George Harris (1720-1790) Of New Hampshire and Connecticut

March 2021

The genealogy of George Harris that we have been working on for about 25 years is now finished (for the time being, anyway; genealogies are never "finished"). If you would like a copy of the free PDF, send me a note.

     In the 2002 volume of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (NEHGR) is a comprehensive update of the family line of Walter Harris and Mary Fry, through the first four generations in America. The reference for this coverage is:

   Harris, G. H. 2002. Walter and Mary (Fry) Harris of New London, Connecticut. NEHGR 156:145-158, 262-279, and 357-372.

Our coverage picks up with the fifth American generation, with George Harris, who left New London County, Connecticut, in the 1760s to settle the new town of Canaan, Grafton County, New Hampshire. We follow all of George's known descendants into the early part of the Twentieth Century. Some of the principal family names other than Harris are  Alvord, Calkins, Carpenter, Hall, Hovey, May, Morse, Purmort, Sheldon, Smith, and Walworth. Many families stayed in New England, while others went west to Upstate New York, northeast Ohio, and into the Midwest.

Here's is one individual write-up, to show how we have put our work together.

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98. Emily Harris [Israel6, George5, Gibson4, Samuel3, Gabriel2, Walter1], daughter of Israel Harris and Miriam Eastman, was born 1 March 1812 at Canaan, Grafton County, New Hampshire. Her father died in 1813, and she was named in his 1814 probate papers. She lived with her mother and siblings at Canaan until December 1815, when her mother married 2nd John Allen. She was raised in the Allen household at Lyme, Grafton County until the late 1840s, when she went to live with her half-sister, Miriam (Allen) Hovey and family, at Centre, Lafayette County, Wisconsin [470]. She had been a school teacher in New Hampshire, and probably also in Wisconsin [471]. On 11 January 1852 at Centre, she married John W. Sturgis.

   John Sturgis, likely the son of Phineas Sturgis and Elizabeth West, was born at Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, ca 1801 [472]. Probably, he farmed in Pennsylvania, and ca 1820 he married Emma ______ [473]. They had three known children born in Pennsylvania between 1820 and 1835 [474]. By the mid-1840s, they had moved to Galena, Jo Daviess County, where apparently Emma died in 1850 or 1851. We did not find a death record or locate her gravesite [475].

   John and Emily lived in Illinois for a year or two after their marriage, but by ca 1854 had moved to Saratoga, Winona County, Minnesota, near where John's older children had located [476]. They remained in Minnesota until some time in the late 1860s [477], but by June 1870 were living and farming at Clinton, Henry County, Missouri  [478]. We couldn't find information on John or Emily during the 1870s; presumably Emily died during that decade, but we don't know where or when [479].

   In February 1884, John (then, a widower) settled on land at Shell Creek near Buffalo, Johnson County, Wyoming. He erected a house and began plowing the land, and in May 1884 applied for title to the land under the Homestead Act. He and his son, John H. Sturgis, lived on the property and farmed there until John W.'s death 19 January 1888. He was buried on the ranch [480][481].

 Children of John W. Sturgis and Emily Harris:

419. John Harris Sturgis (March 1853 - 23 October 1934)

420. Edmund Fremont Sturgis (ca 1856 - 470. U. S. Federal census 1850 - Centre, Lafayette County, Wisconsin.

 471. In a letter written 24 July 1850 by Miriam (Eastman Harris) Allen to her son Stephen Harris, she notes that Joanna Hovey, her daughter by John Allen, is "well contented where she lives," and that Miriam's daughter Emily Harris is a school teacher and can make better money there than in New Hampshire. Letter preserved with the E. L. Harris and L. Harris collection of Civil War letters at the New Hampshire Historical Society library, Concord.

 472. We couldn't find any primary source material on the origins of John W. Sturgis, but the total record  supports the generally held beliefs about his parentage and early life.

 473. The first wife of John W. Sturgis has been identified on various "family trees" as Emma Mitchell, but with no source information. We couldn't find anything to support the identification.

 474. Documented children of John W. Sturgis and Emma _____ were: Eliza Sturgis (3 April 1820 - 26 November 1897), Samuel A. Sturgus (ca 1827 - ), and William James Sturgis (24 October 1834 - 25 February 1908).

 475. Emma Sturgis, age 58, born in Pennsylvania, was recorded in the December 1850 Federal census of Galena, Jo Daviess County, Illinois. We couldn't find any later records of her.

 476. John Harris Sturgis, son of John and Emily Harris, was born in Illinois in March 1853. John's older children, Samuel Sturgis and Eliza (Sturgis) Day were in Minnesota by 1854 (Pages 525-526 in: Neill, E. D. 1882. History of Fillmore County, including explorers and pioneers of Minnesota. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Company). John and Emily's second son, Edmund Fremont Sturgis, was born in Minnesota ca 1855. All the Sturgis families were recorded in Minnesota in the 1860 census.

 477. John and Emily Sturgis, and their two sons, were still at Saratoga, Minnesota, at the time of the 1865 Minnesota State census.

 478. U. S. Federal census 1870 - Clinton, Henry County, Missouri.

 479. We didn't find any traces of either John W. Sturgis or Emily Sturgis from June 1870 in Missouri until John began homesteading in Wyoming in 1884. During the 1870s, John's children were in Missouri, Minnesota, and Kansas. By the early 1880s, all but the youngest son Edmund had moved to Wyoming. It seems likely that John (with or without Emily?) moved with them, but we couldn't find any specific records.

 480. Anonymous. 1888. [Death: John W. Sturgis]. The Sentinel (Buffalo, Wyoming), 21 January 1888.

   "John W. Sturgis, father of S. A., W. J. and J. H. Sturgis, died at the residence of John H. Sturgis near Lake De Smet on Thursday, Jan. 19, 1888, in the 87th year of his age. Interment to-day at the Sturgis ranch, on Shell creek."

 481. After the death of John W. Sturgis, his son John continued to live on the Shell Creek homestead, and continued to prove the claim in his name and that of the other Sturgis heirs. The deed was finally granted in October 1891 (U. S. Bureau of Land Management archives).


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