married Anna Louisiana Ivey about 1861 in Waldron, Scott County Arkansas. There is no marriage record, but according to Anna Louisiana Harris' obituary, dated April 8, 1920 from The Advance Reporter (the Waldron newspaper of that time), they had married when Anna Louisiana was 17 years old. (See Endnote 1)
Anna Louisiana Ivey was born June 1846 in Arkansas and died March 15, 1920 in Nola, Scott County Arkansas. According to her obituary she was 82 years old when she died, but according to all census records she was born about 1846, and would have been closer to 74-75 years old. Anna Louisiana is also buried in Parks Cemetery at Nola in an unmarked grave. There is supposed to be a stone - not a headstone, but just a large rock - with "Annie" carved on it. There is a stone located in the Harris plot in the cemetery just to the right of the Robert M. and Laura Belle Harris headstone. When I was there you could see that there had been a name carved on it, but it was so faded I couldn't read it. I do not know if this is her stone, but surmise that it may be.
Although B.C. Harris was of an age to serve in the Civil War, I have been unable to find any record of his service. However, his father, Robert Riley Harris, did serve in the Union Army.
Benjamin Christopher Harris was called Chris at times, Benjamin C. and B.C. at other times. In most written records he is listed as Benjamin C. Harris. However, he was listed as Christopher in the 1870 census, and in the Mulberry Church history - written in 1980 - he was called Chris Harris.
B.C. Harris was a Free Will Baptist Minister for the Mulberry Church in Gravelly. He was the second man to be minister of this church. He performed many marriages over the years. His daughter, Missouri, wrote that he "Preached over 40 years - in the hills of old Ark."
In 1893 B.C. and Louisiana Harris sold the land they had homesteaded, along with an additional 40 acres to a W.D. Young for nine hundred and ninety dollars. At that time, it is believed that the Harris family may have moved near or to Parks for awhile, but by 1900 they were residing in Gravelly, Yell County where they lived until his death.
The "Scott County Citizen", dated September 13, 1889 writes a report about Parks School - District No. 37. It indicates that B.C. Harris and his daughter, Amanda Harris, visited the school. That newspaper carries a passage dated May 9, 1890 saying "Rev. B.C. Harris called on us Tuesday on his return from Kings Creek where he has been holding a two day meeting." Amanda Harris is mentioned in a line under "Advertised Letters for May 1st." And in the same newspaper dated October 10, 1890, there is a caption saying "Advertised Letters - non-delivered letters remaining at the post office of Waldron, Ark. on October 1, 1890." It lists a Mrs. L. Harris, who was possibly Anna Louisiana Harris. (See Endnote 2)
According to census records, Benjamin Christopher Harris was also a farmer, besides being a Minister.
B.C. Harris was found in the 1840 and 1850 Tennessee census records with his parents. In Scott County census records he was found with his parents in 1860 and as a young husband in the 1870 and 1880 census records. He, his wife and five of his children were found in Gravelly Township in Yell County.
Anna Louisiana [Ivey] Harris was found with her parents in the 1850 Scott County census; and in 1860 I found the orphaned Louisiana Ivy at the age of fifteen living with her sister and brother-in-law in Scott County. We find her as a young wife in the 1870 and 1880 census records with her husband and children. In 1900 she too is found in Yell County with her elderly husband and five children. In 1910, the last census record found of her, she is living with her son, John, in Scott County. At some point she moved in with her son, Dan, where she was living at the time of her death. The final record of Anna Louisiana Ivey Harris was found in the following obituary:
The Advance Reporter
8 April 1920
The Death Angel visited the home of Mr. Dan Harris on Monday, March 15th and took from him his aged mother, Mrs. B.C. Harris. At the time of her death she was 82 years old. She was born and raised in the state of Arkansas. She professed hope in Christ in her early days and lived a Christian life until death.
