by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
I don’t know when Harris Street got its name, but I do know that according to the 1930 U S Census it was South Main Street.
At some time after 1930 it became Harris Street, named for the family living on the tiny street. It was then, and remains today only two blocks long; one block on the east side and one block on the west side of Main Street, two blocks south of the railroad tracks.
Charles Warren Harris was born in Perry Township, Ohio in 1868. He and his older sister, Annie, moved with their parent, Elisa and Sarah Harris, to Iowa around 1870. According to the United States Census of 1900, Charles and his first wife were living in a boarding house in Columbus, Ohio. However, on November 4, 1903, Charles married his second wife, Louiza “Lulu” in Jackson County, Missouri. Lula was the daughter of George and Melinda Stillwell.
According to the 1920 US Census, they were living on Capelle Street in Grain Valley. By the 1930 US Census the Harris family included six children and they had moved to South Main Street. All six children grew up here, attended school here and married a local resident.
All six children continued to live in Grain Valley where they raised their own families and sent them to school here. Mabel (1904), the eldest married Ronnie Peal. Ina Jane (1907) was next and she married Bill Mitchell, a Scotsman working at Sni-A-Bar. Clara Belle (1908) married Bill Shippy and Veneda (1910) married Hamp Smith. The boys were Carl (1913) and George (1917). Carl’s wife Velma (Robinson) and George’s wife Gladys (Smith) were local girls.
Their Grain Valley relatives include family names many of you will recognize; Peal, Davis, Coleman, Affolter, Danner, Mitchell, and Todd, to name a few. And that great, great, great grandson I mentioned last week, Miles Bell. He and sisters Payton and Laney are descendants of Mabel Harris Peal, Evelyn Peal Affolter, Dennis Affolter, and Jennifer Affolter Bell!
Former Mayor Mike Todd is also a great-grandson. Charles and Lula Harris had 6 children, 11 grandchildren, and more than 20 great-grandchildren.
So while Harris Street may be quite short, the list of Harris Family members is quite long. More than 100 years later, their impact on Grain Valley is still going strong.