Biography of Dr. Charles Harris

Dr. Charles Harris was born in the eastern part of Mecklenburg county, (now Cabarrus), on the 23rd of November, 1762. He was distinguished as a patriot, a soldier and a physician. While pursuing his studies in Charlotte, the invasion of the town by the British army, under Lord Cornwallis, caused him to exchange the gown for the sword. Accordingly, when a call was made for troops to resist and hold in check the invaders of his country, he joined the corps of cavalry under Col. William R. Davie, and was with that brave and chivalric officer in much of his daring career.

After the war was ended he resumed his studies at Clio Academy, in Iredell county, (then a part of Rowan) under the control of the Rev. James Hall. Soon after this classical preparation he commenced the study of medicine under Dr. Isaac Alexander, at Camden, S.C. and graduated at Philadelphia. On his return home, he settled in Salisbury, and practiced there for some length of time with encouraging success. He then removed to Favoni, his family seat in Cabarrus county, where he ended his days.

Devoted to his profession he soon became unrivaled as a physician and surgeon. In a short time his reputation was widely extended over the surrounding country, and his skill and success justified this celebrity. He kept up for many years, a medical school, and instructed “ninety-three” young men in the healing art. In his day and generation, good physicians and surgeons (especially the latter) were remarkably scarce–something like angels’ visits, “few and far between.” He was frequently called upon to perform surgical operations from fifty to one hundred miles from home.

He possessed a cheerful temper, and suavity of manner which gained for him a ready admittance into the confidence and cordial friendship of all classes of society. But, before he had reached his “three-score years and ten,” the infirmities of old age were rapidly stealing upon him, and admonishing him of his early departure from the scenes of earth. He died on the 21st of September, 1825, leaving several children. One of his sons, the late William Shakspeare Harris, Esq., widely known as a worthy and intelligent citizen, represented Cabarrus county in the House of Commons in 1836. Another son, Charles J. Harris, Esq., resides at present about one mile from Poplar Tent Church, and is a gentleman of great moral worth and Christian integrity.

On the tombstone of Dr. Harris is the following inscription:

“This monument is erected to perpetuate the memory of Charles Harris, M.D., born 23rd of November, 1762; died 21st of September, 1825, aged sixty-three years. Dr. Harris was engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery for forty years; eminent in the former, in the latter pre-eminent. He was a man of extensive reading, of an acute, inquisitive mind, friendly to all, and beloved by all. His heart entered deeply into the sufferings of his patients, mingling the medicine he administered with the feelings of a friend. He lived usefully, and died resignedly; and we humbly trust, through the sovereign virtue of the all-healing medicine of the Great Physician, he was prepared to rest in this tomb, ‘where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.'”

Dr. Charles Harris was one of five brothers who emigrated from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, viz: Robert, James, Richard, Thomas, and Charles, the subject of this sketch. His father married the widow Baker, a daughter of the Rev. John Thompson, who is buried in Baker’s Graveyard, five Miles east of Beattie’s Ford, in Iredell county.



Cabarrus County NC,

Hunter, C. L. Sketches of Western North Carolina, Historical and Biographical. 1877.

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