Although settlement along Tecumseh Creek, now known as Elm Creek, south of the present site of Harris in central Reeder Township, was begun as early as 1855, it was not until 1886, after the laying of the Kansas, Nebraska & Dakota railroad, that a town site was platted.
It was in the fall of that year that Harris was laid out on land owned by Patrick Reddington, and the plat was filed December 13, 1886. The Harris Town Company, with Mike Reddington as president, had been formed that summer and lots were sold at a reasonable price. The railroad company—or Colonel Harris, as some supposed—owned half of the town site and the Reddington's the other half.
The town was started south of the railroad tracks but soon the trend of business changed to the north side where the business section is now located. The first storekeeper of Harris was Walter G. Frazier, who conducted a small grocery store. Mr. Sheets, who remained but a short time, was the first blacksmith, and William Stewart succeeded him. Fred Rhodes conducted the first lumber yard, Robert McClure was the druggist, Leland Cochran ran the hardware store, where also the post office was kept.
Tom Caldwell, a pioneer merchant, had a grocery store. Will Woehler was the first hotel keeper in the building in which Mike Magrath now resides. The first inn in this vicinity was conducted by James Means, one of the first settlers, who built his home northwest of Harris and kept an inn for westward moving pioneers as early as the fifties.
Tom McDonald and Tom Doyle were the pioneer bankers. Dr. Monroe was Harris' first physician, and John James McEvoy, cattle buyer and early justice of the peace. Mike Reddington owned an early drug store. Pat Reddington had a dance hall north of the W. K. Shaw building, which was located south of the business section.
Although, in 1887 the name of Harris was changed to Samana by the railroad, the name was unpopular from the first and the town has been known since its building as Harris, undoubtedly in honor of Colonel Harris. In March, 1929, the county commissioners issued an order for the incorporation of Harris as a city of the third class. The official census of 1933 gave Harris a population of 112 residents.
March 26, 1909
Harris has a paper. The Harris Sun, which made its appearance Saturday. Bert Fry and Lee Leftwich are its editors.
From the paper it would appear that Leftwich is doing the editorial work. It is a neat little paper, very readable and will be interesting. We hope the boys make it go.
The Harris Sun newspaper office, 1909. Bert Fry and Lee Leftwich are editors.