Harris, David (ca. 1795–ca. 1841)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 22, 2017

David Harris, son of John and Mary (Richardson) Harris and brother of William Plunkett and John Richardson Harris, was born in New York, probably in 1795. Whether he came to Texas with John R. Harris as early as 1823 or joined his brother in Texas in 1827 is not certain. As one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, he received title to a sitio of land in what is now Harris County on August 19, 1824. On April 7, 1830, he was granted a tract of land on the west side of the San Jacinto River. The Harris brothers established a trading post at Bell's Landing on the Brazos River and plied their sloops and schooners between Texas and New Orleans. Sometime after December 26, 1828, Harris married Tabitha Kincade, widow of John Iiams; they lived at Harrisburg until they built a home between Red Bluff and La Porte. When John R. Harris died in 1829, David became administrator of his brother's estate; as such he operated a sawmill on the J. R. Harris property southeast of Bray's Bayou.

In 1832 Harris was in command of the Rights of Man when it transported the Mexican garrison from Texas to Tampico after the Anahuac Disturbances. William Barret Travis was his attorney when Harris sold the schooner Nelson to G. F. Richardson in 1833. In 1835 Harris advised the men at Harrisburg not to make threats against the Mexican garrison at Anahuac lest the safety of Stephen F. Austin be jeopardized, but later in the year he commanded the sloop Ohio in an attack on that garrison. He died sometime after November 1841, at the home of a son on Middle Bayou. His own home subsequently became a Baptist recreation center.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). C. C. Cox, "Reminiscences of C. C. Cox," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 6 (October 1902, January 1903). Adele B. Looscan, "Harris County, 1822–1845," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 18–19 (October 1914-July 1915). Adele B. Looscan, "The Pioneer Harrises of Harris County," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 31 (April 1928). Telegraph and Texas Register, August 30, 1843. Texas State Gazette, March 16, 1850. William Barret Travis, Diary, ed. Robert E. Davis (Waco: Texian, 1966).

Time Periods:

  • Mexican Texas


  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Harris, David,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 18, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/harris-david.

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February 22, 2017

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