Myndert Harris Sr of Port Hope.

From: Ontarian families- genealogies of United-Empire-Loyalist 
and other pioneer families of Upper Canada.

Myndert Harris (d. 1823), son of Joseph Harris [corrected], a prominent citizen of Poughkeepsie, New York, of Dutch descent, served in the Loyalist Army in the Revolution, after which he went with a party of U.E.L. refugees to Digby, Nova Scotia, where he remained for ten years, and then removed to Upper Canada, which, with his wife and children, he reached by way of New York, thence by the Hudson, Mohawk and Oswego Rivers to Lake Ontario, a tedious and formidable journey, but easy as compared with the experience of many previous loyalists, who had to find their way through the woods on foot.
He arrived 17th June 1793, at the place which is now Port Hope (where he went on Governor Simcoe's recommendation), being the first white settler there, excepting a Mr Herkimer, who had made his residence there in the midst of a numerous band of Indians. He married Elizabeth Youmans,  had issue, viz.:

1.— Joseph, m. Rachel Sherwood. 
2.— Charles, a factor in the Hudson Bay Co service at Lake Nipissing, where he was drowned in 1835; unm. 
3.— Myndert, Member of District Council, Capt. of Militia, served 1837-8; m. Phoebe, dau. of James Hawkins, had  issue, William, J.P. ; Joseph, J.P., d. 1897.
4.— Thomas, M.D., m. a daughter of James Hawkins, and had issue, Almon, d. 1897. 
1.— Hannah, m. to Seth Soper, and had issue, viz.: 
        1a.— Orillia, m. to William Owston, and had issue, Henry, Arthur. 
        2a.— Sophia, m 1- to Elias-Peter Smith, and 2 - John Burnham and had issue of the first marriage,
                  John-David (Smith) lumber merchant and banker; Seth-Soper, Barrister-at-Law; Catharine-Sophia, d. 20th June 1891, m. John Smart; Edith-Eliza., d. inf. 
2.— Margaret, m. to Elias Jones, merchant in Cobourg, son of Elias Jones. 
4.— Sarah, m. to Elisha Jones, also son of the said Elias Jones. 
5.— Catharine, m. to Callendar. 
6.— Betsey, m. to Peter Smith. 
7.— Rebecca, m. to Hiram Betts, had issue, Charles, of Burr Oak, Michigan.
From: noxon family in North America. 
Myndert Harris (Joseph, Catryn NOXON, Thomas) b ca 1748 Beekman, Dutchess County, N.Y.
His service on the patriot side of the Revolution is indicated by his signing the Articles of Association in Beekman Precinct in July 1775, and from the fact that his name is on the rolls of the Regiment of Minute Men and the Second Dutchess County Regiment (Cal. Hist. Mss. in Rev. War, 1868, v.l, p.73: N.Y. in Rev. 1898, pp 136 & 155).
This promising career was interrupted, however, by an incident that might well have proved tragic in its consequences. On April 18, 1778, he was convicted of a burglary committed December 5, 1777, at the house of Daniel Way and sentenced to death. A number of influential citizens of Dutchess County, including members of the Grand Jury, petitioned Governor George Clinton (first governor of New York) to pardon him; they mentioned the most distressed father and mother & relations of said Harris' and cited the fact that his conviction consisted on only one crime, and that the first "He hath been in the service of this state and behaved himself well," the petition stated. He evidently was pardoned and later joined the Loyalists, although the records of his Ontario descendants as to this service conflict with the Dutchess County dates. They claim that he served as the eldest sergeant in the Prince of Wales Regiment in the Quartermaster's Corps in New York in 1777. At the close of the war, in June 1784, he went to Annapolis, Nova Scotia, where he is listed with two children over 10, four under 10, and one female. Family tradition states that he returned to New York and thence, via the Hudson, went to Newark in Upper Canada, and became one of the original settlers of Port, Hope, Ontario, in 1793.

