December 1, 2012

The Families of Richard Hines Harris, Jr. and Laura Archer Scott

Richard Hines Harris, Jr. was the son of Dr. Richard Hines Harris, Sr. of Georgia and Mary Ann Hughes of Louisiana.  Dr. Harris practiced medicine in Columbia, Trinity, and Harrisonburg, Louisiana.  
Grandparents of Richard Hines, Jr. were Judge Iverson Harris and Mary Euphenia Davies of Georgia. 
Laura Archer Scott was the daughter of Israel Smith Scott and Emily Mason Turpin of Mississippi.  They moved from Richland, Mississippi to Point Coupee Parish, Louisiana where Israel owned a plantation until it was lost to taxes after the Civil War.  He came to Sicily Island to manage Mr. Gillis' property and lived in the Gillis house for several years.
Maternal grandparents of Laura Archer Scott were Joseph Alexander Turpin of Mississippi and Laura Stevenson Archer of Maryland.  Joseph Alexander Turpin was the son of White Turpin of Maryland and Rebecca Pettit of Virginia.

White Turpin, born on June 2, 1777, was the last Territorial sheriff and the first sheriff of Adams County, serving two terms in Adams County between the years of 1812-1819. He was also a state senator, a Jefferson College trustee, a member of the first legislature, and a president of the Agricultural Bank of Mississippi.  He and his family lived in Washington, Mississippi but also had a townhouse in Natchez.  This townhouse is now called The White Turpin House and has been restored by his 4-great granddaughter, Kendell Coney Horton and family to operate as a vacation retreat for visitors. 

Richard Hines Harris, Jr. was born in Catahoula Parish on October 15, 1874.  In 1895, he married Laura Archer Scott who was born in Richland, Mississippi on December 10, 1870. 

They moved to Sicily Island some time after their marriage and built a house on the bluff next to Dr. Usher's house.  There is no description of this house except that on the front was an ell that was used for a store named The Red Star.  This was a partnership store with Richard's sister, Fannie and her husband Eugene Owens, who also lived in the house with them.

After some time, Richard and Eugene built a store on the corner where that bank stands now.  The store part was torn off of the original house.  Richard and Laura later built the house sketched below on the corner of 5th and Peck Streets.  

There were three rooms on each wing separated by a hall with a front porch and an ell shaped porch on the back.  In the living room there was a trap door leading down to a storm cellar.  This started seeping water after some time, so another one was dug at one end of the back porch so it could just be stepped down into.  Emily Scott, Laura's mother, lived with them until her death. 

Richard was unhappy as a merchant so he let Fannie and Eugene have the store and he began commercial fishing.  Later, Fannie and Eugene moved to Holly Grove.

Richard Hines Harris, Jr. died on March 18, 1918.  Laura Archer Scott Harris died on December 3, 1956.  Both are buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island.

Children born to the marriage of Richard and Laura were:

Eugene Marable "Mack" was born on January 8, 1897.  He died on July 21, 1983 and is buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island.

Mildred M. was born on June 23, 1898 and married William Edward "Buck" Smith, who was born on April 9, 1896. 

Mildred and Buck had the following children:  
Geraldine M, 1916-?
Clayton Francis "Sonny", 1918-2003 (m. Mildred "Mickie" Farmer)
Richard Dunbar, 1920-1992 (m. 1.Nadine Freda Husher; 2.Winnie Wynn)
Kay, 1938-?
Mildred M. Harris died on September 25, 1975.  William Edward "Buck" Smith died on December 24, 1964. Both are buried in the Highland Park Cemetery in Sicily Island.  (Editor's Note:  Tombstone photograph is courtesy of Dorothy S. Tiser at

Dunbar Ogden was born on January 12, 1901 and died on October 30, 1903.  He is buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island.

Richard Iverson, Sr. was born on February 19, 1905.  He married Cora Hamilton who was born on July 3, 1912.  

Richard and Cora had the following two children:
Richard Iverson, Jr., 1944-1944
Mary Catherine, 1955-2011 
Richard Iverson Harris, Sr. died on November 15, 1986.  Cora Hamilton Harris died on April 3, 1994.  Both are buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island.

Katie Archer Drake was born on October 25, 1906.  She married Cameron Beard Coney who was born on October 1, 1900. Cameron Coney was a teacher, coach and principal at Sicily Island.  He served as Principal for 28 years.  
In reminiscing about the old 3-story high school, former students had this to say about Mr. Coney:

Sicily Island 3-story school, 1923-1931
No student can look at the steps without a flood of memories of times they sat in groups talking of ball games, what they did the past weekend, laughing and sharing many things other than lessons.  Memories of the many times they stood in line, the boys on one side and the girls on the other, with Mr. Coney at the top with that stern look.  He took no 'monkey shines' while you were in line.  Each student stood 'in line', quiet and still until told to march in.

We cannot think of this building without thinking of Mr. Coney.  In the summer of 1923, Mr. Howard Wright, who was superintendent of Catahoula Parish Schools, offered the principal-ship to Mr. Coney, saying, 'He needed someone who could control those boys'.  He sent the right person because Mr. Coney did control them.  Yet the boys had a deep respect for him.  Memories of Augusta Krause Taliaferro are that the doors had a small square glass pane which Mr. Coney used to look in and check on the classes.  If you were misbehaving, he saw you long before you saw him and you got demerits many times when you thought you were 'getting by'. 

In 1986, the Catahoula Parish School Board, upon a motion by Bruce A. Edmonds, named the auditorium at Sicily Island High School the "C. B. Coney Memorial Auditorium".

Katie and Cameron had one son, Dr. William C. "Billy" Coney.  They also reared Beverly Harris when her mother died several months after giving birth to Beverly.  Beverly's father was Katie's brother Wilmer Scott Harris.

Katie Archer Drake Coney died on October 7, 1999.  Cameron Beard Coney died on January 12, 1975.  Both are buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island.

Laura Archer was born on November 27, 1911.  Laura was known as "Miss Hat" and worked in the Sicily Island State Bank for many years.  She resided with her sister, Katie and family.

Laura Archer Harris died on June 12, 1995.  She is buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island.

Wilmer Scott was born on July 28, 1917.  On October 18, 1933, he married Camille Beverly Tucker.  Camille was born on September 20, 1913. 

Wilmer and Camille had the following two children:
Wilmer Scott, Jr. 1935-1990
Beverly, 1942 (m. Johnnie Edward Weston)
Record of birth for Wilmer Scott Harris, Jr.:

Wilmer Scott Harris, Sr. died in May of 1960.  Camille Beverly Tucker Harris died on November 27, 1942.  Both are buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island.  No photograph of Wilmer's tombstone is available at this time.

Reference:  Our Island Heritage, Vols. 2-3, 1977-78, compiled by Sophie Haley and Mickie Smith.

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