Biography of Arnold Harris
FROM OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE
A DESCRIPTIVE AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD
OF SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK
PREPARED AND PUBLISHED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE SARATOGIAN
THE BOSTON HISTORY COMPANY, PUBLISHERS 1899

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Harris, Arnold, was born in the town of Ballston, February 22, 1808. His father was Daniel Harris, who had twelve children, of whom Arnold was the eldest During his boyhood he lived upon his father's farm and afterward taught school until he was nineteen, when he removed to Baliston Spa, and became clerk in a hardware store in the building now known as the Barrett building, on Front street. In 1834 he and the late James H. Spier bought out the business and continued as partners until 1839, in which year Mr. Spier's interest was transferred to William Harris and the business was continued under the name of A. & W. Harris. In 1840 they built the brick store which they moved into and. which has since been occupied as a hardware store, and in 1842 Mr. Harris became the sole owner and continued alone until 1882, when he associated Fred Armer with him, under the name of F. Armer & Co. The firm did business until 1889, when his increasing years compelled Mr. Harris to retire. His success as a merchant was exceptional and he amassed a large fortune. Beside his store he for a long time conducted the well known Harris foundry on Ford street, where he manufactured a plow which for years was preferred by farmers to any other. Though never a politician. Mr. Harris took a deep interest in public affairs. He was from the foundation of the Republican party one of its staunchest adherents and was a thorough believer in the doctrine of protection. In the fall of 1848 he was elected county treasurer and continued in that position for six years, at the end of which time he declined a renomination. Though repeatedly urged to become a candidate for office he always refused. When the plans were made for erecting the present county clerk's office, Mr. Harris was made chairman of the committee appointed for that purpose and his advice and experience were invaluable in pushing the work to completion. He was for many years a director in the Baliston Spa National bank and at the time of his death was vice-president of the institution and one of its largest shareholders. June 20, 1831, he married Phoebe Middlebrook, who died March 31, 1873. They had five children, all of whom died young except one daughter, Mary, who married Charles S. Hall of Binghamton. May 18, 1874, Mr. Harris married Sarah Middlebrook, who survives him. Mr. Harris died January 15, 1891, in his eighty-third year, and by his death Baliston Spa has lost one of its best known citizens and one whose reputation for industry and honesty was unquestioned.


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