Saturday, February 18, 2012

Family History Nathan Harris, Emer Harris and Emer's Daughter Rebecca Harris Taylor Yates

Living so close to many church history sites has been a blessing to our family. I especially have had the opportunity to research and search out my own Family History sites. Though I can't get a picture with my Great, Greats I guess their places of residence will have to do.

I would like to talk about another of my Great x4 Grandfathers Nathan Harris. Nathan's Son, Emer, married Solomon Chamberlin's daughter Polly. Nathan bought 600 acres of land from John Swift, most of that land is just a mile down Maple road from the four corner churches in Palmyra. While my brother Kyle was in town I searched out Nathan Harris's home and where this 600 acres would have been located. Thanks to Larry Porter and all his research that he did in a book titled "Sacred Places, New York and Pensylvania" I was able to locate the location of Nathan Harris's home this home is located just down the street from Martin Harris's home and is privately owned. Martin acquired 320 acres from his father Nathan, so it would make sense that his house would be so close. Here is a picture of the home that stands here now.

Site of Nathan Harris frame home, whether or not this is the actual Harris frame home, we don't know
When we visited the home, I asked the owners son if I could take some pictures and he said it was fine.

In Larry Porter's book he states: "Both Don Enders and Bob Lowe are of the opinion that this is the site where the Nathan Harris farm home stood, but they are reluctant to specify that the existing frame home is the original dwelling house without further research and proper verfication." The current owners son told me that the basement was built in the 1800's and he let me see that basement. If you take a good look at the entrance to the homes basement that was built in the 1800's one might believe that maybe this house, underneath all of it's modifications, could truly be the original frame home, but we may never know.

Enterance to the basement of the possible Nathan Harris frame home

What was so neat was that if it really was the basement that Nathan built, that his great x5 grandson who we named after him would later have a picture taken of him in there. Here I am holding him in the basement. Also, a picture of me, a couple of my kids and brother Kyle.
Lydia looking closely at the walls which were made mostly of large rocks and mudd in the Nathan Harris basement this area of the basement was very narrow
We do know that Nathan moved first into a log house which they built at the north end of Wintergreen Hill (now Walton Hill). In this picture you can see the edge of Wintergreen Hill and where his farm land is and the edge of the current frame home that stands there, so somewhere in this picture he built the log house first and then later the frame home.

Picture of Nathan Harris Farm in Palmyra NY. Panorama of the Edge of Wintergreen Hill and the edge of where the Nathan Harris frame home stood January 2012

Kyle Yost and Jan Yost West standing in front of the possible Nathan Harris frame home
On another one of our adventures seeking out the past was taking a trip to Kirtland, OH in April of 2011 more specifically Mentor Lake, Ohio where the home of Nathan's son Preserved lived. In Nathan Harris's history it states "moved to Ohio in 1831 along with some of his married children and their families, migrating with other followers of the newly formed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nathan lived to be quite an old man and died in November 1835 at Mentor Lake, Ohio. There is no record that indicates that he ever joined the Church.

In the Prophet Joseph Smith’s diary 18 Nov 1835 in Kirtland, he recorded, "I then went to Preserved Harris's, to preach his fathers funeral Sermon, by the request of the family I preached on the subject of the resurection, the congregation were very attentive My wife my mother and my scribe went with me to the funeral, we rode in a waggon, had a pleasant ride, the weather was pleasant, when we went, but cloudy and cool when we returned" In Nathan Harris's history it states "Preserved Harris' home still exists and is located on southwest corner of Rt. 84 and Chillicothe in Mentor." Exact address is approximately 8900 Johnnycake Ridge Rd. Mentor, Ohio. In Emer's history it states "In November of 1835 Emer´s father Nathan died at Menton Ohio, while living with Preserved, younger brother of Emer and Martin." So, we found another home that Nathan lived in, in Mentor, Ohio. Also, the fact that Joseph Smith preached the funeral sermon of Nathan Harris was facinating to me and so we searched out the home of Preserved and here it is in 2011 just after Nathan our 4th was born. It was neat to stand on the property and know that somewhere on that land Joseph stood and preached my great x4 grandfathers funeral sermon. I have not been able to locate Nathan's burial site though, if anyone knows where Nathan Harris son of Preserved Harris and Martha Mowry who was born March 23, 1758 in Smithfield, Rhode Island. He died on 11 Nov 1835 in Mentor, Lake, Ohio. 4 is that would be so helpful.

Here are some pictures of Preserved Harris home in Mentor, Ohio. A lady in Mentor told me that the house was yellow for a long time before they painted it this color. It is privately owned and currently the owner ownes 5 acres of land, but I do not know how much land Preserved owned at the time he lived there. I assume it was definatley 5 acres maybe even more?
Me and my 4 children standing in front of Preserved Harris home
Preserved Harris Home, Mentor, Ohio 2011
Front of Preserved Harris Home
Preserved Harris Farm Mentor, Ohio 2011
I haven't searched out Emer Harris and his places of residence yet, but I do have a picture of Emer Harris's daughter Rebecca Harris seen here on the bottom left (when facing the picture) sitting next her is her daughter Rebecca Harriet Taylor Tracy and two of Rebecca Tracy's daughters, though I don't know their names. David Samuel Tracy and Rebecca Harriet Tracy's daughters names in order are: Fanny Elizabeth, Mary Levina, Rosetta, Lydia Jane, Evelyn, Ida Lilly, and Nellie Rebecca. So it has to be two of these girls?? Rebecca had 6 sons as well. So 13 children in all. Someone responded to my post and now we know who the two daughters are, but we don't know the name of the baby.
Rebecca Harris Taylor Yates, Emer Harris and Polly Chamberlin daughter
From Left to Right Bottom: Rebecca Harris Taylor Yates and Rebecca Harriet TaylorTracy
Top: Left to Right Back
daughter Mary Livinia; baby?; daughter Fannie Elizabeth 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Little Family History Great x4 Grandfather Solomon Chamberlin

