William Ernest and Emma Marie (HUMBKE) HARRIS family

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William Ernest and Emma Marie (HUMBKE) HARRIS family

Until recently, the HARRIS family had always been a mystery to me because we lived a fair distance apart (7 miles in the 1940’s & 50s was a long way) and, as children, we had no contact.

I do remember my dad, Lawrence HUMBKE, speaking with great pride and awe about his first cousin, Walter HARRIS, who was a professor at the University of Alberta. At that time we were country bumpkins all destined for life on the farm.

That has all changed as my younger brother, Harvey, and I would earn degrees at the U of A. and Harvey would take a chemistry course from Walter Harris who was then head of the Department of Chemistry. Our other three brothers,

studied telecommunication and instrumentation at NAIT in Edmonton, and our older sister moved to Calgary to raise her family.

In the 2000s I tracked down and purchased a book written by W. E. Raymond Harris and H. Brian Dunford – “BRIDGE:

Direct, Simple & Winning” 2nd edition. Raymond taught bridge classes for over a decade in Edmonton. I only wish I had his advice in the 1950s to 1970s when I also had the bug.

William Ernest HARRIS – Ancestors

William Ernest HARRIS was born 30NOV1883 in Fayette, Howard County, Missouri to Robert and Agnes (BRADY) HARRIS. When Ernest was born the population of Howard County was 10,000 of which 6,000 were slaves. The largest city in the County was Fayette.

There is a small village called Harrisburg named after John W. Harris in Boone County just 11 miles East of Fayette, but I have yet to find a relationship between William and the village name. Many Daniel Boone’s ancestors populated Boone County and no doubt were neighbors of Harris families.

Robert David & Agnes Jane (BRADLEY) HARRIS

Robert David HARRIS b. 01FEB1859 Howard County, Missouri; d. 02DEC1915 Edmonton, Alberta. Burial in Mount Pleasant Municipal Cemetery, Edmonton, Alberta

Agnes Jane (BRADLEY) HARRIS b. 20FEB1865 Sturgeon, Boone, Missouri; m. 02MAR1883 Boone, Missouri; d. 10SEP1904, Sturgeon, Boone, Missouri Burial in Fairview Cemetery, Randolph County, Missouri.

Madellenner (SMITH) HARRIS became Step Mother to Robert and his 8 brothers and 3 sisters.

Children of Robert and Angnes Jane (BRADLEY) HARRIS

William Ernest HARRIS b. 30NOV1883 Missouri; m. 14FEB1912; d. 15OCT1973 Wetaskiwin

Paul C, HARRIS b. 23JUL1889; d. 08JuL1967 Los Angles

Pearl Polymer (HARRIS) WYBERT b. 23JUL1889; d. 11DEC1962

James R. HARRIS b. NOV1892, d. California

Aron HARRIS b. FEB1894

Leroy HARRIS b. APR1896 Arkansas – Trapper in N. Canada 1917-26; d. 1971 Courtney, Vancouver Island


Clayton Victor HARRIS b.14JUL1901: d. 23JAN1992 Calgary, Alberta- Farmed at Nashville, CPR in Calgary

Reverend Jackson T. and Nancy (CASPER) HARRIS family

Reverend Jackson T. HARRIS b. 12APR1825 Howard County, Missouri; d. 03MAY1899 Howard County, Missouri. Buried New Hope Cemetery, Burton, Howard County, Missouri Son of William and Margaret Mary (DOWNING) HARRIS

According to the “Fayette, Missouri Survey Summary Report” (June, 1992), money flowed into Howard County from 1825-1860. The economy was based on Missouri River shipping and farming including tobacco, hemp, and cotton. The area was “extensively rooted in the traditions and agricultural practices of the agrarian South.”

Jackson remained on the farm with his father until twenty-three years of age and entered the employ of General Clerk for which he had previously worked at intervals. He traveled for one year and on January 22, 1851, was married to Miss Nancy Casper, daughter of John CASPER, on of the oldest Settlers.

