Santa Cruz County History - People



Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

HARRIS, JAMES B (1848-1915)

Sawtelle Soldiers Home Records

Headstone of James Harris
James Harris
Evergreen Cemetery

NAME: James Harris
REGISTER #: 9182

Military History

RANK/CO/UNIT: Pvt/Co K/5th California Infantry
ENLISTMENT: 1861/11/22 Sacramento
DISCHARGED: 1864/11/27
RE-ENLISTMENT:
RNK/CO/UNIT:
DISCHARGED:
DISABILITY: Palpitation of Heart

Domestic History

BORN: 1847 Indiana
AGE: 61
HT/CMP/EYE/HR: 5'6"/Lt, Gr, Lt/Literate
RELIGION: Protestant
OCCUPATION: Engineer
RESIDENCE: Santa Cruz
MARRIED SINGLE: Married
NEXT OF KIN: Suzie J. Harris, Gilroy California

Home History

PENSION AMOUNT: $30
ADMISSION: 1908/11/18
DISCHARGED:
DATE OF DEATH: 1915/07/30
CAUSE OF DEATH: Mitral Insufficiency

General Remarks

PENSION CERT: 948,858
EFFECTS: $1.87
HOW DISPOSED OF:
BURIAL INFO: Removed to Santa Cruz for burial

US Census (1880)

NameAgeOccupationBirthplaceBP of FatherBP of Mother
James Harris 32 TannerIndiana Ohio Ohio
Susie 25 Homemaker Maine Maine Maine
Anna 11 School California Indiana Maine
Harvey 4/12 Born April California Indiana Maine

Records of California Men in the War of the Rebellion, Brig.-Gen. Richard H. Orton

On November 8, 1861 James Harris was enrolled in Company K of the 5th California Infantry Regiment in Santa Cruz California. He was mustered into service on November 22, 1861 and was discharged at Las Cruces, NM, November 27, 1864 at the expiration of his service.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (June 5, 1887)

James B. Harris and Charles Hadley were elected school trustees by Bay View School District. The election held yesterday. 8 votes were polled.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (March 25, 1890)

A Wedding Anniversary

Mr. and Mrs. Jas. B. Harris received some thirty-eight members of the G.A.R., the W.R. C. and other friends, on Saturday evening last at their residence on Mission street, the occasion being the celebration of the birthday of Mr. Harris and the seventeenth anniversary of their wedding. many hearty congratulations were offered and a number of pretty presents were received as remembrances from their friends. Music, games, recitations and sociability passed the evening pleasantly, and a delicious supper was enjoyed, the crowning glory of which was an immense wedding cake made by the bride, who received many encomiums of praise for its handsome appearance and delicious flavor. The guests separated at a late hour, showering good wishes on the host and hostess, and all promising to come again next year.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (March 21, 1893)

China Wedding

Last Saturday evening fifty seven of Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Harris's friends took possession of their residence to celebrate the 20th wedding anniversary of this happy couple, the visitors including members of the W.R.C., Rebekahs, G.A.R. and Odd Fellows, of which the couple are active and esteemed members. Merriment at once began, and though stormy without, all was happy within. Mr. and Mrs. Harris are both at home when entertaining and making others happy, therefore the occasion was one long to be remembered. Music, games, singing and progressive euchre was the program. The ladies prize was won by Mrs. S.I. Morris, the gentleman's by Joseph Weber, gentlemen's booby prize, F.D. Jenkins, Ladies, Miss Gussie Moore. The house was beautifully decorated with ferns and flowers, thousands of English violets being conspicuous. At 11:30 the happy couple were made to renew their vows of twenty years ago by W.S. Waters in a very comical fashion. Mrs. Lottie Jenkins acted as bride's maid and D. Younglove as best man, while N.N. Knapp gave the blushing bride away. The floral piece under which the ceremony was performed proved to be a decorated broom, which Mrs. Harris claimed to be her emblem of authority. After congratulations, N.N. Knapp gave a toast on China weddings, which was enjoyed by all. Many very beautiful gifts were received, among which was a handsome china tea set from J.F. Reynolds Corps, a testimonial of appreciation in which they hold their esteemed Past President.

