Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    Prominent in educational circles, Professor Fielder B. Harris is now superintendent of the schools of West Milton, and under his able guidance marked advancement has been made in the educational system of the town. He was born October 14, 1857, in Warren county, near Clarksville, Clinton county. His father, Samuel Harris, was born in Clinton county December 28, 1815, and was a son of James Harris, whose birth occurred in Prince George county, Maryland, December 22, 1775. The latter re-moved to Loudoun county, Virginia, when fourteen years of age, and there learned the carpenter's trade. He wedded Miss Mary Cherry, of Virginia, a daughter of Major William Cherry, who served throughout the war of the Revolution. In 1809 James Harris emigrated westward to Ohio, taking up his residence at Todd Forks only a few years after the admission of the state into the Union. He served as captain and colonel of militia in the old training days, and for eighteen years was justice of the peace, while for six years he represented his district in the general assembly and left the impress of his strong individuality upon the legislation of the state. He died in 1845, and his wife survived until 1860.

    Samuel Harris, the father of our subject, spent his boyhood days on the old home farm and acquired his education in the subscription schools of that time. He remained with his parents until he had attained his majority and then engaged in merchandising in Clarksville, Ohio, for three years. He was married, at that place, on the 20th of October, 1838, to Phoebe Kibby, who was born at Clarksville, February 2, 1818. They became the parents of seven children: Henry C., who died at the age of one year; Charles A., a successful farmer living near Ogden, Clinton county, Ohio; Mary N., wife of George Wilkerson, of Warren county; James E., a teacher and farmer of Osage county, Kansas; Angeline, wife of Thomas N. Wilkerson, a farmer of Warren county; Samantha, who married Uriah Compton.; and Fielder B. After following mercantile pursuits for three years Samuel Harris resumed farming and devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits throughout the remainder of his life. He died March 21, 1895, and in his death the community lost one of its valued citizens.

    His political support was given the Republican party and he did all in his power to promote its growth and insure its success. For twenty years he was justice of the peace, but on most occasions he used his influence with litigants that they might settle their disputes outside of court. This was not to his financial advantage, but it indicates the high moral character of the man. He held membership in the Methodist church and in his daily life exemplified his belief. Socially he was connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Prior to the civil war his home was a station on the underground railroad, and he aided many a negro in making his way to freedom. After the strife between the two sections of the country began he was a loyal supporter of the Union cause, and aided many of the soldiers' families while the husbands and fathers were in the field. In 1880 he wrote the history of Washington township, Warren county, and his familiarity with all of the events that occurred therein well qualified him for the work. His wife was an active co-worker with her husband, and was called to her final rest March 26, 1895, only five days after his death. She was also a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and continued to take an active part in its work until the weight of years caused her to put aside the more active duties of life.

    Fielder B. Harris, whose name introduces this review, needs no introduction to the readers of the history of Miami county, for he is both widely and favorably known in this section of the state. He remained upon the old home farm until about seventeen years of age, and during that time attended the district schools and a high school. He then went to Lebanon and entered the National Normal University at that place, and after completing a three-years course was graduated in that institution. He entered upon his career as an educator in Warren county, teaching in the district schools there for six years, while he spent the summer vacations in pursuing special studies, also sometimes teaching at his alma mater. After three years of high school work he went to Chattanooga, Tennessee, as principal of the fifth district school, remaining in charge for four years. In 1892 he came to West Mil- ton and accepted the superintendency of the schools of this place, and for eight years has filled the position with marked ability. His career as a teacher covers a period of twenty-two years, during which time his labors have been very effective, for he has kept in touch with the progress that has been manifest in educational circles.

    On the 12th of October, 1882, Mr. Harris was united in marriage to Miss Addie Warwick, daughter of Albert C. and Mary (Sherwood) Warwick, both of whom are of English extraction. She was born and spent her girlhood days in Lebanon and obtained her education in the schools of that city. By her marriage she has become the mother of four children: Clarence E., Edith, Albert S. and Ada. All are yet at home. Professor Harris votes with the Republican party and is well informed on the issues of the day, but has never sought office. Socially he is a valued representative of the Masonic fraternity, the Knights of Pythias lodge and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, all of West Milton. He, his wife and children are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he has served eight years as Sunday school superintendent,-- three years at Chattanooga and five years at West Milton. He takes a very active part in church work, doing all in his power to promote the cause of Christianity among his fellow men. The Harris household is noted for its hospitality and is the center of a cultured society circle. Professor Harris has done much to improve the intellectual and moral tone of the community with which he is connected, and his sterling character commands for him the high regard of all with whom he is associated.

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