Harris, John Birdsall (1821–ca. 1867)

By: Diana J. Kleiner

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 8, 2022

John Birdsall Harris, Harrisburg County official and railroad promoter, son of John Richardson and Jane (Birdsall) Harris, was born in Sainte Genevieve, Missouri, in 1821. His father moved to Texas in 1824 and his mother in 1833. Harris stayed with relatives in New York until sometime after the Texas Revolution, when he joined his mother in Harrisburg, Texas. Harris and his wife, the former Virginia Goodrich, daughter of Benjamin B. Goodrich, made their home with Harris's mother and sister, Mary Jane Harris Briscoe. In 1839 Harris received shares in the newly formed Harrisburg Town Company, established to unite the interests of the neighboring communities of Hamilton and Harrisburg, and he was among the promoters of the Harrisburg and Brazos Railroad, organized in 1840. In 1842 Harris was elected an alderman in the first municipal election at Harrisburg. Harris worked as a merchant during the late antebellum years.  The census of 1850 reported him as a resident of Grimes County, but ten years later his home was at Lynchburg in Harris County. John B. Harris died of typhoid at Harrisburg on July 10, 1867.

Adele B. Looscan, "The Pioneer Harrises of Harris County," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 31 (April 1928). Andrew Forest Muir, "Railroad Enterprise in Texas, 1836–1841," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 47 (April 1944).

  • Transportation and Railroads
Time Periods:
  • Republic of Texas
  • Antebellum 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.

Diana J. Kleiner, “Harris, John Birdsall,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 27, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/harris-john-birdsall.

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April 8, 2022

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