The Lawrence Harris Family


Lawrence James Harris in 1923

William and Lovisa lived in Locomotive Springs on a 120-acre territory with their seven children. Schools in this area only went to the 8th grade, forcing their teenagers to live with family in the city to continue their education. Their son, Lawrence, lived with his Grandma in Brigham City and finished High School at Box Elder High. William and Lovisa wanted to be closer to the city to help their children finish their schooling without being away from home. They traded their territory for land in Pleasant View, Utah. This would mean a significant move of about 70 miles. They arrived in Pleasant View in 1925. Lovisa was a midwife and homemaker, and William was a farmer. William died suddenly from appendicitis in 1929; he was 62 years old. Lovisa was left alone after only four years in Pleasant View. She couldn’t manage the farm on her own, so her son, Lawrence, and his family moved in and began to help run the farm. There was a separate back section of her home that they lived in, which gave each family their privacy. Lawrence and his wife, Irene, moved from a small Pleasant View house, with a young family, and into Lovisa’s home.

Lovisa Malinda McBride Harris and William James Harris

Lawrence and Irene Harris were known by their family and community as being good people. Irene had a gift: whenever someone walked into the room with her, they felt loved. She had the ability to discipline her children in a way that helped them understand they had done wrong, but they also knew they were still loved. She was very talented at playing the piano and used this talent in any way she could within her church and community. Lawrence was the fourth born to Lovisa and William. He grew up working hard alongside his family. In 1918, when the influenza pandemic was in full force here in the United States, Lawrence quit school to go herd sheep and help provide money for his parents and siblings. He was good at saving money, and this came to be a great blessing in his life. He worked many jobs, but farming was always his steady vocation. Lawrence was a good writer and wrote love letters to his wife and a poem after his grandson died. Together, Lawrence and Irene had eight children, two of them died at birth. Erma, Laura, Earl James, Edith, Wayne Jay, and Lola grew up working and playing hard together. Lawrence and Irene were faithful members of their church and served in many callings. Later on in life, they served a mission in Florida.

Irene Harris sitting on her porch
Th e Harris Home

The Harris sisters, Laura Wilde, age 91, Edith Finch, age 84, and Lola Child, age 77, still live in Pleasant View today, with children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. They lit up as they talked about their childhood. It was a difficult time for many, but their family had a big garden, chickens that produced eggs, cows for milk (Old Easy was their favorite cow to milk because every time they would put the pail under her, milk would just flow out), three horses to help with chores (Colty, Barney, and Old Red), along with goats and sheep. They had orchards full of cherries, peaches, apricots, plums, pears, and grapes that kept them busy all summer and into the fall, caring for and harvesting their crops. They never went hungry. They never felt like they were going without.

Where most young girls made mud pies with just mud, Lola and Edith have memories of making mud pies with actual eggs. They would stir eggs in with dirt and form them into “delicious” pies. They would then pretend to bake them – Edith with the sun and Lola in the family outdoor oven. Then, of course, they would pretend to have a feast afterwards; Lola actually admitted to sometimes really eating the mud pies. Maybe that is a secret to longevity…

Laura talked of how they always rode their horses bareback. One day, after a big rain storm, she was riding Barney, and her cousin came close to the horse on his bike and skidded to a stop, spooking Barney. The horse took off, and Laura barely hung from his neck, thinking she was about to get trampled. When she let go of his neck and fell to the ground, Barney stopped instantly right next to her. Lucky for Laura, her dad had taught the horses to stop as soon as anyone slid off.

Irene B. Harris and Lawrence J. Harris

There was a section of their property that was raw land and was left to grow wild. Chores included taking the livestock up to this section to graze. They remember finding arrowheads, arrows, and flint from time to time, which were left by the natives. The Harris kids would walk home with their socks full of their treasures.

One of their chores was to heard the sheep or cattle to different locations on the farm. One day, Wayne and Lola had the job of herding the cattle to a certain tree on their property. Dad had told them to take the cows there and stay with them long enough that they would lay down. Once they had laid down, they would have been there long enough and could then bring them back. Lola remembers hurrying the cows to lay down under this tree and then proceeding to herd them back home.

Their dad saw them coming back home after a short time; he told them the cows didn’t have enough time and made them turn back around.

The Harris Family

The hay was harvested by first cutting it down with a side mower. Then, they would pull it through the field with what is called a dump rake. This rake would scrape the hay off the ground and put it into neat piles. They remember that if they didn’t release the hay from the dump rake just right, there was a handle that would pop up and smack them on the back of the leg; it was very painful. They then used big forks to load the hay in a hay rack in order to move the hay closer to the barn. The girls remember that, sometimes, a snake or ant bed would come with the hay, which scared them to death.

Dad would tie down the hay with twine so it would travel well. They used an old-time fork lift with a cable, pulley, and horses to get the hay on top of the haystack in the barn. One time, Laura was helping lead the horse, and her dad had put too much hay on the lift; Barney did not like it. He reared up on his back legs and terrified Laura so much that she ran away. Her dad got after her and told her to “Go lead that horse!” And so she did.

The Harris sisters: Lola Child, Edith Finch and Laura Wilde

One thing that Edith remembers most is that she was always happy. She never felt neglected or like she didn’t have what she needed. She talked with a cousin in later years, and he said that coming to visit the Harris cousins was so much fun. They were always so happy and treated him with such kindness.

Three of the Harris sisters married and started their own families, and they continued to call Pleasant View home. With many of their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren surrounding them, the family has stayed very close.

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