Ever since I moved to Buffalo, NY almost 5 years ago I have gotten the Family History bug, mostly because shortly after moving here I discovered I was a descendant of Solomon Chamberlin (sometimes spelled Chamberlain) and Nathan Harris, Father of Martin Harris. Solomon Chamberlin has been mentioned by Church history historians for years and I didn't know who he was, I just discovered his name by reading the book "The Martin Harris Story, with biographies of Emer Harris and Dennison Lott Harris ". Knowing that I was a descendant of Emer Harris, Martin's older brother I read this book and discovered in the book that Emer married a girl by the name of Polly Chamberlin, Solomon Chamberlins daughter. Polly was Emer's first polygamists wife and they had one child a daughter named Rebecca Harris who made it across the plains safely with her grandfather Solomon, and her father Emer, her mother Polly died at winter quarters.

Solomon Chamberlains life after and before gaining his testimony of the truth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was fascinating to me. My husband served his mission here in Western NY and served 6 months in Lyons, NY which is where the home of my great x 4 Grandfather Solomon lived. And that is when I learned that his home still stands today. It is located one mile NE of the village of Lyons at the three way junction of CR244 (Pilgrimport Road), CR 245 (Lock Berlin Road). and Bishop Rd. His home is a 1 1/2 story frame home (it was once a tavern). My brother Kyle and I had the opportunity to visit his home this past month. Here we are in front of the home that still stands in Lyons NY with the old Erie Canal across the street.

Here is a picture of his home with the old Erie canal across the street.

And here I am with my 4 children in front of the home.

In Solomon Chamberlins history he writes "About the time that Joseph Smith found the gold record, I began to feel that the time was drawing near, that the Lord would in some shape or other, bring forth his church. I made some inquiry through the country where I traveled if there was any strange work of God, such as had not been on the earth since the days of Christ. I could hear of none. I was living about 20 miles east of where the gold record was found, on the Erie Canal. I had occasion to go on a visit into Upper Canada. I took boat for Lockport, when the boat came to Palmyra, I felt as if some genie or good spirit told me to leave the boat. This was a few miles from where the record was found. After leaving the boat, the spirit manifested to me, to travel a south course. I did so for about 3 miles. I had not as yet heard of the Gold Bible (so called) [Book of Mormon] nor any of the [Joseph] Smith family. I was a stranger in that part of the country, a town where I never before had set my foot, and knew no one in the town."

Solomon was told of the Gold Bible and made his way to Joseph Smith's home and in his history he writes: "I soon made my way across lots, to Father Smith's and found Hyrum walking the floor. As I entered the door, I said, "Peace be to this house." He looked at me as one astonished, and said, "I hope it will be peace." I then said, "Is there anyone here that believes in visions or revelations?" He said, "Yes, we are a visionary house." I said, "Then I will give you one of my pamphlets, which was visionary, and of my own experience." They then called the people together, which consisted of five or six men who were out at the door. Father Smith was one and some of the Whitmer's. They then sat down and read my pamphlet. Hyrum read first, but was so affected he could not read it. He then gave it to a man, which I learned was Christian Whitmer, he finished reading it. I then opened my mouth and began to preach to them, in the words that the angel had made known to me in the vision, that all churches and denominations on the earth had become corrupt, and no church of God on the earth, but that he would shortly raise up a church that would never be confounded nor brought down and be like unto the Apostolic Church. They wondered greatly who had been telling me these things, for said they we have the same things wrote [written] down in our house, taken from the Gold record, that you are preaching to us. I said, "The Lord told me these things a number of years ago." I then said, "If you are a visionary house, I wish you would make known some of your discoveries, for I think I can bear them." They then made known to me that they had obtained a gold record, and just finished translating it here. Now, the Lord revealed to me by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost that this was the work I had been looking for.
Here I stayed 2 days and they instructed me, in the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon. After I had been here two days, I went with Hyrum and some others to Palmyra printing office where they began to print the Book of Mormon, and as soon as they had printed 64 pages, I took them with their leave and pursued my journey to Canada, and I preached all that I knew concerning Mormonism, to all both high and low, rich and poor, and thus you see this was the first that ever printed Mormonism was preached to this generation."

Solomon had a vision or a dream many years before this and he wrote a pamphlet and had it published and Brigham Young University found a copy.

Solomon Chamberlain of Lyons, New York, was accompanied to the print shop by Hyrum Smith, who handed him 64 pages from the new volume  and as he stated took them into Canada to preach the gospel. This is when he came across Brigham Young and his brother Phineas and may have been the first missionary to come across Brigham Young. Brighams brothers Phineas and Joseph both visited Solomon at his home, the one pictured above, on their trips along the Erie Canal. After the church was organized, Solomon was one of the many that was baptized by Joseph Smith in Seneca Lake. Anyway, his history is fascinating and I loved learning all of the details.