Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation
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Family of Judge Henry Churchill Harris & Margaret Elizabeth Lee Harris
Bert Starr Harris, Mary Dora McKeever, Mary Lottie Harris, Robert Churchill Harris, Josiephine Beatres Harris

Bert S. Harris was the ninth child of Choctaw Supreme Court Judge Henry Churchill Harris and his wife Margaret Elizabeth Lee. He was born in the Pleasant Hill Home built by his parents in 1867, on April 8, 1877. His middle name was originally Styles for the Doctor who no doubt delivered him, however, he had changed his middle name to Starr by the time the Dawes roll was compiled. A life long resident of Red River County, Choctaw Nation, which then became McCurtain County. He was born in, lived all his life, was married, died in, and inherited the same house. He attended Pleasant Hill School and Paris Business College. A merchant, businessman and farmer, he owned two cotton gins at one time. One in the town of Harris and one at Pleasant Hill. He also owned 500 acres of Red River bottomland and grocery stores at both Pleasant Hill and Harris, Oklahoma. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge like his father and obtained the 32nd degree. He served on the first McCurtain county grand Jury with his brother-in-law W.J. Whitmean, and was a Director of the Bank in Haworth. Bert Harris was known for his generosity, and always knew who in the community needed baskets of food and toys for their children at Christmas, which he quietly provided. Always active in community affairs, he was on the Pleasant Hill school board for 20 years and served as inspector on the election board for 15 years, he asked that Virgil Jumper take his place on the Board when his health no longer let him be active. He often attended the Annual Pioneer gatherings at the James Wood Kirk home near Garvin with other family members, Walter C. Harris, State Senator Paul Stewart, D.R. Swink, John Kirby, W.J. Whiteman & W.W. Swink.

Bert Harris married Mary Dora McKeever in 1898 at Pleasant Hill. They were joined in marriage by his father, Judge H.C. Harris. Mary McKeever was ½ Choctaw and ½ Cherokee, although she was enrolled in the Choctaw tribe. Mary was born in 1883 in Towson County Chocgtaw Nation. Her mother’s name was Silvey McKevers or McEvers, her father’s name is unknown. They had five children all born in Pleasant Hill, “Home Place”. Mary Lottie (Mamie), born October 16, 1900 and died on January 30, 1988. Robert Churchill Harris born on November 22, 1902 and died May of 1954. Josiphine Beatres (Jo) born December 15, 1904 and died on March 7, 1959. Charley Lee Harris, born October 21, 1908 and died April 7, 1970. Iva Katherine born July 14, 1913. Iva Katherine (Kat), was the last “Harris” born in the Pleasant Hill Home. Mary Lottie, Robert C., Josiephine B., and Charley Lee are all buried in the Harris Cemetery in McCurtain County, Oklahoma. The youngest daughter, Iva Katherine Crippens is the source of this information and she lives in 1996 at Ft. Towson, Oklahoma. He was known as a loving father, but often times were hard and the whole family worked. The youngest daughter remembers picking cotton and having to stand on a box to be tall enough to weigh the cotton that was brought to the Gin. Mary Dora died on February 29, 1960, her husband Bert S. Harris had died on March 24, 1952 after a long bout with cancer in the house where he was born. Mary Dora was living with her daughter Iva Katherine in Oklahoma City when she died of heart disease. They are both interred in Harris Cemetery, McCurtain County, Oklahoma.

The Pleasant Hill House built by Henry C. Harris and where Bert S. Harris and his children were born still stands today, and is now a State Historical Landmark in McCurtain County, known as the “Harris House.” Children of Bert S. Harris and Mary Dora McKeever: Mary Lottie (Mamie) Harris, married Nolen D Thompson, four children; Robert Churchill Harris, married Deann Smith, no children; Josiephine Beatres Harris, never married; Charley Lee Harris, married Ruby Bright, one son; Iva Katherine Harris, Married William Martin, one daughter Married Alton Crippens, no children Grandchildren: Margie Elizabeth Thompson, born July 9, 1923, never married, died February 14, 1977; Farris Zell Thompson, born October 15, 1926, never married; Inez Vernell Thompson, born May 4, 1929, married James Morrsion, three children; Maurice Thompson, born August 23, 1933, married Duncan McLain, two daughters; Bobby Lee Harris, married Ailene Crowel, died in 1954, one daughter; Martha Leona Martin, born November 6, 1936, married Neil Horton Robertson, four children.

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