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DANIEL MATHIAS HARRIS

Rose Hill Cemetery
Harrison County, Iowa
Uploaded 6/22/2005 by
weeour [Email]

Birth: Jul. 21, 1821
Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio

Death: Oct. 9, 1911 - age 90
Missouri Valley, Harrison County, Iowa

Daniel Mathias Harris ~

Daniel M. Harris was a highly-respected citizen of Audubon, Guthrie, and Harrison counties, Iowa, serving with distinction as an Iowa State Representative, lawyer, judge, and newspaper proprietor/editor; he held numerous civic offices at the city and county level, such as postmaster, mayor, and school board member, in addition to holding membership and offices in fraternal organizations such as the Free Masons & Odd Fellows. During his lifetime, he sat on many local boards dedicated to the betterment of his community and its citizens.

He always took great pride in his surroundings and originated ideas and/or assisted in many ways to improve the various communities in which he and his family lived. He was very active in all projects, their funding, and also in the daily administration of city or county business matters. His integrity & life-long public service at city, county, and state levels, in addition to the journalism arena, earned him the respect & admiration of many.

He was born in Dayton, Ohio, and was orphaned at the age of nine when both parents died within one month of each other. He went to Maury Co., Tennessee where he attended school, and later became a carpenter; he sought a higher education and studied law, receiving his law degree from Maury Co., Tennessee, and practiced for a few years before moving his family to Iowa.

Daniel Harris was an early settler to Audubon Co., Iowa, arriving at Hamlin's Grove in November 1854, from Tennessee. His family settled in Exira, where he was elected in 1856 as county judge, serving Audubon Co. for two terms. He was the second person to be elected to this office and was instrumental in the construction (and funding) of the first schools, roads, city & county buildings, and homes in Audubon County, in addition to many other community needs, utilizing his skills and talent as a carpenter and legal practitioner.

In 1859, he was elected to the Iowa State House of Representatives, Eighth General Assembly, serving in the regular session of 1860 and the extra (war) session of 1861. He defeated candidate Stephen King, by a margin of ONE vote.

In 1862, Daniel moved his family to Panora, Guthrie Co., Iowa, where he was a member of the prominent legal firm of Harris & Fogg;

In August 1862, Daniel's son, William James "Jim" Harris, enlisted at Des Moines, Iowa, in Company B, 39th Iowa Infantry, to serve in the Civil war -- he was taken prisoner on October 5, 1864, at the Battle of Altoona, Georgia and incarcerated at the infamous Andersonville Prison until he was paroled in February 1865. William James "Jim" Harris died in Washington state, February 18, 1943, at the age of 98 years -- two weeks before his 99th birthday.

In 1863, Daniel M. Harris commenced his editorial career, becoming the proprietor and editor of the GUTHRIE COUNTY LEDGER newspaper.

In 1867, he was the democratic candidate for Lieutenant-Governor of Iowa, but was defeated in this endeavor by John Scott, losing by a margin of 129 votes.

In 1868, Daniel then moved his family to Missouri Valley, Harrison Co., Iowa, where he founded the HARRISONIAN newspaper and published its first edition on July 3, 1868; he sold the newspaper to H.M. Goltry in 1872, who then changed the name to the MISSOURI VALLEY TIMES.

Between the years 1872-1876, Daniel became the owner/editor of the AUDUBON COUNTY SENTINEL (Audubon Co., Iowa) and changed the name to the AUDUBON COUNTY DEFENDER; became editor of the KANSAS DEMOCRAT in Independence, Kansas; founded and published the CAP SHEAF newspaper, located at Atlantic, Cass Co., Iowa.

In 1876, he re-acquired the newspaper he had founded in Harrison Co., Iowa -- the HARRISONIAN, which now was named the MISSOURI VALLEY TIMES [the name it still bears to this time - Feb. 2005!]. Daniel Harris and his sons, grandsons and various other relatives conducted this business continuously for 54 years from then until at least 1930, when Rush C. Lahman, grandson of Daniel, was the last-known relative to edit the newspaper; [Rush died Nov. 2, 1930]; this newspaper was conducted by the Harris family for a minimum total span of 58 years (deducting the 4-year period between sale and re-acquisition).

In 1884 Daniel M. HARRIS was a delegate-at-large to the Democratic National Convention, and was the first man in Iowa to raise a flag in honor of Grover Cleveland, and in 1888 he was the Democratic candidate for Congress in the Ninth Congressional District.

Harrison County, Iowa takes pride in having had four of its citizens (as of 1971) represent them at various times, in the Iowa State Legislature: Daniel M. HARRIS, Hugh J. TAMISIEA, Robert W. HARVEY and Walter F. NOBLE.

Much has been written about the life of Daniel M. Harris, published in several Iowa history books written about the counties of Audubon, Guthrie, and Harrison. Much more information can be found in those sources, than what I include here;

A portrait of Daniel M. Harris still hangs at the Audubon Co., Iowa, court house.

Daniel Mathias Harris was married to Martha Minerva White July 29, 1841, in Maury Co., Tennessee, and they lived to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary; they are the parents of 10 children: Mary Isabella "Belle", William James "Jim", Clarinda Campbell "Clara", Daniel Webster, John Wiley, Robert Henry, Edwin Truman, Ellis Nathaniel, Virginia Tennessee "Jennie or Tennie", & Emma Eudora.

SOURCES: (more info can be found at individual counties & towns)

History of Harrison County Iowa, by Hon. Charles W. Hunt, Logan, published 1915, B. F. Bowen & Company Inc.

History of Western Iowa - 1882;

Harrison County Iowa History - 1891;

History of Audubon county, Iowa...H F Andrews, editor...Indianapolis: B.F. Bowen & Company, 1915. Reprint: LaCrosse, WI : Brookhaven Press,2000.

100 Years in Exira 1857-1957; Centennial Celebration - July 2-4, 1957

Missouri Valley - The First One Hundred Years [Harrison County Iowa History - Written in 1971 by Hugh J. Tamisiea for the Missouri Valley Centennial Booklet]

History of Guthrie and Adair Counties, Iowa; 1884 - Continental Hist. Co., Springfield, Illinois

Written & submitted by "Wee", a 3rd-great granddaughter of Daniel M. Harris

Burial:
Rose Hill Cemetery
Missouri Valley, Harrison County, Iowa
Plot: Section 5 - Row 10

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