Thomas Thumb HARRIS

Male 1849 - 1922  (73 years)


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  • Name Thomas Thumb HARRIS 
    Born 08 Jun 1849  Missouri Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Died 18 Jul 1922  Elko, NV Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Elko, NV Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I173  Wemple Family Ancestry
    Last Modified 13 Dec 2017 

    Family Elizabeth Jane WEMPLE,   b. 23 Apr 1856, Adrian, MI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Oct 1942, Elko, NV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years) 
    Married 24 Dec 1873  Milford, CA by The Reverand William McIelland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Cora Belle HARRIS,   b. 16 Jun 1876, Boulder, CO Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Sep 1953, Boise, ID Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years)
     2. Joseph Crawford HARRIS,   b. 01 May 1878, Fort Collins, CO Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 01 Mar 1936, Elko, NV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 57 years)
     3. Jessie Mae HARRIS,   b. 21 Dec 1879, Fort Collins, CO Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 08 Apr 1962, Elko, NV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years)
     4. Thomas Reay HARRIS,   b. 15 Mar 1882, Reno, NV Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 04 Oct 1936, Idaho Falls, ID Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years)
    Last Modified 13 Dec 2017 
    Family ID F46  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Tom killed a man named Winters over a dice game in the Milford Hotel in 1874. A few days later, during a court hearing in Janesville he escaped by horseback and fled to Nevada. After spending a few hours with a sheepherder in Nevada, Tom pressed on and eventually arrived and settled near Pike's Peak in Bolder, Colorado. After a short time, he sent for his bride of only a few months. Tom's wife, Elizabeth or Libby for short, had no one to take her to Tom, so her brother, John, who was only 10* at the time, took her to him by horse and buggy. This trip was about 900 miles long and it took them several weeks to make the jaunt. The Harris' oldest child was born in Boulder.

      A few years later, Tom and Libby moved onto Fort Collins where their two middle children were born. They stayed in Fort Collins until about 1881. At this time Tom and Libby were notified that if they returned home to Honey Lake Valley, Tom would in all probably be exonerated for the killing of Winters because it could be proven that the Grand Jury which Indited him was prejudiced.

      While living in Fort Collins, Tom had a armed man come into a bar he owned. The man pulled a pistol on Tom and it is said that Tom grabbed the pistol by the barrel, jumped over the bar and disarmed the man without incident.

      Tom and Libby did return to Honey Lake Valley where Tom was exonerated for the killing of Winters. They moved and settled for a short time in Reno, where their youngest child was born. A few years later, they again moved to Elko, Nevada where Tom first ranched and raised cattle. Several years later, he bought a hotel and bar in Elko, which he ran until retirement.

      The escape itself is an interesting story. After a day long hearing, Tom was placed under arrest and was leaving the courtroom in the company of a deputy sheriff named Parks. Joseph C. Wemple got a couple of neighbors to feign a fight and during the fracas, Tom ran and jumped on Joseph's favorite horse, named Bally. Bally was an excellent horse and the pursuing officers couldn't keep up with him. Tom simply outran his pursuers and made a clean escape.

      *As hard as it might be to believe that a 10 year old boy would make such a long trip with his 17 year old sister, this fact was verified by two completely different sources. First, the compilers brother, Donald, related this. He said that he had heard it from N's family. A few years later, Murray Wemple, grandson of John, told the compiler the same thing. Murray said that his other grandfather, David Raker, had told him the story of John taking Libby to Tom in Colorado when he was only 10. DRW

  • Sources 
    1. 1910 Elko County Census, per e-mail from Megan Harris to David Wemple dated 11/24/2002.


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