Biography of John L. Harris


This biography is from "Memorial and biographical record; an illustrated compendium of biography, containing a compendium of local biography, including biographical sketches of prominent old settlers and representative citizens of South Dakota..." Published by G. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1898. Pages406-407


Scan and OCR by Joy Fisher, 1997. This file may be copied for non-profit purposes. All other rights reserved.


JOHN L. HARRIS, M. D., is one of the most prominent physicians and surgeons of Webster, and a pioneer of Day county, Dr. Harris was born near Battle Creek, Michigan, January 3, 1849, and is the son of James M. and Eliza (Cosad) Harris, both natives of New York. James Harris was a farmer by occupation and settled in Michigan in the year 1845. He remained there until 1880 and then went to Roberts County, South Dakota. He soon afterward removed to Webster and still resides there. Our subject's mother died when he was an infant. There were but two children in the family, John and Adelbert, the latter being killed in Missouri in 1870. John received his education in the common schools of Michigan, and at Olivet College, in that state. After leaving the latter institution he worked at various things for some time, and in June 1871, began the study of medicine under Dr. Batherick, of Battle Creek, Michigan. He thus continued for three years, during which time he also attended the Hahnemann Medical College, of Chicago, Illinois. He was graduated from this institution in 1875, but had already begun practice at Eastport, Michigan, the year previously. He remained there until the fall of 1875 and then removed to Ovid, Michigan, where he practiced during the following year. In 1877 Dr. Harris went to Roanoke, Indiana, and made his home there until 1880, when he removed to Browns Valley, Minnesota. After spending about one year there he went to Webster, South Dakota, and in June, 1881, began practice there, which he has since continued. In the fall of 1890 he entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons, at Chicago, and spent one year there, being graduated in the spring of 1891. Dr. Harris in 1881 established the first drug store in Day County at Webster, and conducted it very successfully until 1886, when he sold out. He takes considerable interest in fine cattle, and now has a herd of blooded stock upon his farm, near Webster. Dr. Harris is president of the state board of health and medical examiners, having been appointed to that position April 1, 1895; he is also a member of the state medical society, and for years was connected with the National Association of Railway Surgeons, being at that time a local surgeon for the Chicago, Milwaukee & Saint Paul railway.


The Doctor is a stanch Republican, and has taken an active part in local affairs, having at one time served as county commissioner Day County. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and a charter member of the local lodge, in which he has filled all the chairs.


In 1875 Dr. Harris married Miss Sarah J. Buckley, of Eastport, Michigan, a daughter of P. H. and Olive Buckley. Dr. and Mrs. Harris are the parents of two children, a son, Rex, and a daughter, Lyle O., now attending school at Kalamazoo, Michigan. Dr. Harris enjoys a very extensive practice, both in Day and surrounding counties, and is one of the best known and most popular medical men in that part of the state.