Harris, William


Harris, William
   (d. 1764).
   In “The Shunned House,” a merchant and seaman, the first inhabitant of the Shunned House, along with his wife Rhoby (Dexter) Harris and their children Elkanah (1755–1766), Abigail (1757– 1763), William, Jr. (1759–1797), and Ruth (1761–1763). Most of the family and their servants die while living in the house. Rhoby goes mad, and although William, Jr., becomes quite sickly, he survives, enlists in the army, and returns to the house. He marries Phoebe (Hetfield) Harris of Elizabethtown, N.J., in 1780, but after she gives birth to a stillborn daughter, he moves out of the house and shuts it down. In 1785 his wife bears a son, Dutee Harris, and after his parents die in the yellow fever epidemic of 1797, he is raised by his cousin, Rathbone Harris, son of William’s cousin Peleg Harris. Later descendants are Dutee’s son Welcome Harris (d. 1862), Welcome’s son Archer Harris (d. 1916), and Archer’s son Carrington Harris, the current (i.e., as of 1924) owner of the Shunned House.

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