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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



CHATHAM H. D. HARRIS, one of the early settlers of the Prairie State, came from the Blue Grass regions of Kentucky in 1857. He now owns and occupies a comfortable homestead in Allin Township on section 2, where he is fulfilling the obligations of a good citizen, and carrying on the peaceful occupation of a farmer with fair success.

Our subject is the son of Rev. William and Nancy Harris, natives of Virginia. The former was born in Rockbridge County in 1767, and the latter in 1770. They were married in Green County, Ky., in 1797, and located upon a farm there for a short time. Thence they removed to Warren County, and in about 1845 to Simpson County, Ky. Here the father died, July 9, 1845; the mother survived until November, 1863, having spent her last days in Warren County. Of their family of twelve sons and five daughters six sons were ministers; the names of the seventeen are as follows: James, Sarah, John, Thomas H., David R., Rev. Alexander C., Anna, Harvey, Mary, Susan, Rev. William B., Finis E., Rev. Josiah G., Chatham H. D., Nancy L., Louie L. D. and Cyrus L. The parents were members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, of which the father of our subject was a minister for fifty years. He belonged to the Whig party politically, and was a man of sound judgment and great force of character.

The subject of this history completed his education in the High Seminary in Springfield, Tenn., which he attended for over three years. After he had completed his college course, which had been devoted to clerical studies, he was ordained to the ministry in Simpson County, Ky., in 1842, becoming a pastor in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and in which he still continues his ministrations. After coming to Illinois he was united in marriage with Miss Eliza J. Johnson, in Dale Township, this county, in 1858. He afterward preached four years at Danvers, and in the winter of 1860 held a large revival, during which the church received an addition of ninety-six members, beside a conversion of sixty-five, who went elsewhere. The membership of the church at Danvers became very large in numbers, and there were enough withdrew from it to form a congregation of Congregationalists, who have a good house for worship in Danvers, and are prospering in the good cause. This withdrawal did not cripple the mother church from which they withdrew, but to the contrary, as both churches are in a prosperous condition. Several of the members of the Danvers congregation organized a church near Stanford, built a large house for worship, and the church at this point numbers over 200 members. They also organized a church west of Danvers, and it is in a flourishing condition. There were also a number of families went from Danvers to Gibson City, and established a church there, erected a fine house of worship, and are prospering in the good cause.

Mr. Harris now preaches in Hopedale, Tazewell County, where he has conducted a large meeting successfully. He has also assisted at revivals in Lincoln, Logan County, and Le Roy, this county.

Mr. Harris is the owner of 160 acres, with all modern improvements, the family residence being pleasantly located and its inmates surrounded by all the comforts of life. He is an earnest Prohibitionist, and served as Supervisor of his township for two years. Mr. and Mrs. H. became the parents of one child only, Cora A., who died in infancy.

Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 467. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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