About 1848 Jackson was converted under the preaching of WM. T. ELLINTON, and in 1849 commenced preparing himself for the ministry. After due study he acted as a local exhorer (a lay Protestant teacher) until in August 1867, when he was ordained a minister of the Baptist denomination. Jackson continued to farm as well as his ministerial duties.

Jackson, a Confederate Soldier, wounded in battle was in the American Civil War of 1861 – 65.

The Civil War in the United States began in 1861, after decades of simmering tensions between northern and southern states over slavery, states’ rights and westward expansion. The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 caused seven southern states to secede and form the Confederate States of America; four more states soon joined them. Three state, including Missouri, were under the North, but sympathetic to the South. The War Between the States, as the Civil War was also known, ended in Confederate surrender in 1865. The conflict was the costliest and deadliest war ever fought on American soil, with some 620,000 of 2.4 million soldiers killed, millions more injured and much of the South left in ruin.

Missouri was a slave state since statehood in 1831. The American Civil War was a hotly contested state between Union (North) and Confederate (South) and it is estimated 1,200 engagements occurred in Missouri.

HIGBEE NEWS (Randolph Co MO)–12 May 1899–Rev. Jackson Harris, a prominent Baptist minister, died suddenly of heart disease in Burton at noon Thursday of last week. He was 74 years old at the time of his death, and had been a faithful worker for his Master’s cause for 50 years. Burial took place at New Hope Church.

Nancy (CASPER) HARRIS b.15May1822 Kentucky; m. 21JAN1851; d. 30APR1886 Howard County, Missouri.

Children of Jackson and Nancy (CASPER) HARRIS

John HARRIS b. 01NOV1853; d. 1853

Milton Walter HARRIS b. 19MAR1854; d. 1924

Emitt HARRIS b.1855; d. 1965

Thomas Perry HARRIS b. 22JUL1855; d. 07DEC1934

Erelion (Erie) HARRIS b. 1857; d. 1907

Robert David HARRIS b. 01FEB1859; d. 02MAR1883

Susan F (HARRIS) LUNDERMAN b. 1861; d. 1894

Mary A. HARRIS b. 1862; d. 1972

Margaret E. b. 1863; d. 1863

Amanda Ernest (HARRIS) MAUPIN 1869; d. 1959

William and Margaret Mary (DOWNING) HARRIS

William HARRIS b. 15MAY1792 Virginia; d. 15MAY1876

William lived in Virginia until nineteen years old when he immigrated to Kentucky at age 19 and married Margaret DOWNING in 1815, In 1818 they moved to Lincoln, Missouri, but move two years later to Howard County.

Fayette contained a house. William helped to carry the chain for Alfred W. MORRISON when this Howard County was first surveyed. Son of Thomas and MARY (OWINGS) HARRIS

Margaret (DOWNING) HARRIS b. 15DEC1792 Grayson, Kentucky; m. 15AUG1815 Grayson, Kentucky; d. 30MAY1867 Burton, Howard County, Missouri. Margaret was the daughter of Ezekial DOWNING b. 1754 Virginia and Rachel (BROWN) DOWNING b. Virginia. Ezekial’s father John DOWNING b. 1712 Ireland; d. 1777.

Thomas and Mary (OWINGS) HARRIS

Thomas HARRIS b. 1765 Bedford, Virginia; d. 22NOV1810 Son of John and Sarah (STANDARD) HARRIS

Mary (OWINGS) HARRIS b. 1777 Laurens, South Carolina; d. Grayson, Kentucky

John and Sarah (STANDARD) HARRIS

John HARRIS b26AUG1730 Henrico, Virginia; d. 31OCT1801 Cumberland, Virginia Son of Thomas and Mary (JEFFERSON) HARRIS

Mary (JEFFERSON) b. 1675 Henrico Virginia; d. SEP1745 Henrico Virgina

Thomas and Mary (JEFFERSON) HARRIS

Thomas HARRIS b. 7SEP1655 Henico, Virgina; d. 06JUL1730 Charleston, Henrico Son of Major William and Lucy (DAYS) HARRIS

