Jason Harris

Both Samuel Wadsworth and the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary book ascribe the founding of this place to Benjamin Rice in 1813. The deeds for this part of Nelson record that Jason Harris bought this piece of land from the estate of John Penhollow, one of the original proprietors in December 1812. The record of roads laid out in Nelson refers to this as the “Harris’” and a deed of Josiah Parker JR, the landowner to the north, confirms this ownership.

Born in Medway, Massachusetts in 1764, Jason Harris moved to Packersfield as early as 1811. He was a blacksmith and built the house here. He sold it to his son, also Jason and also a blacksmith at the age of 57 in 1821 and probably continued to live there until Jason JR sold the place (1842) and moved to Nelson Village where he took over a house and blacksmith shop from Mainard  Wilson. (D-4-17)  The Harris’ were followed by Joseph S. Phillips (1842-1846) and Samuel S. Hardy (1846-1854) before it returned to the Phillips family in the person of Reuben Phillips. Reuben sold the farm to his sons Adoneram and Minot, but it was Minot and his wife, Caroline who occupied it from 1857 until Minot died of disease in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Fredericksburg. Caroline was left with five children ranging in age from 4 months to eight years.

Caroline remarried Herman Wheeler and they stayed on the farm until 1874. Samuel Wadsworth traces the ownership forward: Patrick Donahue 1874, Alice Atkinson 1895, professor Henry Rolfe 1895.