John Clay Harris

Member for
7 years · 8 months · 2 days
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A Miami Florida Native who has found ,Find a Grave a valuable tool to further my family's history.It also has become a place in which I can honor my family and friends by writing their individual biographies when possible.I have had the pleasure of living and working in Miami,Chicago,Orlando,Boston and Vermont the native state of my paternal great grandfather U.S.Army Quartermaster Corps Captain, Charles Winfred Sanderson .I currently live in North Carolina the native state of my 4th gg father, Robert Sandlin and 5th gg father, John King .

My interest in genealogy began years ago when I was still living in Miami.My dear grandmother,Gertrude(Trudy)Sanderson Harris,was a major influence in sparking my interest in pursuing my family history.With her superb memory she was an excellent source of information when we started together compiling the familiy history.My grandmother,Trudy,all her life had a fear of flying due to an incident in which my grandfather, Harry Lee Harris, took her,just after they were married,flying upside down in a bi-winged acrobatic airplane. She,as I, was very enthusiastic about the prospects of furthering the family genealogy should we make a trip to New England.So,Grandma Trudy was able to overcome her fear of flying,giving her the chance,as she had in her childhood,to see Vermont,the native state of her father,Charles Winfred Sanderson again.On June 26,1992,we boarded a flight to Boston,Massachusetts where we took a twelve day driving trip that took us though Vermont,New Hampshire,Maine and Canada.In preparation for our trip we had done some preliminary research that allowed us to visit several Sanderson family sites and former homes.The first important site was the cemetery where my grand mother's Grandfather,Civil War Union Veteran,William Harley Sanderson ,was buried.His grave along with his father David Sanderson and mother Lucy Elwell were at Brandon,Vermont's Pine Hill Cemetery.David Sanderson's father was, Ebenezer Sanderson ,a Revolutionary War veteran,who had come to Vermont from Petersham,Massachusetts in 1790.Another stop was to see the former Art Studio,at 20 Beacon Street in Boston,of Uncle Charles Wesley Sanderson ,older brother of above mentioned William Harley Sanderson.Charles Wesley,a successful artist and musician,had studied in Paris at the prestigious,Ecole des Beaux Arts.He had exhibited his art work in Boston,New York,London ,Munich and the Hague.In Boston he was well known in literary and artistic circles.His close friend ,concert pianist, Johann Ernst Perabo performed at many of the receptions that Charles gave in Boston.The guests list often included,Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe , and many others.In Boston he also became a benifactor of Boston socialite, Mrs Isabella Stewart Gardner , a patron of the arts who encoraged his work and purchased many of his paintings.A final stop was to the Grove Hill Cemetery in Waltham, Massachusetts where we had discovered our first generation Sanderson relative. Deacon Jonathan Sanderson, was born Sep. 14,1646 and was the first generation American born son of the immigrant Edward Sanderson(1615-1660).Edward with his brother,Colonial Silversmith Robert Sanderson(1608-1693) had come to America in about 1638.

Continuing on these early successes I have recently had more time to spend on doing genealogy ,enabling me to make great progress in advancing my family tree.My southern ancestor's were pioneer settlers of the state of Florida,migrating from Georgia,North and South Carolina and Virginia including numerous Revolutionary War,Indian Wars and Confederate Veterans and whose surnames partially include,Harris,King,Lee,Turner,Sandlin,Smith and my 3rd great grandfather,William Baldwin Harrison a Savanna,Georgia Newspaper Pubisher was a forebear of,Benjamin Harrison signer to the Declaration of Independence as well as two U.S.Presidents,William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison. My northern ancestors whose names partially include Bartlett,Elwell,Foster,Gray,Howe,Kelsey,Sanderson,Stone,and Whipple,is where I have made the most progress futhering my family tree in the past few years.I have identified most them as early colonial settlers of The Massachusetts Bay Colony immigrating here from England between 1620-1640.

A few of my most recent discoveries have been of my New England family of Howe. My 7th great grandfather,Nehemiah How and his son , Caleb How with wife,Jemima Sawtell were among the first white settlers in the 1740's to settle lands on the "Great Meadow" on the frontier of Vermont and New Hampshire.Their story is well known to most Vermont and New Hampshire historians as it has been written about in multiple historical publications though the years.The first account was "A Narrative of the Captivity of, Nehemiah How" published in 1748 from his hand written journals he took while held in a French Prison in Quebec,Canada. Just seven years later Nehemiah's son Caleb Howe and his wife Jemiama would make their own mark in the history books when Caleb Howe was killed by Indians who then took his wife and children captive.

Knowing how my ancestors stood strong and survived despite the hardships and obstacles they faced ,gives me a deep respect admiration and pride for all they went though in order for me to have the life I have today.


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