Frances Swepson Shepherd was born 1848 in Mintonville, Nansemond, Suffolk Co, VA the 6th of 7 known surviving children born to Thomas Swepson Shepherd (1811-1860) and his wife, Anne Eliza Brown. She was the paternal grandchild of Dr. William Shepherd (1770-1860) and Frances Henop Swepson; and maternal grandchild of Dr. Samuel Browne & Elizabeth Minton on Mintonville.
Fannie's mother died in 1851 when she was just 3 years old, and her father remarried the following year to Maria Frances Allen, by whom a daughter was born. Her stepmother died in 1856, and by 1860, 12-year old Fannie was orphaned with the death of her father. Two of Annie's older sisters had both died young, and her eldest brother, William, had already removed to Murfreesboro, Hertford Co, NC. Brother, James Edward Shepherd, then just 13 years old lived shortly with brother William, but by age 14 was put to clerking in Suffolk Co. Fannie and her only surviving sister, Elizabeth, who was just a year older, were farmed out to relatives, but while in their late teens removed to Forest Hill in the western part of Virginia, where Elizabeth supported them by teaching. When Civil War broke out, both William and James enlisted with the CSA (with James lying about his age, and enlisting at age 17). William was later killed at the Battle of Sharpsburg in VA, leaving James, Elizabeth and Fannie the last surviving siblings.
Following the Civil War, Fannie's brother James settled into Wilson, NC where where he sought employment as a telegrapher in the late summer of 1865. After studying law at the University of North Carolina in 1867 and 1868, he was admitted to the bar and opened a practice in Wilson in 1869. James would later marry Elizabeth Bowen Brown, daughter of Sylvester Tilman Brown & Elizbeth Ann Bonner of Washington, Beaufort Co, and would remove to his wife's hometown where practiced law, and in 1882 became a Superior Court Judge, then made Justice of the NC Supreme Court in 1889.
About the same time James Shepherd set up his law practice in Wilson, sister Fannie joined him there and would meet and marry another Virginian, William James Harriss, who established himself as a prominent merchant in the city.
The couple resided the rest of the lives in Wilson and were parents to 6 known surviving children: William Shepherd Harriss (1870-1847), Charles T. Harriss (1872-1928), Annie K. Harriss (ca. 1875-aft 1920), Bessie B. Harriss (1877-aft 1920), Herbert H. Harriss (1879-1947) and James Binford Harriss (1881-1944). His children and grandchildren would later adopt the spelling "Harris".
Fannie was widowed in 1900 when her husband of 31 years passed at age 60. She survived him 38 years, passing in 1938 at the advanced age 90.
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