Mary (JEFFERSON) HARRIS b. 1675 Henrico, Virginia; d. 1745 Henrico, Virginia

Major William and Lucy (DAYS) HARRIS

Major William Harris b. 12 MAR1629 Cures Plantation, Henrico County, Virginia, Colonial America; d 01FEB1678 Richmond County, Virginia Colonial America. Son of Thomas and Joane (OSBORNE 15) HARRIS

Lucy (DAYS) HARRIS b. 1633 Guinea Mills, Cumberland Co., Virginia; d. Albermarie Co., Virginia

Thomas and Joane (OSBORNE) HARRIS

Thomas HARRIS b.19DEC1585 Creeksea Parish, South minister, Essex, England; d. 1647 Henrico, Virginia. Thomas was a mariner and farmer.

Joane (OSBORNE) HARRIS b. 28JAN1596 Little Hadham, Hertford, England; m. 11SEP1626 Virginia; d. 1633 Jamestown, Colony, Virginia.

According to an article written by Courtney Morano from Virginia Press Services News Clipping Bureau, The Village Mill, dated August 14, 1995, VCU finished its 11th field school at Curles Plantation. The article confirmed the identification of the house belonging to Captain Thomas Harris and also Nathanial Bacon’s plantation found adjacent to the Harris house. It is believed from their findings that the Harris house burned in the 1650s. Some of the artifacts found included an Elizabethan six-pence dated 1573, part of an armor breastplate pottery shards, part of glass wine bottles with a Randolph seal, smoking pipes, nails, an ax head, and a curtain ring.

The first “Cures” patent was recorded in November 1635 when a tract of 750 acres land “commonly known as Longfield” was granted to Captain Thomas Harris, 100 acres of which was due him as “an Ancient planter & adventurer in the time of Sir Thomas Dale”.

“Of particular interest are the ruins found during the excavations at Curles Neck in eastern Henrico along the James. Archaeologists uncovered the Thomas Harris house foundation, one of the oldest homes found in Virginia dating between 1635-1654. Thomas Harris served as Burgess for Curles Neck. The archaeologists noted that the framing posts of this house sat in the full basement and some were enclosed by bricks which was unique in the Chesapeake area. A large centrally located chimney suggests that there was a lobby entrance.


William Ernest HARRIS b. 30NOV1883

was the first to immigrate from Fayette Missouri to Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada on JAN1906

Major William HARRIS b. 12MAR1629

was the first Harris ancestor of this family to be born in North America at the Cures Plantation, Cumberland Co., Virginia. According to records he may have a twin brother by the name of Thomas Harris.

Thomas b.19DEC1585 & Joane (OSBORNE) HARRIS b. 28JAN1596

were the first to immigrate from England to the United States

Emma Marie (HUMBKE) HARRIS – Ancestors

Emma was born January 20,1890 in White Lake, Aurora County, South Dakota to Ernest Dietrich Christian and Sophie Marie Louise (SCHNEPEL) HUMBKE. At the age of one she moved with her family to a farm NE of Titonka, Iowa where she spent her childhood. Emma’s father was killed in an accident in 1899 and the family immigrated to Canada in April, 1901.

Emma’s birthplace in South Dakota, USA

Eleven year old Emma writes about her arrival by train in Wetaskiwin and a trip by horse and wagon 14 miles West to her Grandmothers homestead in Blog #8. She did attend the New Berlin School (2.5 miles way) for 3 years with Mary Humbke, the recently arrived wife from Germany, of her eldest brother – Ernest Humbke Sr.

Emma loved horses so her main job became the daily herding of their range cattle, as well as helping with the many chores around the homestead. She still found time to play trombone and piano in a family band with her brothers and sister; attend dances; played card games (gin rummy, crib, canasta and bridge); and take part in the Sunday family functions.

