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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Harrisburg in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

John Harris Sr. Grave Site

 
 
John Harris Sr. Grave Site Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Pfingsten, March 21, 2008
1. John Harris Sr. Grave Site Marker
Inscription. Here lies John Harris, Sr., father of the founder of the City of Harrisburg, who emigrated from Yorkshire England in the early 18th Century to share in the opportunities of William Penn's new world. First locating in Philadelphia, Harris made his living by removing tree stumps to open new streets in that city. There, through his friendship with Edward Shippen, Esq., first mayor of Philadelphia, he met his wife-to-be, Esther Say. The Harrises moved to Chester County and then to Bainbridge, Lancaster County. His desire to venture farther into the frontier brought them circa, 1717 to this place, that of the present-day Harrisburg. Harris built a home several hundred feet south of this gravesite, traded with the "Indians," cultivated the soil and established his river-crossing ferry. In 1733, he took possession of 800 acres of lands granted to him by the Penn Family which would become the original Borough of Harrisburg. That year thus officially established Harris' interests at this site. Of particular note is the tale, reported in 1828 by Robert Harris, grandson of Harris Sr., that a band of unfriendly "Indians" happened upon Harris Sr.'s establishment requesting whiskey that Harris refused to provide them. In anger, they tied Harris to a nearby mulberry tree with the intent of burning him alive. An African American slave named Hercules,
John Harris Sr. Grave Stone image. Click for full size.
By William Pfingsten, March 21, 2008
2. John Harris Sr. Grave Stone
it was reported, was able to rouse nearby friendly Indians who came to Harris' rescue. So grateful was Harris that he immediately emancipated Hercules and, in doing so, proclaimed his intent of being buried beneath the famed mulberry tree, his direction being fulfilled in 1748.
Top Photo
Early illustration depicting the tale of John Harris Sr.'s rescue from being burned at the Mulberry Tree.
Bottom Photo
1890 view of John Harris Sr. Gravesite showing stump of what is thought to be the famed Mulberry Tree later washed away in the Flood of 1902.

 
Erected by The Harrisburg History Project Commissioned by Mayor Stephen R. Reed.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Pennsylvania, The Harrisburg History Project marker series.
 
Location. 40° 15.364′ N, 76° 52.743′ W. Marker is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in Dauphin County. Marker is on S. Front Street, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Between Mary and Washington Streets. Marker is in this post office area: Harrisburg PA 17101, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Harris/Simon Cameron Mansion (here, next to this marker); John Harris Mansion (within shouting distance of this marker);
Plaques on burial plot fence image. Click for full size.
By William Pfingsten, March 21, 2008
3. Plaques on burial plot fence
Upper Plaque
Near this spot in 1719 John Harris the first settler of Harrisburg built his log cabin home.
Lower Plaque
In Memory of John Harris Pioneer native of Yorkshire England, his son John Harris 2nd was the founder of Harrisburg. This tablet is ereted by the Dauphin County Comittee of The Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America.
Harrisburg Hospital (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Cumberland Valley Railroad Bridge (about 500 feet away); The Crowne Plaza (approx. 0.2 miles away); Executive Mansion (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Peanut House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Old Salem Church (approx. mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Harrisburg.
 
Categories. Colonial EraNative AmericansNotable EventsNotable PersonsPolitical SubdivisionsSettlements & Settlers
 
Full view of grave site. image. Click for full size.
By William Pfingsten, March 21, 2008
4. Full view of grave site.
Photo of 19th century depiction of the incident in color. Collection of Historical Society. image. Click for full size.
By John K. Robinson, July 29, 2014
5. Photo of 19th century depiction of the incident in color. Collection of Historical Society.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 3,494 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.   5. submitted on , by John K. Robinson of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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