A Formidable Petition for the Pardon of Myndert Harris. 
from the public papers of George Clinton [No. 1377]
(first Governor of New York

To Ms Excellency George Clinton Esq.
Governor of the state of New York, General of all the Militia, and Admiral of the Navy of the same.
We the Subscribers, inhabitants of Dutchess county, faithful subjects to the state of New York—and hearty friends to the independence of America, beg leave to recommend Myndert Harris now under sentence of death, as an object of your Excellency's clemency. We hope his future good behaviour will convince the world that his Preservation hath not been in vain.
Henry Livingston Jur., John Frear, Elias Bunschoten, Solomon Freligh, V. D. M., Isaac Kysdike, Y. D. M., Jonas Kelsy.

The Humble Petition of the Subscribers most Humbly shewetk,
Whereas, Mindred Harris Son of Joseph Harris being justly condemned to die by the late honourable court held at Poughkeepsie to the most unspeakable grief of his father and mother, we the subscribers most earnestly pray that it may please His Excellency to have compassion on the most distressed father & mother & relation of said Harris, and have mercy on the criminal that it may please His Excellency to grant a reprieve for the same not doubting but this will be a sufficient check for him in his wickedness and villany by granting the above request will relieve the distressed parents from their grief and distress, in not Seeing their child come to such an untimely end as he is justly sentenced to, and will greatly oblige His Excellency's Most Hble. & Obdt. Serv'ts.
Nathaniel Smith, Timethey Ton, Josiah Ingerson, Joseph Reynolds, Edward Tredwell, James McCreedy, Gilbert Totten, Obadiah Cooper, Jacob Brinckerhoff, Richard Vanwyck, Corn's Vanwyck, Jacob Griffin, Abr'm Briuckerhotf, Jasper Fulmore, Dirck Brinckerhoff, Hend'k Wyckoff, Jacobus Swartwout, James Sne-diker, Thos. Storm, William Humfrey, Hugh Conner, James Y D Burrgh, John McBride, William Clark, Peter Noxon, Ebenez'r Cary, Benj'm Birdsall, Maurice Pleas, Gideon Hall, Stephen Forgason, Hezekiali Collins, Israel Vail, John Smith, William Gilford, Israel Piatt. 

Dutches County April 19th 1778.
To His Excellency G. Clinton Esqr. Gov'r &c.

To his Excellency the Honourable George Clinton Esqr. Governor and Commander in Chief of the State of New York. The humble petition of the subscribers sheweth that we the subscribers principal Inhabitants and good people as also good subjects of the state of New York, do beg leave to recommend Myndert Harris a prisoner now under condemnation to your Excellency as an object of mercy we being Informed that his conviction consists only of one crime and that the first, we being further informed that he hath been in the service of this state and behaved himself well further beg leave to inform your Excellency that a pardon in his case will be more agreeable to the good subjects in general than an execution and we as in duty bound shall ever pray.
I am willing that Mindert Harris should be pardoned.
Grand Jury William. Van Wyck
Adrian Brinckerhoff
James Livingston, E. Bunschoten Jr, Capt., Abraham Swartwout, Capt., Felix Lewis, James Brisben, Peleg Seaman, Richard Leweis, Pety Jury James Winans, Do Jacob Low, Do Benjamen Westervelt, Do Myndert Vanderbogart, Christian Dubois, Lout, Cornelius Viltse Com'y Forrage, John Myer, John Elsworth, George Elsworth, Clement Cornell, Abraham Hogland ins., William Haskin Lieut.

To his Excellency the Honourable George Clinton Esqr. Governor and Commander in Chief of the State of New York &c. The humble petition of the subscribers sheweth That we the subscribers principal inhabitants and good people as also good subjects of the State of New York do beg leave to recommend Myndert Harris a prisoner now under condemnation to your Excellency as an object of mercy, we being Informed that his conviction consists only of one crime and that the first we being further informed that he hath been in the service of this state and behaved himself well, further beg leave to Inform your excellency that a pardon in his case, will be more agreeable to the good subjects in general, thian an execution and we as in duty bound shall ever pray.
Samuel Dodge foreman of G Jury, Jacob Carl, John Carpenter, Isaac Bloom, Isaac Finch, Silas Germond, Joseph Sutherland, John Dodge, Joseph Carpenter, Phinehas Knapp, Samuel Adsit, Silvanus Beckwith, James Thompson, John Smith, Jasper Fulmore, Nathaniel Smith, Elijah Townsend, Nathan Hyatt, David Lyons, Robert Hoffman, Jacobes Frear.
This is to inform your Excellency that we the Subscribers has been to the good people of Dutch's County in general and it is the voice in general, that Mindart Harris of said county be reprieved if your Excellency would think proper and we as in duty bound shall ever pray.
Nathaniel Smith Captain Jasper Fulmore Lt., Daniel Outwater Lt.
April ye 2d 1778.

