Thomas Martin Harris - Mary Oliver Lemaster

Parents   Parents
  Joseph Frank Harris Martha Martin   George Lemaster Mary Oliver Martin
  b. 10 May 1794 in Marblehead b. 3 Feb 1799 in Marblehead   b. 7 Jul 1793 in Marblehead b. 15 Dec 1799 in Marblehead
  d. 30 Jan 1870 in Marblehead d. 27 Mar 1866 in Marblehead   d. 2 Nov 1878 in Marnlehead d. 17 Sep 1844 in Marblehead
Thomas Martin Harris Mary Oliver Lemaster
b. abt. 1832 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts b. 7 Jun 1835 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts
d. 28 Nov 1913 in Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey d. 20 May 1917 in Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey
Relationship Events
Marriage 25 Nov 1852 Jacob Henry Alley (1834-1862) to Mary Oliver Lemaster in Marblehead
Marriage 25 Apr 1867 Thomas Martin Harris in Marblehead
Children of Jacob Henry Alley and Mary Oliver Lemaster
Mary Elizabeth Alley b. 2 Mar 1853 and died of croup 18 Nov 1857 in Marblehead
  Elizabeth "Lizzie" Alley b. 30 Apr 1858; m. about 1884 probably in Philadelphia John King Taggart (b. 10 Dec 1852 in Philadelphia, d. 11 Feb 1908 in Philadelphia); 3 children: Ethel, Clayton Harris, and Herbert Francis Taggart; d. 12 Jul 1938 in Newark, Essex, New Jersey
Children of Thomas Martin Harris and Mary Oliver Lemaster
Martha M. Harris b. 17 June 1867 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts; m. in Philadelphia 4 Feb 1885 Samuel Ruggles Henderson (b. 29 May 1865 In Philadelphia, d. 23 Mar 1927 in Philadelphia; four children: Samuel Ruggles, Jr., Harris (who died as an infant), Joseph Harris, and Martha "Marto" Catherine Henderson; 23 Jun 1899 in Philadelphia
Mary Oliver Harris b. 3 Oct 1869 in Marblehead; m. in Atlantic City, Atlantic , New Jersey Edward S. Lee (Senator) (b. 1858 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, d. 26 Aug 1920 in Ventnor, New Jersey); one child: Robert Harris Lee; d. 16 Sep 1963 in Whitemarsh, Montgomery, Pennsylvania
  Thomas Martin Harris. Jr. b. 4 Oct 1871 in Marblehead; m. 1896 and divorced 1901 from Mary E. McGuinley in Philadelphia; couldn't trace after 1915 in Atlantic City

What We Know About This Family


Thomas Harris owned his own shoe-manufacturing company in Philadelphia after working at his father's shoe-manufacturing company in Marblehead for many years. Thomas Martin, whose mother was Martha Martin, daughter of Thomas Martin, and his wife, Mary Oliver Lemaster, whose mother was Mary Oliver Martin, daughter of Arnold Martin, shared their great-grandparents, Thomas Martin and Martha Nicholson. I suspect that the middle name of our direct ancestor was Martin, but I've never seen that verified. The Martins in Marblehead were sea captains going back several generations.

An Overview of Their Lives

Thomas and Mary Harris were both in their 30s when they married in 1867. Both had come from families who knew a lot of sorrow in the early deaths of many of their family members. Thomas was the third generation in the Harris family who was named for an older brother who died prior to his birth. Mary's had six children, only two of whom survived past nine years of age, and her mother died at the age of 45 of tuberculosis.

Mary Oliver LeMaster married Jacob Henry Alley, a shoe cutter and son of Henry W. and Elizabeth Alley of Lynn, Massachusetts, on 25 Nov 1852. Their first daughter Mary Elizabeth was born a few months later on 2 March 1853 and died of croup in Marblehead on 18 Nov 1857. Their second daughter, Lizzie, was born in Marblehead on 18 April 1858. Jacob Alley enlisted as a Private in an Infantry Regiment in Massachusetts on 30 Apr 1861. He died of disease in Washington DC on 12 Mar 1862, leaving Mary a widow with a child and a small military pension. Although Jacob's military record indicates he enlisted in the Union Army on 15 Apr 1861, the 1860 Federal Census, taken in April of 1860, indicates that Mary and their daughter Lizzie were living with her father George Lemaster. Husband Jacob Alley cannot be found in the 1860 census, which was taken a year before he enlisted in the Army.

Thomas Martin Harris (a shoe manufacturer working in his father's firm, Joseph Harris & Sons) and Mary Oliver Lemaster Alley were married on 17 Jun 1867 by a Salem clergyman Reverend Spaulding. Thomas and Mary shared a common maternal ancestry link in that both their mothers were descended from Martins and had the same great grandparents. Thomas was 36 at the time of this first marriage, and Mary was 33. Their first child Martha M. was born about a month and half after their marriage. In a time and locale where young people commonly married at 18 to 20, Thomas' extended bachelorhood was somewhat unusual (Mary and Jacob married at 18 and 19). If the records are correct, and they appear to be, the couple took several months to decide to marry once their first child was conceived. (Her first child with Jacob Alley was also born not long after their marriage).

