Ancestor Sketch – Thomas Washington Harris

Welch-Harris Line
By Don Taylor


Welch-Harris Project – Ancestor WH12

List of Grandparents

  • 6 – Grandfather: Living
  • 12 – 1st Great-grandfather: Thomas Washington Harris
  • 24 – 2nd Great-grandfather: Raymond O. Harris
  • 48 – 3rd Great-grandfather: Thomas L. Harris

Thomas Washington Harris (1897-1987)


Thomas Washington Harris was born on 12 Mar 1897 in Boothbay Harbor, Lincoln, Maine, USA. He was the first child of Raymond Orlando Harris and Addie Richards. William McKinley was sworn in just days before Thomas’ birth. Later that year, the first Boston Marathon was run with fifteen men competing. Also, a strike by the United Mine Workers union brought an 8-hour workday to the mines.


Siblings of Thomas W. Harris

Dorothy E. Sep 1898
Gladys M. Jan 1900
William C. ca. 1902

The 1900 Census finds the Harris family living in Boothbay Harbor. Three-year-old Thomas is living with his parents and two siblings.

Thomas’ mother died sometime between 1900 and the 1910 Census. Likewise, it appears that his sister, Gladys, had also passed.*

The 1910 Census found Thomas living with his father (a widower), and Dorothy and William. Thomas is attending school and his father is a restaurant proprietor. Thomas continued with his education through the 8th grade.

Thomas was too young for the First World War I draft registration on June 5th, 1918 (He was only 20 years old). However, he turned 21 in time for the second draft on June 5, 1918, and registered in Saco. Thomas was living on Thorton Ave., Saco. He was working as a shoemaker at the Mechanic Shoe Co. in Biddeford. Thomas was medium height, medium build, had black hair, and brown eyes. He was inducted three months later, on 4 September, and accepted the next day, 5 September.  His military service needs further research.*


On 13 December 1919, Thomas filed an “Intent to marry” to marry Alise Dorcas Ladd, also of Saco, Maine. They married on Christmas Eve December 1919 in a ceremony performed by Horace H Hauyer, a clergyman, in Saco, Maine.*

Thomas and Alise had two children, both of whom are living.

Just a week after their marriage, during the 1920 census, they can be found rooming at 106 Elm Street in Saco. Thomas is a laster at a shoe factory, and Alise is a beamer at a cotton mill.  A laster is a person who shapes or stitches soles on shoes or boots. A beamer was a person who watched over a beamer machine or carried new beams to the loom. According to Wikipedia, “The taper’s beam is a long cylinder with flanges where 400 plus end (thread) are wound side-by-side. Creels of bobbins with the correct thread mounted on a beaming frame wind their contents onto the beam.”[i]

By 1930, Thomas, his wife, and two children had moved in with his wife’s parents, Edwin and Dorcas Ladd, on Boon Road, Saco. Thomas is still working in a shoe shop as a puller and is identified as a WW veteran. He is probably a tack puller doing shoe repairs at this time.

In the 1940 Census, Thomas was the head of a household consisting of Thomas, his wife, Alice[ii], lived on Boon Road with their two children, and Alice’s mother, Dorcas, who is identified as a widow. All are living in the same house that they lived in on 1 April 1935.

Thomas is in the 1948 Town Directory for Saco and Biddeford. It indicates that he was employed in Biddeford, and he and Alice are still living on Boon Road. He continues to appear in the town directories into the 1960s.


Thomas died in May 1987. I have not been successful in finding a burial location.*


  • Boothbay, Lincoln County, Maine –1900 – Lived
  • Boothbay Harbor, Lincoln County, Maine – 1897 – Birth
  • Fairfield, Summerset County, Maine – 1910, Census
  • Saco, York County, Maine – 1918 through 1987 – Enlisted, Married, Lived (1920, 1930, 1935, 1940, 1948, 1951, 1961), Death.

Other than military service, it appears that Thomas Washington Harris spent his entire life in Maine and his adult life in Saco, York County, Maine. Map available here.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Research Thomas’ mother’s death.
  • Research Thomas’ sister, Gladys, death.
  • Research Thomas’ military service.
  • Research what church/religion Horace H Hauyer was a clergyman for.
  • Determine what happened with Thomas’s remains.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–


  • 1900 Census (FS), Family Search, 1900 – Raymond O Harris, Head – Boothbay, Lincoln, Maine. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 October 2019), Gladys M Harris in household of Raymond O Harris, Boothbay town, Lincoln, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 162, sheet 1B, family 18, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,595.
  • 1910 Census (FS) (NARA), Family Search, 1910 – Raymond O Harris – Fairfield, Somerset, Maine. “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 October 2019), William C Harris in household of Raymond O Harris, Fairfield, Somerset, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 226, sheet 20A, family 448, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 546; FHL microfilm 1,374,559.
  • 1920 Census (FS), Thomas & Alice Harris, Roomers in the household of Annie M. Palmer – Saco, York, Maine. “United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 October 2019), Alice Harris in household of Annie M Palmer, Saco Ward 7, York, Maine, United States; citing ED 129, sheet 5A, line 31, family 123, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 651; FHL microfilm 1,820,651.
  • 1930 Census (A), Ancestry, Edwin G Ladd, Head – Saco, York, Maine – ED 16-39, Sheet 8B, Lines 71-77. Year: 1930; Census Place: Saco, York, Maine; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0039; FHL microfilm: 2340576.
  • United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 27 July 2019), Benjamin Luce in household of Thomas Harris, Ward 1, Saco, Saco City, York, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 16-62, sheet 7B, line 41, family 142, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 1496.
  • Maine Directories, Ancestry/Com, 1948 Saco Directory – Page 343 – Harris.
  • Maine Directories, Ancestry, 1950 Saco Directory – Page 351 – Harris.
  • Maine Directories, Ancestry, 1951 Saco Directory – Page 341 – Harris. Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921, Family Search, Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921 – BIRTH – Thomas W Harris – 1897. “Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 5 November 2017), Addie Fredrick in the entry for Thomas W Harris, 12 Mar 1897; citing Boothbay Harbor, Maine, United States, Division of Vital Statistics, State Board of Health, Augusta; FHL microfilm.
  • Maine, Marriage Records, 1713-1922, Ancestry, Thomas Washington Harris & Alice Dorcas Ladd – 24 Dec 1919. Maine State Archives; Cultural Building, 84 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0084; 1908-1922 Vital Records; Roll Number: 25.
  • Maine, World War I Draft Register Index, 1917-1919, Family Search, Thomas W Harris – born 12 Mar 1897. “Maine, World War I Draft Registration Index, 1917-1919,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 15 March 2018), Thomas W Harris, 1917-1919; citing Draft Registration, Saco, Saco, York, Maine, United States, Maine State Archives, Augusta; FHL microfilm 005652222.
  • The United States Social Security Death Index, Family Search, Thomas Harris – Died May 1987 – no image. “The United States Social Security Death Index,” database, FamilySearch ( : 19 May 2014), Thomas Harris, May 1987; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  • United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Family Search, Thomas W Harris. “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 August 2019), Thomas W Harris, 1917-1918.


[i] “Beamer (Occupation).” 2019. En.Wikipedia.Org. Accessed October 31, 2019.

[ii] It appears that “Alice” and “Alise” are used interchangeably. I’ll write more about that when I write a sketch about Alise.

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