HISTORY

Thomas Clark Harris (1824 – 1887)

Hester Ann Rodgers Van Sant (1834 – 1908)

Hester Ann Rodgers Van Sant

Captain Thomas Clark Harris was born in New York State on August 11, 1824. On October 12th, 1850, he married 16 year old Hester Ann Rodgers Van Sant in Hendersonville, Illinois. Together, they raised six children, Frances (Fannie), Louise, John, Samuel, Ella, and George.

At this point, Thomas’ ancestry remains an unresolved mystery. Regarding the children, Samuel was killed in a hunting accident in 1882 at age 14, and thus is the only child known to not have descendants. No contact has been establish with descendants of Frances (Fannie) or Ella.

Hester was born in New Jersey on January 29, 1834, the daughter of Captain John Wesley and Lydia (Anderson) Van Sant. She is the sister of Samuel R. Van Sant, the 15th Governor of the State of Minnesota. A great deal of documented Van Sant family history is accessible online at the Van Sant Society Website and elsewhere.

What is known is that Thomas fought in the Civil War for the Union Army as a First Lieutenant. After the war, Thomas and Hester settled in Kirksville, Missouri, and Thomas was engaged in the wool manufacturing business while Hester kept house. In 1873, Thomas was listed as the owner/operator of the Kirksville Woolen Mills.

Thomas Clark Harris House in Kirksville, MO

In 1875, The Harris’ built a rare Italianate styled home in Kirksville that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places (see picture.→). Thomas also headed the Corporal Dix Post of the G. A. R. (Grand Army of the Republic) in the 1880’s, and when an organization of the Sons of Veterans was formed in Kirksville, it was named the T. C. Harris Camp in his honor.

Thomas died in Kirksville on December 25th 1887 at age 63 after a long illness. He was survived by Hester, who died in Los Angeles, CA on December 13, 1908 at the age of 74.

By the way, a huge thank you goes out to Roxanne McClure Wilson of Los Angeles, CA, who is the Great Granddaughter of Louise Harris. Roxanne was able to locate Hester’s gravesite at the Angelus Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles.

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