The Pioneer Harrises of Harris County, Texas
THE PIONEER HARRISES OF HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS
ADELE B. LOOSCAN
The title recalls John Richardson Harris, founder of the town
of Harrisburg. He was one of Austin's first three hundred col-
onists. Sailing from New Orleans in 1823 in his own boat, he
visited several places on the coast of Texas, and found what he
regarded as an ideal location for a city at the junction of Buffalo
and Bray's Bayous. This point marked the head of navigation at
that time; any boat that could cross Clopper's and Red Fish Bars
could come thus far and no farther. He seems to have been the
only one of that early period who foresaw the future of Buffalo
Bayou, on whose bosom now float big ships from foreign and
J. N. Almonte, who was sent from Mexico in 1834 to make a
statistical report of the Texas towns, evidently had never visited
Harrisburg; he says, "It is eighteen or twenty miles from Gal-
veston on Buffalo Creek, has a sawmill for cutting boards, and lost
its importance when troops stationed there were removed." "Ana-
huac," said Austin at about the same period, "will no doubt become
an important place, as it will command the trade of the Trinity
and a considerable portion of the San Jacinto." Not a word about
Harrisburg as the future important entrepot of Texas.
As soon as John R. Harris, colonist, received his title to the
4,428 acres of land selected by him, he built a house, opened a
store, and put schooners and sloops in service between this point
and New Orleans. The arrival of these boats was an event of
great importance for the settlers in the surrounding country, for
they supplied most of their necessities.
The town of Harrisburg was surveyed and laid off in 1826; the
site for his future home was selected by John R. Harris on the
crown of the sloping bank of Buffalo Bayou about half a mile from
the point of land at the confluence of the two bayous.
In 1827 he was joined by his brother, David, who was fond of
the water, a good sailor, and often commanded one of his vessels.
At a later date two other brothers, William Plunket and Samuel,
came out from their home at Cayuga, New York. By the year
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 31, July 1927 - April, 1928. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101088/. Accessed April 20, 2014.