Benjamin Harris is one of the honored pioneer settlers of Iowa county, where he established his home fifty eight
years ago, at which time the most farsighted could not have dreamed of the wonderful changes which would occur
and transform the district into one of the populous and prosperous sections of one of the greatest states of the
Union. He was born in Monmouthshire, Wales, August 5, 1834, a son of John and Mary (Griffith) Harris, the former
a native of Carmarthenshire and the latter of Monmouthshire. The father was an engineer and followed that business
throughout his entire life, working for thirty five years in the same engine house.
Benjamin Harris is the only survivor of a family of thirteen children. He was educated in the public schools of
Blen Avon and after putting aside his textbooks he began work in a machine shop, while still later he fired on
an engine. He was but eighteen years of age when he bade adieu to friends and native country and sailed for the
new world, reaching American shores on the 6th of June, 1853. He made his way to Ohio and after four years spent
in that state came to Iowa county, Iowa, in 1857, after which he engaged in farming in Troy and Hilton townships
for twenty two years. Carefully and systematically he conducted the work of the fields and his intelligently directed
energy and industry brought him gratifying success, enabling him to at length put aside further business cares.
He is still a stockholder in the Parnell Savings Bank and in the Williamsburg Savings Bank, and his property interests
return to him a good income. In the Williamsburg Savings Bank he is a director and the vice president.
In 1857, in Lawrence county, Ohio, Mr. Harris was united in marriage to Miss Gwenllian Jones, a daughter of John
Jones. To them were born seven children, three of whom survive, as follows: Ivor and William Griffith, both of
whom are residents of Chicago; and Mary Louise, the wife of Hon. Harry E. Hull, who is now serving as congressman
from the second district of Iowa and a sketch of whom appears on another page of this work.
In his political views Mr. Harris has always been a stalwart republican since becoming a naturalized American citizen
and for many years he has filled the office of justice of the peace, being now the incumbent after twenty seven
consecutive years in that position, during which time his duties have been discharged with absolute fairness and
impartiality. He is spoken of as "a fine old gentleman of the old school whom it is a pleasure to meet"
and his face bears the impress of an upright character, of clean thoughts, of honorable purpose and of straightforward
dealing with his fellowmen. He has now passed the eighty first milestone on life's journey and the honorable record
which he has made may well serve as an example for others to follow.
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Iowa County, IA
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