Hole-in-the-Rock Landmarks and People

Hole-in-the-Rock Landmarks and People
Answers at bottom of the left column.

January 11, 2010

Harris * , John and Lovina Eiler

John Harris was born on 2 Dec 1808 in Green, Northumberland Co., Pennsylvania. He died on 4 May 1899 in Farmington, Davis Co., Utah. Parents: Jacob HARRIS and Susannah HARTMAN.  (Photos courtesy Lorraine Laws, Blanding.)
He was married to Lovina EILER on 5 Jan 1831 in Indiana. Children were: Daniel HARRIS , Lucinda HARRIS, Angeline HARRIS , Jacob HARRIS, Susannah HARRIS , Rebecca HARRIS, Joseph H. HARRIS, Oliver HARRIS, George HARRIS.  Source

Lovina EILER was born on 17 Dec 1807 in Dayton, Montgomery Co., Ohio. She died on 7 Sep 1886 in Central, Graham Co., Arizona. Parents: Daniel EILER and Barbara GRIPE. She married John HARRIS on 5 Jan 1831 in Indiana.
John was the oldest of a large pioneer family (11 children). His father, who had come from Northern Ireland, had been the first to settle in the South Bend, Indiana, area. The township and fields had been named in his father's honor (Harris Township and Harris Fields).

At some time around 1845, John and his family had been converted to Mormonism. In February 1846 they started out to join the Mormon settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois, from South Bend. About a month later in March 1846 they arrived at Nauvoo. Two days after their arrival, John and his wife Lovina were baptized in the Mississippi River. John attended the dedication of the Nauvoo Temple on May 1, 1846. Within a few days they found themselves on the move once more. The Mormons were being driven out of Nauvoo. They crossed the Mississippi River on May 9. John Harris was elected captain of his company on May 11. On May 15 they started out on their journey.

Family records indicate that John and his family didn't arrive in Utah until 1848. If this is true, it appears likely that he and his family stayed in the vicinity of Council Bluffs for a couple of years before starting out again. When they did arrive in Utah, they settled in the Farmington area.
In March 1851, John, along with many other Mormon families (500 people in 150 wagons), were called upon to move to the San Bernardino area in California to establish a Mormon settlement. They arrived in California in June 1851.

In 1855, John was called on a mission in the mining district near Sacramento to help the Mormon Church pay back the money they owed for the property in San Bernardino. He spent most of the year in Coloma as a carpenter and handyman. As his wife didn't know how to write, he was lonesome a good deal of the time. He did correspond when he could with some of his children. During this time, John kept a journal which is now on file in the LDS Church Archives in Salt Lake City.  (Lorraine Laws, Blanding, has a copy of this journal.)

During 1856 Brigham Young recalled the settlement in San Bernardino. This was during the Utah Wars. John and his family later settled in southwestern Colorado. Later John and his family later got word that the Mormon Church was planning to create a settlement in the Southeastern portion of Utah near Bluff.  Since his son Daniel and his family were part of that original group, it is likely that was the connection.) In anticipation, he moved a portion of his family over to this area, and they were there to greet the first scouting expedition who came through The Hole in the Rock looking for a shortcut to the area.
Harris Cabin in Bluff:

 John's wife Lovina later died in Arizona. In his old age, John moved back to Farmington, Utah, where he died in 1899 at the age of 90. 
Life of Daniel Harris son of John and Lovina (Compiled 1963.)

In the history above it states that Daniel's parents John Harris and Lovina Eiler, were married two months before his birth, probably because of the scarcity of ministers in their area. His father’s family had come there three years before from Ohio and they were the first white settlers in that area. They chose a choice prairie grassland enclosed by wooded area, which is named Harris Township to this day.
When Daniel was 16 or 17 years old, and his brothers and sisters numbered seven, his father and mother decided to go to Oregon. They were converted to the LDS Church. His father and  mother were baptized at Navvoo in 1846, a brother and sister were baptized. Daniel and the oldest girl, both were baptized in Grand River on 9 June 1846.
They remained in that vicinity until 1848. A baby brother was born at Harris Grove, Iowa. They emigrated to Utah in 1848 in Brigham Young’s second company. There were over a thousand people in the he company. Did Daniel notice and become acquainted there with a young sixteen year old girl, Lydia Harris, who was no relative but later became his wife?
Daniel’s father settled in Farmington, Utah, and another brother was born there. In 1851, this family went to San Bernardino, California with Lyman and Rich to make a Mormon settlement. At San Bernardino, in the fort, their 2 families lived for some time in a one room apartment in the fort wall. Two years later he married Lydia Harris, whose family had also moved to California.
In 1856, his father was sent on a mission to the mining camps in northern California to raise money to pay the mortgage on their land.
Harris Wash Was this named after / by John Harris? or George or Daniel?


Debra Bishop said...

I am a descendent of John & Lovina Eiler Harris through their son, Jacob and Eliza Jane Carpenter. There has never been any account of John and Lovina in Nauvoo. It is my understanding that John and Lovina were on the trail to Oregon when they first met the Mormons at Council Bluffs area. John was following the Oregon trail and not affiliated with Mormons in any way. John was desperately ill and Lovina allowed Joseph Knight to give him a blessing. John recovered and the family joined the Mormon church and Brigham Young's second company to Salt Lake. All other information appears consistent with my records. This is a wonderful blog. Thank you!

Paula Smith said...

I am a descendent of John & Lovina Eiler Harris through their son George Harris. Back in 2007 while visiting Nauvoo I came across the land records which indicated that John and Lovina did own property in Nauvoo at one time. I do not have the information but it is in the land office in Nauvoo. I believe they were not members while living there but did join the church while on the trail.

Ganado Granny said...

Thank you for posting. Every piece of information is important. Please let others know about this site.