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Old Timers 1893

(Glimpses of prominent Frackville citizens from the borough's early days)


JOHN P. HARRIS, a member of the firm of Harris & Frymire, general merchants of Mahanoy Plane, was born June 19, 1859, in Frackville, son of John and Amelia (Evans) Harris.

The paternal grandfather of John P. Harris was a native of England, and came to America about 1812, shortly after locating in Schuylkill Haven, where he resided until his death. He was chiefly engaged upon the canal, which at that time was one of the chief means of communication and transportation. His son, John Harris, Sr., was also a native of England, and was born about the year 1812, and was brought to this country by his father. His childhood and early life were spent in the vicinity of Schuylkill Haven, where at the same time he attended the public schools.

About 1859 he removed to Frackville, this county, at the time when the Reading Railroad was being constructed, and was engaged in the hotel business until the completion of the road. He died in Frackville in January, 1888. He married Amelia Evans, daughter of Jenkins Evans, who was a native of Wales, and who at the age of eighteen years entered the English army in 1803.

He was a member of the 15th regiment of Hussars, and was discharged in the course of Honorable service in 1827, having served through the campaigns of the Peninsula and in the Engagement at Waterloo; he received at the end of that conflict, a medal in attestation of his bravery and daring. After the conclusion of the campaign, he came to the United States, and took up a residence in Pottsville, where he died in 1839. He was a man of fine military bearing and education, and while a resident of Schuylkill county, became military instructor of the first troops of the Pennsylvania state militia.

John P. Harris was united in marriage with Elizabeth Coombe, a daughter of James Coombe. This marriage has been fruitful in the birth of three children: Ella, Newton and Maggie. The educational advantages of Mr. Harris were exceedingly poor; but through his own individual effort, and through his contact with the world, he has gained a practical knowledge which under other circumstances would probably have been impossible.

At the age of twelve years he began working for a railroad company, remaining in this employ until the age of twenty years. At the termination of this time he accepted a place on the coal and iron police of Schuylkill county, and remained in this capacity a period of ten years. Subsequently, in connection with Wm. Frymire, under the firm-name of Harris & Frymire, he embarked in the mercantile business, which he still continues. In addition to this he conducts a meat market in Girardville, which has proven to be a very successful venture. In politics he is a firm republican, and is always enthusiastic in the support of that party.

[This article can be found in "1893 History of Schuylkill County" by J.H. Beers]

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