John Harris Sr. Grave Site

John Harris Sr. Grave Site (HM3YH)

Location: Harrisburg, PA 17104 Dauphin County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 15.364', W 76° 52.743'

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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, 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.
HM NumberHM3YH
Series This marker is part of the Pennsylvania: The Harrisburg History Project series
Placed ByThe Harrisburg History Project Commissioned by Mayor Stephen R. Reed
Marker Condition
1 out of 10 (1 reports)
Date Added Friday, October 3rd, 2014 at 6:08am PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 340200 N 4457872
Decimal Degrees40.25606667, -76.87905000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 15.364', W 76° 52.743'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 15' 21.84" N, 76° 52' 44.58" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)717
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 216-298 S Front St, Harrisburg PA 17104, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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I Saw The Marker


Nov 21, 2017 at 1:17pm PST by kschill55

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