Their daughter Mary Oliver was born a year and half later in October 1869 and then Thomas Martin Jr. two years later in October 1971. When the 1870 Federal Census was taken, Thomas and his wife with Lizzie and their two daughters were living in Marblehead and had a 19-year-old domestic servant. The 1880 Federal Census finds them with the addition of Thomas Jr. living in Philadelphia with a 16-year-old domestic servant Anna from Germany and a 42-year-old male servant, Thomas Van Hagan, born in New York.

Thomas' father, Joseph, had died in 1870, and sometime between the two censuses, the family relocated to Philadelphia. Thomas’ brother, John F. Harris, appears to have been the head of their father’s firm after his death. Thomas' older brother (the two were two years apart in age), Richard Pedrick Adams Harris, his wife Lucy, and their three children Annie, Willie, and Peter, were also in Philadelphia at the time the 1880 Census was taken. (On the 1880 Census, Richard gave his profession as "shoe manufacturer", and under disabilities, listed "kidneys.") We know that Richard endeavored to expand his investments because the Grand Jury in Philadelphia charged him in 1878 with fraudulently incorporating a wool manufacturing enterprise.

Thomas set up his own shoe manufacturing firm in Philadelphia. Some of the ad slogans for his enterprise survive on the Internet and are quoted below:

Buy Harris' wedge-heels ... Thomas M. Harris & Co. Philadelphia 

Ha, ha!! John, give it up, it won't yield. ... Thomas M. Harris & Co. ... Philadelphia ... S.H. Powers, wholesale dealer, 132 Duane St. N.Y 

It doesn't move ... Thomas M. Harris & Co. Trademarks reg. Aug.1882 & July 1884 ... Philadelphia. ... S.H. Powers, New York City

Standard shoes. ... Thomas M. Harris & Co 

Ad cards printed in about 1886 survive as collectibles to this day. Photos are included in the Documents section.

The Harris's lives were interwoven with those of their grown children.

About the Children

  • Lizzie Alley was going by the name Lizzie Harris on the 1880 census when she was 21. A record of her marriage could not be found, but census information in 1900 asked "years married," and her response indicates she and John King Taggart had been married since 1884. They had three children. Her second child was given the middle name "Harris" in honor of her step father. In 1905, her husband was convicted of a white-collar crime and sentenced to a two-year term. He died in 1908 strangling while vomiting. He was in Philadelphia when he died, but it's not clear whether they were living with him. According to census information, the family lived in Delaware County, Pennsylvania before settling in New Jersey.

  • Martha Harris married Samuel Ruggles Henderson in 1885 when she was 18 and he 20. They are direct ancestors in this family tree and are covered in more detail on their own page. The Hendersons and the Harrises shared business and child-rearing interests that impacted the Harrises' lives, so that will be written here. The young couple lived with the Harrises for the first couple of years. Samuel joined his father-in-law's shoe manufacturing company, whose name changed to reflect both names. Samuel had inherited money from his father, and it's an assumption that he bought an equity share. (Thomas Harris, Jr. worked as a bookkeeper for the company but never had a name stake.) In about 1890, Thomas Harris and his son-in-law were partners in a cut-glass factory that carried both their names. The Philadelphia directory for 1896 shows Thomas, Sr. and Jr, both living in the Hendersons' home (Only widows were listed in the Directory, so the assumption is that Martha Henderson ad her mother-in-law and possibly her sister, Mary, were there as well. Tragically, Martha Henderson died in 1899 when her youngest child was only three. Family legend from her son and daughter suggests the children spent a lot of time with their deceased mother's family after her death. The cut-glass partnership seems to have endured until at least 1903 even though the Harrises had relocated to Atlantic City.

  • Mary Oliver Harris married New Jersey State Senator Edward S. Lee early in 1903. By an odd coincidence, her husband was a political adversary of Louis Kuehnle, who was the great uncle of her nephew Joseph Harris Henderson's future wife, Florence Kuehnle. They had one son, Robert Harris Lee. She outlived her husband by almost forty years.

  • Thomas Jr. married a young woman shortly before he joined the military service. That marriage ended in divorce shortly after he returned to civilian life. He was living in his parents' home in Atlantic City at the 1905 State census, where he listed himself as a "clerk." He was still there in the 1915 census after the death of his father in 1914. His nephew Samuel Ruggles Henderson, Jr., was also living there, and both listed their professions as "salesmen." "Ruggles" (Samuel's nickname) may have been selling cut glass from the Egg Harbor Liberty Cut Glass Works where his father had been employed as an agent since about 1911. His brother, Joseph Harris Henderson, had married in 1914 and was living in Egg Harbor City. I have not been able to trace Thomas, Jr., after this 1915 census.
  • Mary Oliver Lemaster Harris died in 1917, three years after the death of her husband.

What Else We Need to Learn

The goal of this project is to trace every line of ancestry to the arrival of its first immigrant to America. The basic information of each couple is considered complete when we know the dates of birth, marriage, and death for both spouses. their parents' names (or whether they were the immigrant), and the child or children in our ancestry

The research on this family is complete. Not necessary but some things to look for: Thomas, Jr. after 1915; a will, and the Harrises' place of burial.


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