At a late hour a delicious supper was served and the merry throng were reluctant to say good night but the bell of the special electric car at 1:30 informed them that time was up and many good night and good wishes for the future of the couple were given, only wishing Mr. and Mrs. H. had an anniversary every week and the couple are happy to say that instead of finding matrimony a failure they have found it a success.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (October 25, 1893)

Sentinel Jottings

J.B. Harris at present occupying three positions at the Kirby Tannery- Foreman- Engineer- and Tanner each of which he is capable of filling.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (July 10, 1894)

The Pump Works
Discovery of Councilmen Insel and Maher Which Lead to a Change

On the afternoon of the Fourth of July Councilmen Insel and Maher decided to visit the pump works operated by the city, and for which the taxpayers have to pay large sums of money annually. They reached the works at three o'clock, to find the door locked. As they started to go away they heard the hissing of steam which caused them to retrace their steps. Insel forced an entrance by breaking open the door, and what they discovered is best told in the Councilman's own words:

We found 85 pounds on the steam gauge, a fire under the boiler, extra weight on the safety valve and five feet of sewage above the inlet. As it was dangerous to leave the works in that condition I blew the steam off, while Mr. Maher went after J.F. Parker and J.B. Harris, two experienced men, to take charge of the works.

We also found that the dynamos had not been trimmed, and that carbons were not in the lamps. Mr. Maher waited until 7:10 P.M. before Engineer Woods made his appearance and then notice was given the Woods brothers that their services were no long required. I was told that it was no uncommon occurrence for the engineers not to be at the works on Sunday afternoons.

This evening the City Council will hold a private meeting to investigate the matter. The engineers discharged will have an opportunity to state their case and demand reinstatement. No action, however, will be taken until the meeting next Monday evening. In the meantime Parker and Harris have charge of the works.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 22, 1902)

J.B. Harris has secured a position with the Electric Light and Power Co. in Salinas. Mr. Harris has been connected with the City's lighting system and pump works for about nine years. He is thoroughly experienced and the right man in the right place.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (January 31, 1903)

James B. Harris has been awarded a pension of $8.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (December 28, 1904)

J.B. Harris and his wife are soon to move to Gilroy. Mrs. Harris having accepted the position of Matron of the Rebekah Home, and her husband will be in charge of grounds connected therewith.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (October 27, 1912)

C.J. TODD SAWTELLE LETTER

The last time I saw James Harris, the old tannery foreman, he was very fleshy, seemed threatened with apoplexy, had occasional vertigo. He has been living outside the Home, but promised me he would soon come in for treatment.

Santa Cruz Surf (July 31, 1915)

Death of James Harris

James B. Harris, for many years a resident of Santa Cruz but who for the past two years has been at the soldiers' home at Santa Monica, died there today.

He was 67 years old, a native of Indiana and leaves a wife, Mrs. Susie J. Harris, a daughter, Mrs. S.E. Miller and a son, Harvey.

After he left Santa Cruz he went to the Rebekahs Orphans' home at Gilroy, where his wife is matron, but with failing health he went to the Soldiers' Home. He is a veteran of the Civil War and is a prominent Odd Fellow and Rebekah.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (August 4, 1915)

James B. Harris Laid to Rest

Yesterday afternoon at the home of his daughter, Mrs. S. Miller [33 Leibbrandt] the funeral of James B. Harris was held. Services were in charge of the Odd Fellows and the Episcopal burial service was read by Rev. C.O. Tillotson, rector emeritus of Calvary Church. Many old soldiers attended the services. Interment was at Evergreen.

James B. Harris, whose funeral took place in this city was the proprietor of the Franklin House, a popular hotel that stood on Front St. more than a half a century. It went down several years later in a great fire.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (April 11, 1923)

Susan J. Harris Dies at Gilroy

A message was received yesterday from Gilroy, which announced the death of Mrs. Susan J. Harris who passed away yesterday morning at the residence of her son Harvey Harris.

Mrs. Harris was a Santa Cruz woman and was especially known for her association with Isabella lodge of Rebekahs, of which she was a member. She was known throughout the state wherever there was a Rebekah lodge, as for 18 years she was the matron of the Rebekahs' home for orphans at Gilroy. Here she was matron until last June, when on account of failing health she resigned and since then had resided at the home of her son and daughter in law, there being a strong attachment between them.