She was married to Mr. B.C. Harris at the age of 17 years. To this union was born eleven children, six boys and five girls, two of whom have gone on before and who are awaiting her in Heaven. She had the misfortune of losing her husband some years ago. She lived among her children from the time of his death. She leaves nine children and a host of grandchildren to mourn her loss. Three of her children reside in Waldron: Mr. Will and John Harris, and Mrs. John Allen, Mr. Lum Harris, Ione, Mr. Jim Harris, Parks, Mr. Dan Harris, Nola, Mrs. Andrew Bailey, Gravelly, Mrs. Dave Clininger [sic] Winfield, Texas, and Mrs. I.N. Sparks, of Cameron, Oklahoma.
Weep not dear children, because she is asleep in Jesus blessed sleep from which none ever wake to weep.
We miss thee from our home, Dear Mother, we miss thee from thy place, a shadow o'er our life is cast, we miss the sunshine of thy face, we miss thy kind and willing hand, thy fond and earnest care, our home is dark without thee, we miss thee everywhere.
One of her granddaughters,
Benjamin Christopher and Anna Louisiana [Ivey] Harris had eleven children:
The following is the deed showing the sale of the Benjamin C. Harris homesteaded land.
With Relinquishments of Dower
Know all here by those present: That we, B.C. Harris of the County of Scott and State of Arkansas. Louisiana Harris his wife, for and in consideration of the sum of nine hundred and ninety dollars, to us paid in hand by W.D. Young in hand paid by do hereby grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the said W. D. Young and unto his heirs and assigns forever, the following described Real Estate, lying in the County of Scott and State of Arkansas, to wit: the south west quarter of the south west quarter of Section 10 in township four north of Range 30 west containing 40 acres also the south east of the south west of Section ten in Township four north of Range thirty west containing forty acres.
To have and to hold the same unto the said W.D. Young and his heirs and assigns forever, with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging.
And I hereby covenant with the said William D. Young that I will forever warrant and defend the title to said Real Estate against all lawful claims and demands whatever.
And I, Louisiana Harris wife of the said B.C. Harris for and in consideration of the said sum of money, do hereby release and relinquish unto the said William Young all my right and dower in and to said Real Estate.
Witness our hand and seal on this 8th day of February 1883
B.C. Harris [Signature](Seal)
Louisiana (her X mark) Harris (Seal)
State of Arkansas
County of Scott
Be it remembered that on this day came before me the undersigned, a Justice of the Peace with and for the County of aforesaid, duly commissioned and acting B.C. Harris to us well known as the grantor in the foregoing deed and stated that he had executed the same of the consideration and purposes therein contained and set forth.
And on this same day also voluntarily appeared before us the said Louisiana Harris wife of the said B.C. Harris to us well known, and in the absence of her said husband, declared that she had of her own free will signed and sealed the Relinquishment of Dower in the foregoing Deed for the purposed and consideration therein contained and set forth, without compulsion or undue influence of her said husband.
Witness my hand and seal as said Justice of the Peace on this 8th day of February 1883.
Attest Jacob Goble J.P.
Filed for record on this 14 day of April 1883 at 10 o'clock AM
J. Gilbrath Clerk
In November of 2000 I visited the place where Mulberry Church is located near Gravelly. As I looked over this beautiful area I imagined my great-great grandfather walking on the very ground upon which I stood. I tried to imagine what their life had been like in those long ago days. And as I drove along the winding roads in Scott and Yell County, I tried to visualize what it must have been like to move from the area above Waldron to Yell County by wagon, as they must have done. This land is mountainous and that road must have been so very long.
Endnote 1: The transcribed Scott Co marriage records do not list the minister performing the ceremony, but the "Morrow Memories" book indicates that he performed the marriage of Millie Jones and Samuel Franklin Morrow. This is a book that was put together by the descendants of Samuel Franklin Morrow for their 1990 Texas family reunion.
Endnote 2: "Scott County Citizen 1887 - 1891" published by Scott County Historical and Genealogical Society.
This is three markers of stone at Parks Cemetery at Nola. No names or dates. Possible burial site of Benjamin Christopher Harris.
Robert M. and Laura Belle (Journey) Harris' large headstone at the right. Small stone on the left is possibly the marker with "Annie" on it, but I am not sure.
Picture above shows the Harris family plot at the Parks Cemetery, Nola.
Return to Scott County Genealogy
Copyright 2002-2008 by Delaine Edwards and the submitter
All rights reserved