Cecil Gardner Harris

No. 13147 Cecil Gardner Harris

Photo of Cecil G Harris. Contained in an album at the Dorchester Historical Society of about 150 photos kept by Nathaniel R. Perkins, MD, who examined thousands of men who were going into the war, 1914-1918. Given by Mrs N. R. Perkins in accordance with instructions from her late husband, Dr. Nathaniel P. Perkins of 1122 Adams St, Dorchester. Index catalog has entries for the individuals.

Cecil G Harris 45 Rockwell St Dorchester Mass US Naval Air Service Machinist’s Mate

Cecil Gardner Harris.  Written by Debbie Fox.

Cecil Gardner Harris was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on December 31, 1895, to parents, Ezra and Grace (Robinson), living at 45 Rockwell Street in Dorchester. His father, Ezra, was born in 1860 in Margaretville, Nova Scotia, to English Canadian parents, and came to the United States in 1880; he had become a naturalized citizen by 1900. Grace D. Robinson, his mother, was from Chelsea, Massachusetts.

At the time of Cecil’s birth, the Harris family consisted of Jeanette (1881), Edith (1885), Charles (1887), and Leroy (1893). The home at 45 Rockwell Street. was owned with a mortgage. By 1910,  three more children had been added to the household: Vernon(1901, Mildred (1903), and Grace (1905).

On June 5, 1917, Cecil filled out a draft registration card. His address and date of birth are consistent with all other documents recorded about him to this point. He described himself as medium height and weight with brown eyes and black hair.   He enlisted on December 28, 1917, in the Naval Reserve Force and was discharged on September 5, 1918.

Marriage records show that on June 4, 1923, Cecil married Ellen L. Broderick of 55 Virginia St in Dorchester. Sadly, the 1930 census has him back at 45 Rockwell Street, as a widower. In the house at this time were: Cecil, his parents, sisters Jeanette Gould, a widow, Grace and her husband Lester E. MacNeil (sometimes listed as Edward L.) and their daughter Joan, and nephew Arthur Harris.

By the 1940 census Cecil’s parents were both gone. His father in 1936, and his mother sometime before that. He was listed as head of household.  The family of Daniel MacNeil, his wife and three children were also living at 45 Rockwell Street;perhaps some of Grace’s in-laws had moved in..

In 1942, Cecil was required to register for another draft, this time for World War II;  he was 46. He listed his sister, Jeanette,  as his contact person and his place of occupation as  Ezra S. Harris & Sons, 168 Kneeland St., Boston. Further search in a 1916 Boston City Directory showed a listing for Ezra S. Harris & Son (Charles) at 157 Kneeland St. Apparently the trucking/ teamster/ chauffeur business that occupied most of the male members of the Harris family was their own business from at least 1916 to 1942.

Cecil Gardner Harris died in North Weymouth, Massachusetts on January 24, 1963 he was 68. He was predeceased by his wife Helen but survived by sisters Jeanette, Mildred, Grace and brothers Roy and Vernon. Donations were requested for the Dorchester Temple Baptist Church.


FamilySearch.org. U.S. Federal Census Records. 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940, database with images. Washington, D.C.; National Archives and Records Administration.

FamilySearch.org. Massachusetts Vital Records. 1911, 1915, database with images.

FamilySearch.org. World War I Draft Card No. 70. Washington D.C.; National Archives and Records Administration.

FamilySearch.org. World War I Master Index. Military Division of the Adjunct General’s Office Massachusetts National Guard.

FamilySearch.org. World War II Draft Card, Serial Number 1707. Selective Service System Group No. 147.

National Archives and Records Administration. 1942.

Newspapers.com. The Boston Globe, January 25, 1963.


Posted on

April 4, 2022

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