Harris, Lewis Birdsall (1816–1893)

By: Andrew F. Muir

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 23, 2017

Lewis Birdsall Harris, local official and soldier of the Republic of Texas, the son of John Richardson and Jane (Birdsall) Harris, was born in Waterloo, Seneca Falls, New York, on July 1, 1816. As a young child he lived in Missouri but returned to New York in 1823. When his mother moved to Texas in 1833, she left him in the care first of his grandfather, Lewis Birdsall, and later of his uncle, Dr. Lewis A. Birdsall. Harris arrived in Texas on April 21, 1836. He immediately enlisted in the Texas army and served until summer, when he clerked for Andrew Briscoe at Lynchburg and Harrisburg. In January 1837 Harris was elected second lieutenant of militia of the second district of Harrisburg County, and during the administration of his brother, DeWitt Clinton Harris, as county clerk he served as deputy and clerk pro tempore. In 1838 Harris was a member of the Milam Guards and county assessor. He served as a private in the expulsion of Rafael Vásquez and on the Somervell expedition. On April 14, 1849, in a company of five, Harris set out for California. From Los Angeles he moved up to Sacramento, where he became county clerk. He was one of the proprietors of a toll road but soon lost his earnings in a mining scheme, after which he moved to San Francisco, engaged in the banking and drayage businesses, and worked as an agent for a mining company. On June 16, 1846, Harris married Jane E. Wilcox, with whom he had at least one son. On October 11, 1854, he married Mrs. Amanda C. Dell; they had two sons. Harris was a member of the Society of California Pioneers of 1849. He died in San Diego, California, on June 12, 1893, and was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery there.

"Journal of Lewis Birdsall Harris, 1836–1842," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 25 (July, October 1921, January 1922).

Time Periods:
  • Republic of 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.

Andrew F. Muir, “Harris, Lewis Birdsall,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 27, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/harris-lewis-birdsall.

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February 23, 2017

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