Biography of Art Harris
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Art Harris, president of the Art Harris Transfer & Storage Company of Muskogee, was born in McDonald county, Missouri, December 31, 1876, and is a son of M. A. and Rhoda A. (Richardson) Harris, the former a native of New York and the latter of Tennessee. The father went to Texas with his parents when a boy and later became a resident of Missouri, settling in Pineville, where he engaged in contracting and building. Later his work of this character took him into Arkansas and Kansas and he continued his contract work in those states and in Missouri until the spring of 1892, when he came to Chandler, Oklahoma. Here he again engaged in contracting for a period of four years. He then removed to Shawnee, Oklahoma, where he resided until 1905, when he came to Muskogee, where he spent his remaining days. His business, however, called him to all parts of the state and evidences of his skill and handiwork are found in all of the principal cities of Oklahoma.
He was sixty-four years of age when in December, 1916, his life’s labors were ended in death. His widow survives and now resides in Haileyville, Oklahoma.
Art Harris of this review was reared and educated in Missouri and in Oklahoma, spending his youth largely at Chandler. When fourteen years of age he started out to provide for his own support by engaging in the teaming business at Chandler and when a youth of sixteen he drove a stage coach from the Sac and Fox Agency to Guthrie – a distance of about sixty miles, driving a six horse team. He was thus employed for about four months and then again engaged in the teaming business. When the family removed to Shawnee he conducted a transfer and storage business, continuing there until 1906, when he sold out and came to Muskogee. Here he has devoted his attention to the same line of business save for the period of six months when he acted as chief of police of the city. He has developed a business of very substantial proportions, employing twenty-two people and keeping on an average of about thirty teams. He has forty thousand feet of floor space at No. 502 South Third street. Long experience, close application, thoroughness and reliability have enabled him to develop a business of gratifying proportions, making him one of the successful men of his adopted city.
On the 10th of August, 1897, Mr. Harris was married to Miss Florence O. Burnett, a daughter of G. S. and Emma (German) Burnett, who were natives of Iowa and pioneer residents of Oklahoma. They came to the Indian Territory at a very early day, settling in Perry, where the father engaged in the transfer business, and later he became associated in the same line of business with Mr. Harris at Shawnee. He subsequently removed to Muskogee, where he established an insurance agency, continuing in the business to the time of his death. He was a veteran of the Civil war, serving with an Iowa regiment. He passed away in September, 1915, having for several years survived his wife, who died in 1906. Mr. and Mrs. Harris became the parents of two children : Mabel, who is now the wife of Leo Herrick, a resident of Muskogee ; and Lola, who is the wife of John Doyle, Jr., who is engaged in the transfer business with her father.
Mr. Harris and his wife are members of the Baptist church and his political support is given to the democratic party. He belongs to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, to the Knights of Pythias, to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, to the Fraternal Order of Eagles and to the Modern Woodmen of America. He also has membership with the Knights and Ladies of Security, with the Royal Neighbors and with the Rebekahs. He belongs to the Kiwanis Club and he is interested in all that pertains to public progress and especially to the welfare and up building of the city in which he makes his home. His interest is manifest in various tangible ways, so that he is today classed with the valued and representative residents of Muskogee.