Pioneer Families‎ > ‎

William C. Harris

William C. Harris (1830-1900) moved with his wife, Elizabeth (Reid)
Bales (1830-1913), to Nevada in 1893. Born in England, William ran
away from home at age fourteen and went to sea for two years. Shortly
after returning home, he joined the British Army and was later to fight in
the Crimean War. William participated in the Charge of the Light Brigade. After a ten-year stint in the army, he wandered through the United
States and crossed the Pacific to Australia.

Returning to the United States, William married a young widow, Elizabeth Bales, near Marengo, in 1862. Elizabeth was born in England and widowed
in Ohio with two daughters, Anna and Mary Bales. Anna, born on the ship during the Bales’ Atlantic crossing in 1852, was to become the wife of Samuel Armstrong of Nevada.

William and Elizabeth had three daughters, Nella, Zella, and Bessie, and four sons, Charles, Clifton, Clinton, and Clayton. After moving to Story County in 1874, the Harrises founded a homestead about nine miles from Nevada in Richland Township. In later years, Clifton often spoke of developing thisland by “laying tile to drain the marshes.”

Clifton Harris (1868-1950) married Cora Griffith (1873-1954) in 1891. He established a lumber and farm supply store in McCallsburg and was active in the local bank. After becoming quite prosperous, he sold the business and moved to Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1910. The family consisted of four
boys, Lowell, Harlin, Orville, and Ardys, and a daughter, Reba. A second daughter, Neva, was born later in Nevada.

Upon returning to Iowa, Clifton entered into real estate in Nevada, buying and selling farm properties. They soon bought the large brick house, now an historical landmark (the Page residence), at 1110 9th Street. The family occupied this residence from about 1913 until it had to be sold in 1933 because of financial pressures created by the depression.

Harlin Harris married Nellie Thormon (1899-1987) of Colo on January 1, 1920, in a quiet ceremony at the brick house. Harlin had graduated
from Nevada High School in 1918 and had played on the high school basketball and football teams. He had joined the army just before the end of World War I. The newlyweds moved to one of Clifton’s farms north of Nevada. Soon the price collapse of agriculture products forced the couple off the farm. This depression of the early 1920s preceded the crash
of 1929 and was the cause of the failure of several family farms and businesses.

Harlin and Nellie moved back to Nevada in 1924 with their son, Ray. Harlin ultimately became county foreman responsible for the maintenance of the
heavy road working equipment until 1937. Later, he was employed by Caterpillar dealers in Des Moines and Los Angeles. Starting with Orville and Ardys (Art) in the 1920s, all of the Harrises eventually moved to California with the exception of Lowell.

William Harris, the first of the Nevada Harrises is buried in the Nevada Cemetery. His grandson, Harlin, the last member of that third generation of
Harrises to live in Nevada, was 103 years old as of May 2002. Harlin lives near his son on the Palos Verdes Peninsula south of Los Angeles.