As noted here, Benjamin Amos Harris was one of a small group of kinsmen, including Julius and Oliver Freeman, who traveled nearly 700 miles from Wilson to Alabama to attend Tuskegee Institute. He was awarded a certificate in May 1917, returned home, and established a bricklaying business that his sons carried on after his untimely death.
On 25 January 1894, Edwin Harris, 21, married Bettie Daniel, 21, at the residence of Amos Daniel in Wilson County.
In the 1900 census of Fremont township, Wayne County: day laborer Ed Harriss, 27, wife Bettie, 24, and children Benjamin A., 5, Roday [Rhoda], 4, and John H., 6 months.
In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Ed Harriss, 37, wife Bettie, 34, and children Benjamin, 15, Rhoda, 14, Johney, 10, Nanny, 9, Nicey and Vicey, 7, Edgar, 4, and Oscar and Roscar, 1.
Shortly after graduation from Tuskegee, Benjamin Amos Harris registered for the World War I draft. He reported to Eureka Precinct of the Wayne County Draft Board that he was born 16 October 1896 in near Fremont, Wayne County; that he resided in Stantonsburg [actually, at a Wayne County residence with a Stantonsburg address]; that he worked as a farm laborer for his father near Eureka, Wayne County; and was single. He was described as medium height and build with black hair and eyes. He signed his card “Benja Harris.”
Ed Harris died in Nahunta township, Wayne County, on 25 February 1918, perhaps while his oldest son Ben was away at war. Per his death certificate, he was born in Wayne County in 1872 to Sylvester Harris and Rhoda Daniel and worked as a farmer. He was buried at “A.D. Scott’s place.” Son John Harris was informant. Bettie Harris died eleven months later. Per her death certificate, filed in Wayne County, she was born 29 September 1875 in Wilson County to John Daniels and Millie Daniel. She too was buried at A.D. Scott’s place; son Ben A. Harris was informant.
On 14 March 1922, Benj. A. Harris, 25, married Pauline Artis, 20, in Nahunta township, Wayne County. She was the daughter of Noah and Patience Mozingo Artis.
The Harrises moved ten miles into Wilson shortly after their marriage. In the 1925 Wilson city directory: Harris Benj bricklyr h 407 Viola.
The National Register Historic Places registration form for East Wilson Historic District describes Ben Harris’ house at 312 Finch Street this way: “1941. 1 1/2 stories. Benjamin Harris house; brick veneered Tudor Revival dwelling built by Harris for his home; Harris was a brickmason; fine example of this style in district.” His descendants have lived in the house for more than 75 years.
Benjamin A. Harris died 15 May 1955.
Wilson Daily Times, 18 May 1955.
Benjamin A. Harris’ grave at Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson.
Photograph of Harris courtesy of Ancestry.com user ladyjmcnow. Photo of grave by Lisa Y. Henderson.