Harris Family Collection

Collection Owner:
Cover Image:
New York Heritage Logo in Greyscale

Collection Facts


Historical Context

George W. Harris (1857-1943) was born in South Orange, Essex County, NJ. He moved to Jefferson in Schoharie County around 1879. He married Rosella A. Lines (1857-1935) of Jefferson. They had five children: Arthur (1881-1895), Harold (1885-1961), Charles (1888-1943), Dorothy (1891-1966), and Winifred (1895-1981).

George was very well known as a local contractor/carpenter. He learned his trade in Newark, NJ and from his father-in-law Samuel Delos Lines. He built some of the most impressive structures in Jefferson including the town hall/opera house, the first high school, the grange hall, and his own striking house known as “Hilltop.” He built homes for the Mann Brothers (now the Mill Pond Inn), Judge Charles E. Nichols, and many other homes and barns. George designed the bandstand which still stands on the Jefferson town green, but his brother Fred built it. He told his grandson, Phil Harris, that he would take a team of horses to the Richmondville train station for lumber. They could make it from Jefferson to Richmondville in one day, but it would take three days to return climbing the long hill with a load of lumber.

George had a small farm operation with cows, horses, pigs, chickens, many bee hives, and a large garden. He was active in the Ramona Grange where he served as Master. George was also a trustee of the Presbyterian church, a member of the school board, and a Mason. He was an assessor for properties in Gilboa when New York City took over the town and prepared to remove all the structures to build the Gilboa Dam for the Schoharie Reservoir.

Scope of Collection

The majority of this Harris collection of photographs were provided by Phil Harris (1937-2018) and his wife Faye Harris for the Jefferson Historical Society to scan. Phil was the grandson of George W. Harris.