Myndert Harris's 1796 Land Petition for lot 3 1st concession, lot 15 2nd concession, lots 14 and 15 4th concession 

Interview with Howard Harris - Lot 10 con. 4
Myndert Harris Sr. arrived in Port Hope in June 1793. He died in 1823. He received the first land grant in the township. His grants from the Crown consisted of Lot 3, Con. 1; Lot 15, con. 2; lot 14 k 15 Con. 4 (1801).
Myndert Harris sr. had 10 children. Thus he was able to put his children on the lots he was granted for services rendered to George III, King of England and to improve such lots. It is believed that he is buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in the grounds of Trinity College School as this was where his first lot was located, (lot 3 con. 1)
Myndert Harris was a United Empire Loyalist who left his home near Albany N.Y. in about 1783. He took his family to Nova Scotia where they lived for about ten years. Eventually they moved across Lake Ontario to Port Hope.

The farm presently owned by Mr. Howard Harris was purchased in part in the year 1811 by Myndert Harris jr. He bought the north 100 acres in 1814. The south 100 acres were purchased first of lot 10 con. 4. The farm has been in the Harris name since that time.
There was a small log house to the south of the present house and across the driveway. This house was destroyed by fire many years ago and no visible sign of a house remains. The second house was a brick house that was built in three sections. The first part of this house was built in 1830. The second was built in 1885. Mr. Harris does not think there were any fireplaces in the first brick house. There would have been stoves in the first two sections while a wood burning furnace heated the third part of the house. This furnace had a steel boiler on the inside and was covered with brick on the outside. This house was destroyed by fire in 1907. The following year another brick house was built on the same foundations. This house still stands today and is occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Howard Karris.
The first barn was probably built in 1811. There are two barns on the south half of lot 1O and 3 on the north half. Four of these are newer barns while one of these is older. There are no dates in any of the barns to give even some idea of the year they were built.
When Myndert Harris arrived in Upper Canada he probably had oxen. As he built the first wagon in the area it is assumed that he soon obtained horses.

Mixed farming was carried on by the Harris family. Oats, hay, barley, wheat and buckwheat (for chickenfeed) was grown. No special breed of cattle were raised. In the early days of the farm Mr. Harris jr. would ride to Carrying Place to have wheat ground for flour. He would pay the miller with one bag of grain and have one bag for himself. One bag of wheat = 2 bags of flour.
Although Mr. Harris does not farm the land himself he rents it out so the land does not lie idle but remains productive.
There are a fair number of abandoned wells on the property so it is believed that these supplied the necessary water to the farm. In 1958 plumbing was installed in the house. Dr. Beatty's telephone system served the house around 1920 and electricity was installed about 1952 although it was available as early as 1925.
There was a small amount of reforestation done. This was to cover a 2 acre section of poor soil on the south end of the farm.
Unhappily many family antiques were lost in the house fire of 1907 but some things were salvaged. One of these is a horse-hair couch. It has been reupholstered in a light coloured material . This does not detract from it but adds to its beauty.
There were apple orchards in front of and behind the house. When the apples were ready to be harvested the orchard was sold to an apple buyer. This man saw that they were picked, packed and shipped. Thus the owners of the trees were relieved of the problems of finding pickers, of providing crates and of finding a market. The Harris' only knew that their apples went to England. The orchards which produced Ben Davis, Bell Flowers, Greenings, Russets, and Northern Spies are no longer there. Today Mr. Harris has a small orchard of new trees which provide apples for his own use.

Use the form below to comment on this article. A name is required, optional email address will not be revealed.