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)

Birth

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.

Childhood

Siblings of Thomas W. Harris

Born
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.*

Marriage

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.

Death

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

Locations

  • 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.

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