ISAAC N. HARRIS, Company "K"

Research by Linda Fluharty.

     Isaac N. Harris was the son of John and Lydia (Marr) Harris, who moved from Ohio to Wheeling, W. Va. before 1850. The family is in the census records that follow.

1850 Census, Ohio County, W.Va.
HARRIS, John, 50, Cabinet Maker, $500, MD
Lydia, 42, MD
Henry, 19, Bricklayer, OH
Lee, 10-M, OH
William, 8, OH
Isaac, 6, OH
Ann, 3, OH

1860 Census, Ohio County, W.Va.
HARRIS, John, 60, Cabinet Maker, $1000/300, MD
Lydia, 52, Keeping House, MD
William, 19, Cabinet Maker, OH
Isaac, 16, OH
Frank, 7, OH

      John and Lydia Harris had other children who were not in the home at the time of the 1850 census. Their oldest child, daughter Tamar, was married to William Giles and they were residing in Steubenville, Ohio.

     James R. Harris, known to be the brother of Isaac, was not living with the Harris family in 1850 but may have been working elsewhere. He got married in 1857.

     Isaac and James Harris were scouts [spies] in Company "K" of the First West Virginia Cavalry. This fact was gleaned from the "History of the Fifth West Virginia Cavalry," by Frank S. Reader, 1890. One account in the book refers to "two brothers from the First West Virginia Cavalry, named Harris, familiarly known as "Spike" and "Lasses." Apparently Isaac was "Lasses" because "Spike" died 10 May 1864, the details of which are presented in the Fifth Cavalry book and also in "On Hazardous Service," by William Gilmore Beymer, 1912. Both stories are presented on the page of James R. "Spike" Harris, brother of Issac.

     On September 19, 1864, four months after the death of James, Isaac Harris, 5' 11" tall, with dark complexion, dark eyes and black hair, apparently had an altercation with the Wheeling police and was shot. He died the next day.

Editor's (Wheeling) Intelligencer, Sept. 21, 1864.

     THE HARRIS SHOOTING AFFAIR. - On Monday last, about noon, Isaac Harris and David Robinson got into a difficulty with two of our city officers, on market square. After a brisk skirmish, the matter was settled, as bystanders thought, and the two young men left for their homes. Soon afterwards Harris returned and began an assault upon officers George Santmyers, James Santmyers and William Scroggins. The officers ran into the Market House, closely followed by Harris, when six or seven shots were fired at the latter. Harris fell, and was conveyed to his home, where he died about noon on Tuesday.
     Tuesday afternoon the officers gave themselves up, and were placed in jail. Officer George Santmyers was accompanied by the Provost Guard, as it was feared the straggling soldiers in the city would mob him.
     An inquest was held upon the body of Harris, and yesterday afternoon the jury rendered a verdict, "That Isaac Harris came to his death from pistol shots in the hands of George Santmyers, James Santmyers and Wm. Scroggins, in the discharge of their duty as police officers."
     Upon this verdict being rendered, the three police officers were released from jail, and restored to their duties.
     Harris has been a member of Company K, First Western Virginia Cavalry, ever since the war began, and was here awaiting to be mustered out at the time the unfortunate affair took place.

Editor's (Wheeling) Intelligencer, Sept. 27, 1864.

     Examination of GEORGE & JAMES SANTMIRES and WILLIAM SCROGGINS, charged with shooting ISAAC HARRIS. - George Santmires, James Santmires and William Scroggins, who were re-arrested on Saturday night, upon the charge of shooting and killing Isaac Harris, had another examination yesterday at the Court House before Esquires Dulty, Bodley and Bulger. Major Good, N. Richardson, Esq., and G. L. Cranmer, Esq., appeared for the prisoners, and Major Flesher for the State. A great many witnesses were examined, but the evidence did not vary materially from that elicited on the previous examination before the Coroner's jury.
     Peter Muth testified that Harris when he returned to the market house just previous to the shooting, knocked officer Scroggins down with a club, and then fired a pistol at him. This fact had not been testified to before. It was also clearly proven that the deceased threatened to go home and get his pistol and kill the police.
     Mr. Cranmer one of the counsel for the defendants, stated about the middle of the afternoon that the defence had about twenty more witnesses to examine but had concluded to rest the case. The case was submitted without argument and the magistrate at once acquitted the prisoners.

Wheeling Intelligencer, 22 Sept 1864

     Death Notice - ISAAC N. HARRIS - 20 Sept 1864, 20 y 6m, funeral from residence of parents, upper end of 5th St.

     From the West Virginia Adjutant General's Report of the First West Virginia Cavalry: "HARRIS, Isaac N.; Wheeling, WV; 20; mustered in Sept 12, 1861, Wheeling, WV; ---. Killed by the police at Wheeling, WV, Dec 15, 1864 (Error: Shot Sept 19, 1864; died the next day).