"Mother" Harris, as she was known in the home, was the only mother many of the children in the home had ever known, and she had the true mother heart. This was especially true of the two, the special charges of Isabella lodge.

Through Mrs. Harris, for many years the children spent their summer vacations in Santa Cruz.

Mrs. Harris was a New Englander, having been born in Maine 65 years ago. Her home for many years was on Mission street near Laurel.

For 24 years she represented Isabella lodge at every session of the State Rebekah assembly, and was elected a delegate to the coming assembly. Mrs. Harris was the drillmaster of Isabella Rebekah degree team for many years and was a past noble grand of Isabella lodge.

When in Santa Cruz she was always interested in the Woman's Relief Corp as she was always ready to do good wherever opportunity offered.

Her husband James B. Harris, preceded her in death. She leaves a son, Harvey and a grand child.

The body will arrive today at Wessendorf & Son's from Gilroy.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (April 14, 1923)

Funeral of Mrs. Susan J. Harris

Wessendorf & Son's undertaking parlors were crowded yesterday with friends in attendance at the funeral of Mrs. Susan J. Harris, especially members of the Rebekahs and Odd Fellows, Rebekahs coming from surrounding cities to show their love and esteem for Mother Harris of their orphans' home, where for 18 years she had been a true mother to the children there.

The service at the parlors was conducted by Rev. Charles Leachman of Calvary church, with hymns sung by Mrs. Virginia Smith and Mrs. Mary Croop.

The services at the Odd Fellows cemetery were in charge of Isabella Rebekah lodge, of which deceased was a member.

The burial was at Odd Fellows cemetery. The pallbearers were George Reid, L.L. Fargo, W.E. Lynam, Charles Reed, Frank Stikeman.

Editorial Notes from Robert L. Nelson

James Harris was born on March 19, 1848 at Noble Country, Fort Wayne Indiana.

His father was Henry Harris, a native of Hamilton Ohio who moved to Indiana. There Henry married his wife Sophia and together they had five children (John, William, James, DeEtte and Sarah). The family moved to California in 1852 and then to Santa Cruz in 1857. Henry subsequently opened the Franklin House in 1859, was active in the Methodist Church, and died on March 9, 1868.

Evergreen Records

After enlisting in the army, James Harris was sent to Camp Union in Sacramento; he was 13 years old. California enlistees weren't sent to fight in the Civil War. They were sent to Sutter's Fort to protect gold, or to Arizona and other places to fight the Indians.

At the time of his enlistment he was listed as a drummer, later as a cook. He paid 48c for a haversack, 56c for a frog (ornamental braided cord) and scabbard (no saber, he was too young). He paid 72c for ordnance lost, .96c for camp equipment lost, and later on, again charged for ordnance lost, .82 and 1.02. He was present for his duties but was mostly too ill to perform them. His medical records show that he was sick from June 23, 1863 to September 27, 1863 and from October 10, 1863 to November 11, 1863 and that he received medical treatment on the following dates:

  • Furunculous (Boil Conditions) May 23 to 25 1862
  • Dysentery June 30 to July 2 1862
  • Diarrhea July 9 to 12 1862 , returned to duty
  • Syphilis Primitive June 19, 1863
  • Rheumatism August 18 to Sept. 20 1863
  • Rheumatism Nov. 2 to 6 1863 , returned to duty

Harris was discharged honorably in New Mexico on November 27, 1864. Later he married Margaret Jenkins and moved to Santa Cruz. Although Harris had been a farmer and a carpenter he also worked at the tannery while in the area. Their first child Anna S. (Miller) was born on December 23, 1870, and his wife Margaret died in 1870 probably of childbirth complications.

James Harris second marriage was to Susie J. Griffin of Gilroy, Santa Clara County California. On February 26, 1880 a son Harvey Harris was born. In 1887 James B Harris was elected as a Bay View School District Trustee. On May 13 18?? Harris applied for an invalid pension at Santa Cruz and gave as his reasons:

  • Disease of lungs
  • Chronic heart condition
  • Dyspepsia (all of which resulted in a general debility)

On March 20, 1914 he applied for pension from the federal government. At this time he was 66 years of age and living at a national soldiers home in Los Angeles. He received his pension of $19 dollars a month, but it was not for long because he died in July 30 1915 of heart failure.


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