Harrises of Yarmouth and Shelburne Counties, Nova Scotia

NOTE November 2018: I haven't worked on these Harris pages in quite awhile. Consider the information preliminary and incomplete, but maybe still useful.

My information on the HARRIS families of early Yarmouth and Shelburne counties, Nova Scotia, is meager, coming from the published vital records of Beverly, Massachusetts, and from three books:

- J. R. Campbell (1972 edition), A History of the County of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Mika Studio (Belleville, Ontario).

- G. S. Brown (1888), Yarmouth, Nova Scotia: a sequel to Campbell's History. Rand Avery Company (Boston, MA).

- Shelburne County Genealogical Society (1993), Land of My Fathers: Volume II.



From the Yarmouth books, we learn that Samuel HARRIS and his son David HARRIS were among the original grantees of Yarmouth, arriving from Beverly, MA, in 1763. In 1763-1764 the HARRIS family in Yarmouth had 10 members. William HARRIS, the son of Samuel HARRIS, was allegedly the first English child born in Yarmouth, soon after the family arrived.
Samuel HARRIS settled on the west side of Yarmouth harbour, "opposite Killam's shipyard." In 1784, the Yarmouth town list had the following HARRIS names: Samuel HARRIS, Samuel HARRIS Jr., David HARRIS, "Cors." [probably Cornelius] HARRIS, and Benjamin HARRIS.

Using the Beverly, MA, vital records, I've put together the probable family of Samuel HARRIS that emigrated to Yarmouth.


1 - Samuel HARRIS [assumed, in that the Beverly records call Samuel (2) "Samuel Harris Jr."



2-Samuel HARRIS Jr., married in Beverly, MA, 6 Oct 1742, Abigail LARCOM; came to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia 1763; resident in Yarmouth 1784.


3-David HARRIS b. 4 Feb 1743 Beverly, MA; with his father Samuel, one of the original Yarmouth grantees. In Yarmouth 1784.

4-Infant HARRIS b. and d. 1744 Beverly, MA.

5-Jonathan HARRIS b. 19 Oct 1745 Beverly, MA; apparently not included on the 1784 Yarmouth town list.

6-Samuel HARRIS bapt. 6 Mar 1747/8 Beverly, MA; probably the unnamed child of Samuel HARRIS Jr. reported as dying in Beverly 1748.

7-Margrate [Margaret?] HARRIS b. 19 May 1749 Beverly, MA.

8-Lucy HARRIS b. 9 May 1751 Beverly, MA.

9-Dorcas HARRIS b. 22 Dec 1753 Beverly, MA.

10-Benjamin HARRIS b. 6 July 1755 Beverly, MA; on the Yarmouth town list 1784.

11-Samuel HARRIS b. 20 Jan 1757 Beverly, MA; included on the 1784 Yarmouth town list as Samuel HARRIS "Jr."

12-Cornelius HARRIS b. 19 May 1759 Beverly, MA; almost certainly the "Cors." HARRIS included on the 1784 Yarmouth town list.

13-Priscilla HARRIS bapt. 31 May 1761 Beverly, MA.

14-William HARRIS. His birth is listed in the Beverly, MA vital records as occurring 18 Aug 1765, which is at odds with the report in Campbell's "History" that he was the first English child born in Yarmouth, ca. 1763. At face value, the Beverly record suggests that William was born in Massachusetts, not Nova Scotia, and also that at least part of the HARRIS family did not leave Massachusetts until 1765 or later. However, there are other possibilities: e.g., the Beverly date is wrong (there is room in the family records for a child born in 1763), the 18 Aug 1765 date is actually his christening date, or the Nova Scotia birth was recorded in Beverly (which sometimes happened when a prominent family moved, but still had ties in a town) without the birth location.
William HARRIS was apparently not on the 1784 Yarmouth town list. [NOTE: This may be the William HARRIS whose daughter Lydia HARRIS (b. 1798) married John WARNE of Digby, Nova Scotia.]

I have not tried to trace this family, so do not know if they had a long history in Yarmouth County, dispersed to other parts of Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, or returned to "the States." The Beverly, MA, vital records include one marriage intent declaration that suggests at least one descendant of this group returned to Beverly:

-Charles HARRIS Jr. "late from Nova Scotia" and Lydia GERRY, marriage intent filed 10 Dec 1835.


The Shelburne County Genealogical Society's 1993 book "Land of My Fathers" (Volume 2) includes information on five generations of a Harris family that came to Shelburne County from Wales in 1818. I have not reviewed this book, but have the following information from Bill Camp:

"John HARRIS born in Carmarthenshire, Wales, about 1777, died in Welshtown, Shelburne County and was buried on 3 January 1858. John married Mary JAMES on 2 August 1798 at Liandyfriog, Cardiganshire, Wales. Mary died at Welshtown, aged 92 years. John, Mary and seven or eight children arrived in Shelburne with the second group of Welsh settlers. John received 200 acres of land at New Cambria (now Welshtown), as did his sons David and Henry. In all, John and Mary had at least 13 children. A number of HARRIS family members still live in this area and are descended from John and Mary."



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