Clara Harris

Clara Harris

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Clara Harris was an American socialite.


Clara Harris was the daughter of U.S. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Ira Harris
Ira Harris
Ira Harris was an American jurist and senator from New York. He was also a friend of Abraham Lincoln's.-Life:Harris grew up on a farm, and graduated from Union College in 1824. Then he studied law in Albany, and in 1828 was admitted to the bar.He was a Whig member from Albany County of the New...

 of New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...


She and her fiancé, Major Henry Rathbone
Henry Rathbone
Henry Reed Rathbone was a United States military officer and diplomat who was present at the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Rathbone was sitting with his fiancée, Clara Harris, next to the President and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, when John Wilkes Booth entered the president's box at...

, were friends of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 and were present at his assassination
Abraham Lincoln assassination
The assassination of United States President Abraham Lincoln took place on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, as the American Civil War was drawing to a close. The assassination occurred five days after the commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee, and his battered Army of...

. Harris married Rathbone on July 11, 1867. By an unusual familial inter-connection Harris was actually Rathbone's stepsister, as her father had married Rathbone's mother. Harris had three children and in 1882, her husband was appointed U.S. Consul to the Province of Hanover
Province of Hanover
The Province of Hanover was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia from 1868 to 1946.During the Austro-Prussian War, the Kingdom of Hanover had attempted to maintain a neutral position, along with some other member states of the German Confederation...

 (Germany), where the family relocated. Her husband's mental health deteriorated and he murdered Harris on December 23, 1883. Her children went to live with their uncle, William Harris.

Harris' grave was destroyed in 1952 after being abandoned and unattended since her death in 1883.

Her eldest son, Henry Riggs Rathbone
Henry Riggs Rathbone
Henry Riggs Rathbone was a congressman from Illinois, USA. During their engagement to be married, his future parents were present at Abraham Lincoln's assassination at Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865...

 (1870–1928), was a U.S. Congressman
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 from Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...