Her granddaughter, Margaret Harris recalls: “Öne of the stories I recall was that my Grandmother Emma, before she was married, was a telephone operator in Gwynne. In those days they had party lines. One time, after putting the call through, my grandmother was listening in on the conversion – until one of the callers said: “Rubber neck, Get Off the Line!” My grandmother quickly hung up feeling very embarrassed.”

In 1907 Emma was also employed by her brother, Dick Humbke, who had general stores in both Gwynne and Wetaskiwin. It was in Wetaskiwin that Emma met Ernest Harris who was employed by the Gross Lumber Company. They were married on Feb. 14,1912 in Wetaskiwin.

For more information on Emma’s life and ancestors

in Germany, America and Canada see Blogs 1 thru 16

William Ernest and Emma (HUMBKE) HARRIS life in Canada

Ernest attended school up to grade 8 in Missouri and by the age of 23 decided to move North to Alberta, Canada in 1906. There were just too many Negro lynchings in Howard County where his family lived.

Two Articles from Rural Wetaskiwin & Gwynne Local History Books

After their marriage in 1912 I believe the couple lived in Wetaskiwin until 1918 when they rented land West of Nashville School from Martha’s cousin, Herman Callies. In 1920, they bought their family farm one mile South of the Nashville School where they raised their 4 boys before retiring to Wetaskiwin in 1949.

Martha’s love for dancing was not shared by Ernest, but she did pass it on to the boys. Ray, Walter and Gordon were social dancers, and Jim was a very active square dancer with his wife for 20 years. Martha was a good cook according to the grand children and Margaret Harris (daughter of Walter Edgar and Phylis June (PANGBURN) HARRIS related this story.

“As a child, when we visited my grandparents, grandmother would sometimes serve ”barley” for breakfast over homemade bread and it was delicious. My father (Walter Harris) made up this recipe as the closest he could come to what he remembered”

Old German Family Receipe

Pork Hocks (4 – 5 pounds)

Simmer 10-15 hours

Cool and take off fat (in those days they did not take off fat)

Grind Meat and end up with 12 cups of meat and broth.

Add 1 & 1/2 tsp. salt; 3/4 to 1 tsp. pepper; 2 tspl allspice; 2 cups of barley and 1/2 bay leaf (0ptional).

Simmer 3 hours.

Use as a thick spread over toast for breakfast.

“He said that when the farm hands ate “barley” for breakfast it would last the all morning. In those days they did not skim off the fat from the pork hocks so the was very fatty.”

                 L to R Gordon, Jim & Walter helping Emma feed baby foxes.

                  Ernest Harris with Jim and Gordon raising pigs in 1924

Ernest was a strong member of the community and served as a school trustee for 10 years. He purchased a set of encyclopedias for the family which the boys made good use of.

His father was abusive and Ernest was determined to raise a well-behaved family. He even paid the boys not to drink or smoke, although he was known to have a pipe.

Harris and relatives gather for the annual Wetaskiwin Parade

The Harris Home in Wetaskiwin was close to the water tower on main street. and relatives often gathered there for the Annual Wetaskiwin Parade.

Ernest and Emma (HUMBKE) HARRIS Descendants

Raymond Ernest HARRIS b. 27JUL1912 Wetaskiwin, AB; d. 30APR2003 Mount Pleasant Municipal Cemetery, Edmonton,

Walter Edgar HARRIS b. 9JUN1915 Wetaskiwin, AB; d. 21OCT2011 Municipal Cemetery, Edmonton

James Earl HARRIS b. 11FEB1919 Wetaskiwin, AB.

Gordon Edward Harris. 28AUG1920 Wetaskiwin, AB: d. 9JUN1996 Norwalk, Los Angeles, California.

Ernest passed away on October 15,1973 (six weeks before his 90th birthday).

Emma had a stroke in 1973 and spent her last 5 years in the Wetaskiwin Hospital. She died on July 11, 1978 (age 88) and
out lived her mother by 1 year.

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Author: Roger Humbke

I am multifarious, educator/facilitator/entrepreneur who has become more focused on learning new knowledge and skills required to research and write on my family's history. My goals also include developing new attitudes towards a senior's life and on-line business

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