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Manuscript Group 67
1.5 cu. ft.

Chiefly papers of James Harris (b. 1755, d. 1825) and James Dunlop Harris (b. 1797, 1842). The former, a deputy surveyor and member of the Pennsylvania Senate from 1800 to 1808, was, with his father-in-law, Colonel James Dunlop, the co-founder in 1795 of the town of Bellefonte, Centre County. The latter was a principal engineer on first the Western Division, next upon the West Branch Division, and finally upon North Branch Division of the Pennsylvania Canal. Included are a few items pertaining to the parents of James Harris: John Harris (b. 1723, d. 1794) and his wife Jane. John Harris was an early settler on the Swatara in Lancaster (now Dauphin) County, and founder in 1790 of Mifflintown on the Juniata. Probably the most striking item in the group is an inventory of the estate of Jane Harris (d. 1807) which includes a list of books which had belonged to her husband. This list shows a theological and historical library of very considerable dimensions and quality for a pioneer family in eighteenth-century Pennsylvania.

The papers of James Harris contain correspondence with William Bell, John Blair, John Mitchell, and others, 1802-1826; a plan of Mifflintown (1790), 1814; deeds for lots in Bellefonte, 1807, 1809; agreements between James Harris and others, 1803, 1813, 1826; notebook, journal, notes, etc., regarding various surveying expeditions, 1784; notifications of Harris' appointment, 1787, to lay out a highway from Frankstown on the Juniata to the mouth of Loyalhanna Creek on the Conemaugh; field notes, 1787, relating to the Frankstown to Conemaugh road; book of acreages, with journal of surveys, 1786-1787, on the Conemaugh, the Sinnemahoning, and other streams; field notes on surveys, 1792-1806; receipt book of William Harris and James Harris, 1803-1813, and day book for the estates of John Harris and William Harris, 1800-1826.

Revealing professional, political, and personal involvements during James D. Harris' employment as principal engineer on the Western Division, 1827-1829, West Branch Division, 1831-1834, and North Branch Division, 1836-1838, of the Pennsylvania Canal, the papers of James Dunlop Harris embrace considerable correspondence with canal commissioners, superintendents, engineers, contractors, and such prominent individuals as Joseph McIlvaine, William C. McPherson, John Mitchell, William Fisher Packer, E. F. Pennypacker, Francis R. Shunk, Joseph Smith, Thaddeus Stevens, and Josiah White. Included are such interesting items as a letter to John Mitchell, 1833, describing a riot between canal laborers and boatmen, and an account of William F. Packer for the expenses of troops led by Captain S. H. Wilson to quell the disturbance.

There is correspondence, 1833-1834, with James and Simon Cameron relating mainly to Harris' taking an engineer's position on the Portsmouth and Lancaster Railroad; correspondence, 1835, with Thomas Burnside of the Bald Eagle and Spring Creek Navigation Company and Abner Lacock, president of the Pennsylvania-Ohio ("Cross Cut") Canal; correspondence, 1835-1836, during Harris' employment as principal engineer on the Pennsylvania-Ohio Canal; and correspondence, 1831-1841, with William Foster, Jr., Harris' assistant, friend, and successor in canal appointments. Related items include a longhand copy by Harris of his report on the survey of the Columbia Philadelphia Railroad, 1838; notes by James M. Nesbit on two surveys done in 1837 along Penn's Creek, one for a railroad, one for a canal, both under directions of James D. Harris; a copy of Harris' report on the Union Canal, relative to the enlargement of that waterway, 1839; statements on canal techniques and canal problems; and various plans and drawings for canal features.

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