Fred C. Harris

Fred C. Harris. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

Among the men who have become prominently known because of their important connections with the manufacturing interests of Duluth, one whose career has been characterized by typical American enterprise is Fred C. Harris, general superintendent of the Zenith Furnace Company. Connected with this concern since 1904, he has been the main factor in its great growth and development and established a lasting reputation as a furnace man.

Mr. Harris was born in Essex County, New York, and while living on the home farm acquired a public school education. He was but sixteen years of age when he apprenticed himself to the Crown Point Iron Company, with which concern he rose to a foremanship, and subsequently was similarly employed at Pittsburgh and Cleveland, at the latter point being foreman and assistant superintendent for the American Steel and Wire Company. He was with this concern for eight years, or until 1904, when he began his connection with the company with which he is now identified.

General Superintendent Harris is a man thoroughly informed in every detail and department of this great business, and has the confidence of his associates and the esteem of his men. He is a Scottish Rite Mason and a Shriner and belongs to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and in politics is a Republican. He comes of good old Welsh stock, and his grandfather, Charles Harris, was a pioneer lumberman of Essex County, New York, where the father of Fred C. Harris was a farmer and lumberman and died in 1910. There were six children, and Fred C., the third in order of birth, was born July 22, 1860. He was married in 1885, in Essex County, New York, to Miss Mary Liberty, and to this union there have been born the following children: Myra, the wife of Joseph Sellwood, Jr.; Mollie, Allen Scott and George, who reside at home, and one who died in infancy.


Fred Harris. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

Fred C. Harris, a successful business man of Duluth, Minn., is a native of Essex county, New York, and was born in 1860, the son of Orrin and Sarah (Smith) Harris, both natives of the Empire state.

After leaving the public schools at the age of sixteen he found employment with the Crown Point Iron Company (New York) a short time, and then for eight years worked for the American Steel and Wire Company at Pittsburg, after which, until 1904, he was employed by the same company at Cleveland.

He then removed to Duluth and began his service for the Zenith Furnace Company as day foreman and superintendent of the blast furnace department, and the following year was made general superintendent of that gigantic enterprise, which under his skillful management and tireless efforts and care has become one of the most prosperous industrial organizations of the city. Mr. Harris from the first has carried out the plan of employing Duluth men as far as possible, and by recognizing faithful service and efficiency by deserved promotions has engendered a spirit of harmony, good feeling and contentment among his employees that has worked for both their and the company’s good. He is a tactful leader, skilled by practical experience in every detail of his work, and is able to hold the admiration and confidence of his men and the company he serves.

Aside from the duties of his business Mr. Harris takes a commendable interest in social and other organizations, being a member of the Masonic order and also having membership in the Duluth Boat Club and the Northern Railway Club.

In 1887 he married Miss Mary E. Liberty, of New York, and they have two children, named, respectively, Myra E. and Mollie M.


  • Van Brunt, Walter, ed. Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota Vols. 1 – 3. The American Historical Society. Chicago: 1922.
  • Woodbridge, Dwight and John Pardee, eds. History of Duluth and St. Louis County Past and Present Vols. 1 – 2. C. F. Cooper & Company, Chicago: 1922.
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