The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 31, July 1927 - April, 1928 Page: 366
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
1829, John R. Harris was not only the founder of a town, with
merchant ships on the gulf, sailing to New Orleans and Mexican
ports, but he had large stocks of merchandise at Harrisburg and
at Bell's Landing, Brazoria County; his steam sawmill and grist-
mill at Harrisburg was nearing completion, but he had to go to
New Orleans for a piece of belting to put it in running order. He
never returned.' The Texas Gazette, published at San Felipe de
Austin, in its issue of October 3, 1829, records his death in feeling
terms, as follows: "The fatality of yellow fever this season in
New Orleans has deprived this colony of one of its citizens, who
for the enterprise which characterized him, was not only a very
useful and important member of this young community, but one
to whom it is indebted for the undertaking of a very valuable
and considerable branch of mechanical industry. .
In the death of Mr. John R. Harris the colony has lost an en-
terprising citizen, and his friends have been bereaved of one whose
loss will not easily be replaced. He died on Friday evening, the
21st of August last, in that city after a five days illness."
Papers relating to important business operations in which he
was engaged at this time, are in my possession. Among them is a
contract for the purchase of from ninety to one hundred bales of
cotton from Jared E. Groce. The document, dated March 27,
1829, shows that Zeno Phillips was a partner in the transaction,
which was to be consummated by final payments on the 10th day of
January, 1830. This was probably the first large cotton contract
John R. Harris's death subjected his property to an adminis-
tration, which, owing to the slow methods of Mexican judicial pro-
cedure, threatened to drag along indefinitely, greatly to the detri-
ment of the property and the interests of his heirs. His family,
consisting of a wife and four children, were at their home between
Waterloo and Seneca Falls, N. Y., intending to join him at Har-
risburg as soon as the contemplated buildings would give them a
suitable abiding place. The startling news of his death wrecked
all their plans. After mature deliberation, it was determined to
make no move until DeWitt Clinton, the eldest son, should be of
an age to accompany his mother to Texas and assist her in taking
'See THE QUARTERLY, XVIII, 6-9.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 31, July 1927 - April, 1928, periodical, 1928; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101088/m1/390/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.