H.B.C. Harris

Weston, Missouri

Largest town in Western Missouri with 5,000 residents in 1850.

Henry Benskin Christian Harris was born in Powhattan County, Virginia in 1825 and named for his maternal grandfather. After primary school near home, he attended Concord Academy in Caroline County, Virginia. He began the study of medicine with a local doctor and graduated from the Medical University of the City of New York in 1848. He returned home to Virginia to practice medicine but in 1850 went to St. Louis and then on to Weston, Missouri. It is unclear how long, if ever, he lived in Kansas. An 1881 history of Buchanan County, Missouri to which he probably contributed, does not mention Kansas, but rather stresses his twenty years practicing medicine as one of the leading doctors in Weston. [Steam Printing Company, Buchanan County] In 1870 or soon thereafter, Doctor Harris gave up his practice due to a disability and moved to his farm near DeKalb, Missouri.

Harris was commissioned by Governor Walker as clerk of the Leavenworth County Commissioners on August 17, 1857. [KHC 5:445] He was in Kansas at least part of the time in that position. As clerk, he prepared the minutes of the County Commission meeting in October 1857 that moved the county seat from the town of Delaware, where there had been substantial election fraud in the county seat election, to the town of Kickapoo, where there had been even more:

"At a regular meeting of the tribunal transacting county business began and held at Leavenworth city on Monday, the nineteenth day of October A. D. 1857, the said tribunal proceeded according to the requirements of the statute passed by the legislative assembly of Kansas Territory and approved February 20, 1857, to cast up the votes and proclaim the result to be as above.

"The said tribunal, therefore, does proclaim the said city of Kickapoo to be the permanent seat of 'justis' (sic) for Leavenworth County.

"And the said tribunal doth also order that the Sheriff of Leavenworth County do cause this procklamation (sic) to be printed and posted up at least twenty different public places throughout the county, and also that (sic) he have the said procklamation (sic) printed in all the papers in the said county of Leavenworth.

(Signed) George W. Purkins, Pres.; William Franklin, Com. (Attest) Henry B. C. Harris, Clerk." [Cutler, History,Leavenworth County, Part 5]

Harris died in Buchanan County, Missouri, sometime after 1896. [Paxton, Annals, 756]

Charles Clark