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Harris, Broughton Davis


Age: 0, credited to Brattleboro, VT
Unit(s): State
Service: Vermont State Representative, Military Affairs Committee; Peace Commissioner

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 08/16/1822, Chesterfield, NH
Death: After 1894

Burial: Prospect Hill Cemetery, Brattleboro, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Bob Edwards
Findagrave Memorial #: 121598287


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Not found
Portrait?: Unknown
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: None


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Prospect Hill Cemetery, Brattleboro, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.

Broughton Davis Harris

Harris, Broughton Davis, of Brattleboro, son of Wilder and Harriet (Davis) Harris, was born in Chesterfield, N. H., August 16, 1822.

Mr. Harris began his preparation for college in the Chesterfield Academy, and later attended Kimball Union Academy at Meriden, N. H. Matriculating at Dartmouth in 1841, he was graduated with high honors in the class of 1845, being a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Delta Phi societies.

After graduating Mr. Harris began the study of law under Judge Asa Keyes, and continued it later in the office of Edward Kirkland, Esq., of Brattleboro. While thus engaged he also entered the ranks of journalism, and for a year edited the Vermont Phnix. In August, 1847, together with William B. Hale, long president of the First National Bank of Northampton, Mass., he founded the Eagle, a semi-weekly newspaper devoted to the interests of the whigs. On his departure for Utah in the spring of 1851 the paper was given over to the control of others. On his return in the fall of 1852 Mr. Harris again became editor and proprietor of the Eagle, which he changed into a weekly paper. During those days of great excitement in the political situation of the country the Eagle maintained the position of a successful and popular contemporary of the ablest journals ever published in the state, and Mr. Harris won for himself the distinction of being classed with the most skillful and forcible writers then in the ranks of journalism. His connection with the paper ceased by sale in 1856.

In the fall of 1850 his life-long friends, Senators Collamer and Foot, without his knowledge, procured for Mr. Harris the appointment of first secretary of the new territory of Utah from President Fillmore. In his administration of this office many difficulties and obstacles were interposed by the Mormons. The first Governor of Utah was Brigham Young, and the ideas and opinions of the two officials were so radically antagonistic that there was soon friction and later an open rupture between the Governor and the secretary. So defiantly did the Governor and his pliant Legislature disregard the provisions of the enabling act of Congress that Secretary Harris, after earnestly expostulating, finally positively refused to disburse the money committed to his care by the United States government for the benefit of the territory. He wrote an able letter assigning excellent reasons for this refusal, and as a result the Mormon Legislature waxed wroth and passed a series of resolutions requiring him forthwith to deliver over the money to the Mormon United States marshal of Utah on pain of instant arrest and imprisonment. The secretary, firmly adhering to his original conviction of duty and loyalty to his government, peremptorily refused to comply with this demand, and, amid threats of violence and assassination, returned to Washington and restored every dollar of the coveted appropriations to the United States treasury.

The administration heartily endorsed his action, and shortly afterward tendered him the office of secretary and acting Governor of the territory of New Mexico, an offer which he promptly declined.

In 1847 Mr. Harris was register of probate in Windham county. In 1860 he was a member of the state Senate and served on the committee on railroads. Being re-elected in 1861, he was assigned to the important post of chairman of the committee on military affairs at the breaking out of the rebellion, when nearly all legislation pertained to military matters. In the celebrated Peace Congress, which assembled in Washington on the invitation of Virginia, just before the war, Mr. Harris was a delegate appointed by Gov. Erastus Fairbanks, together with Ex-Gov. Hiland Hall, Lieut.-Gov. Levi Underwood, Gen. H. H. Baxter, and Hon. L. E. Chittenden.

As senior member of the well-known firm of Harris Brothers & Co., he was engaged for many years very extensively and successfully in the construction of railroads, being connected with some of the most important lines in the country.

Although never an office seeker, Mr. Harris's name has often been mentioned in connection with congressional service, and many prominent men and leading newspapers have at times urged him to become a candidate for the chief magistracy of the state. Mr. Harris is one of the corporate members of the Brattleboro Savings Bank and for many years has been, and now is, president of that solid and prosperous institution.

Mr. Harris was married on the 24th of March, 1851, to Sarah Buell, daughter of Edwin M. Hollister of New York City (now deceased). Their wedding journey was to Utah, there being then no white settlement between the Missouri River and Great Salt Lake. They have but one child, who is now the wife of John Seymour Wood, lawyer and author, of New York City.

Source: Jacob G. Ullery, compiler, Men of Vermont: An Illustrated Biographical History of Vermonters and Sons of Vermont, (Transcript Publishing Company, Brattleboro, VT, 1894), Part II, p. 181.