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Alexina, Richard W., and
Charles Bascom Harris, Jr.

Alexina and Richard W. Harris, 1914 Charles Bascom Harris, Jr., ca. 1902

Name:  Alexina, Richard W., and Charles Bascom Harris, Jr

Date:  ca. 1914 (left) and 1902 (right)

Image Number:  E29cdE05, E28cdE05

Comments:  Alexina (Harrison) Harris holds her young son, Richard Wheat Harris, in a circa 1914 photo.  At right is a photo of her husband, Charles Bascom Harris, Jr., as a teenager at the turn of the century. Charles was the proprietor of 'C.B. Harris and Co,' a Scottsville business on Main Street that sold mens' clothing.  His store was located in the old Harris building where his grandfather, Miletus, ran a general mercantile store in 1860.  Around 1880, Charles' father and uncle continued the family business there, turning over the clothing portion to Charles in 1912.

Born on July 21, 1883, Charles was the son of Charles Bascom Harris, Sr., and Helen Goddin (Crafton) Harris of Scottsville.  Besides clerking in his father's store, Charles loved baseball and playing several brass instruments in the Scottsville marching band.  Charles often ate lunch at Betty Harrison's boarding house on Valley Street (now the office portion of Thacker Brothers Funeral Home).  He was the best friend of Betty's son, Richard W. Harrison, and eventually fell in love with Alexina Lee Harrison, her daughter.  Alexina and Charles married on October 2, 1912, at St. Johns Episcopal Church in Scottsville.  Their wedding was the first ceremony held in St. Johns in more than thirty years.  After a Canadian wedding trip, Alexina and Charles returned to Scottsville and their clothing business.

Charles and Alexina built a frame home on several acres at one corner of his parents' Fairview property and called their home 'Richarden' in memory of Alexina's deceased brother, Richard.  Richard W. Harrison died in August 1913 of gunshot wounds while working as the night telegrapher at Scottsville's C&O Depot; his murder was never solved.  Charles' and Alexina's first child, Richard Wheat Harris, was born just 20 days after his uncle's death and was named Richard in his uncle's honor.  The C.B. Harrises were the parents of five children: Richard Wheat (1913-1990), Elizabeth Goddin, Margaret Lee (1920-1981), Katherine Crafton, and Barbara May Harris (1926-1991).

As a twelve-year old, Charles B. Harris, Jr., was an avid collector of birds' eggs.  In total, he collected over 65 different eggs of birds that nested around Scottsville.  Two of the rarest include those of the black vulture and the wild turkey.  After Charles died in 1959, his collection was kept by his daughters until May 22, 1994, when they donated it to Scottsville Museum.  Shown left to right in the right photo are: Jack Hamner and Agnes Johnson of Scottsville Museum, Elizabeth Goddin (Harris) Brown and Katherine Crafton (Harris) Rice.  This birds egg collection remains a most popular Scottsville Museum exhibit with all ages.

C.B. Harris' Birds Egg Collection C.B.'s daughters give collection to Scottsville Museum

Bird Life in Scottsville by Evelyn Edson
June 2020

Birds' egg collection of Charles Bascom Harris, Jr., in 1895
Above is the collection of birds' eggs assembled by Charles Bascom Harris, Jr., in 1895.

Over the years, the Scottsville Museum has received many interesting and varied donations from the people of Scottsville.  We do not have room to have all of these donated artifacts on display at one time, so some are neatly packed away.  I had a call a few weeks ago asking about the collection of birds' eggs which the caller had seen at the Museum.  Yes, we still have them!  In 1895, Charles Bascom Harris, Jr., assembled a collection of local birds' eggs and mounted them carefully in a glass case.  Bird-watchers will recognize most of the names as birds that we still see around us--from common ones, such as house wren, chimney swift, cardinal, and robin to some seen less frequently such as Wilson's snipe and great crested flycatcher.  For some birds, he provided local names, such as field lark for meadowlark, whicker for flicker, and chewit for towhee.  Mr. Harris noted the rarity of two of the eggs in the collection: black vulture and turkey.  Although the birds themselves were not rare, the eggs were difficult to find.

Nowadays one must have special permission to collect birds' eggs.  Mr. Harris said he was once criticized for "breaking up the poor little birdies' nests."  He replied that his collecting activity inspired him with a lifelong love for birds.  Interviewed in 1957, he said that he still enjoyed watching the birds around his feeders.  After his death, his daughter, Kitty Harris Rice of Austin, Texas, donated his collection to the Museum.

Mr. Harris (shown at top right above in 1902) was born in 1883 and grew up at Fairview (now called High Meadows) in Scottsville.  In 1912, Mr. Harris took over his father's store on Valley Street and ran the business until he sold it in 1929.  He moved to Charlottesville in 1939, but maintained his contact with Scottsville, making out the town's tax bills for over 20 years.  Mr. Harris married Alexina Harrison of Gordonsville in 1912.  Their wedding was said to be the first wedding in 30 years to be conducted at St. John's Episcopal Church in Scottsville.  He and his wife had four daughters and one son.

The above photos are from the Katherine Ellis collection.  Katherine resides in Scottsville and is the granddaughter of Charles Bascom Harris, Sr., and Helen (Crafton) Harris.

Copyright © 2020 by Scottsville Museum

Top Left Image Located On:  Capturing Our Heritage, CD E05

Top Right Image Located On:   Capturing Our Heritage, CD E05

Bottom Left Image Located On:  Capturing Our Heritage, CD E04

Bottom Right Image Located On:  Capturing Our Heritage, CD E04



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