History of Harris Township
Source: History of St. Joseph County, Indiana
Hon. John V. Hadley, Editor in Chief.
Chas. C. Chapman & Co.,
This township lies in the extreme northeastern part of the county. It is bounded upon the north by Cass county, Mich., on the east by Elkhart county, Ind., on the south by Penn township, and on the west by Clay. There is much marsh land in the township, being in the middle and southeastern part, and running a southwest course into and through the northwest corner of Penn township.
This land is unfit for agricultural purposes, except for grazing and haying. The State cut a ditch commencing at the south edge of J. Baleen's farm on section 17, and running a south course about 160 rods, then turning southwest, which course it pursues through sections 20, 19, 30, 25, 26 and along the south line of the last named section, and also about 50 rods on the south line of section 27, where it takes a southwest course into and through Penn township. Great good has been accomplished, as this marsh was entirely covered with one continuous sheet of water, that lay upon the ground until late in the summer months, even after the abatement of the water, great portions of which was so boggy that it was inaccessible by man or beast; but this ditch has so drained this vast area that it has become solid footing, and hundreds of acres are mowed. Notre Dame University owns the largest farm in this township, most of which is marsh land, where they raise their beef and their milk supply for the University, of which further mention is made elsewhere.
This township took its name from Jacob Harris,of Ohio,who came in 1830 and settled on Harris Prairie, where he raised the first wheat that was cut in the township, it being. harvested in 1831. His neighbor, Jacob Meyer, who came the spring of 1831 and still resides in this township, on section 15, helped cut Mr. Harris' crop. Samuel Bell, a son in law of Mr. Harris, came with him in 1830. Adam Miller, a Baptist preacher, came in 1830 or '31, also Adam Ringle, and settled on section 15. Mr. Ringle died several years ago, and Miller either died or moved away. The first settlers erected cabins on this prairie.
David and Josephus Baldwin and family were probably the first settlers in this township, though other historians speak of Mr. Harris being the first. Mr. Baldwin stated that he was here when Mr. Harris came, and said he and his brother David came in 1828 or '29. Joseph Buel came in 1831 and settled on section 15. Arbogast Zaehnle came in 1834, and settled on section 22, where he still resides. Henry Augustine put in his appearance on section 15 in 1831; also Hartzel, the same year, on the same section. Robert Kennedy arrived in 1833 and built his cabin on section 14. David Ringle and his sons Samuel and Levi came in 1833 or '34 and pitched their cabins on section 14.