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Paul's Restless Years

 


1Born in Racine, WI, USA 1868.  At age 3, along with his 5 year old brother, were sent to Wallingford, VT to live with Grandma and Grandpa Harris, in  1871.

Expelled from the U of Vermont for forming an "Underground Society!"  1888 enters Princeton with help from a tutor. Grandpa Harris dies, Paul goes to work for a VT marble company.

1891 Paul earns his Law Degree! On to Chicago.  But First, a five-year detour-- He was a newspaper reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, 1891; manual labor on a fruit ranch, then raisin packing plan, teacher at the L.A. Business College in 1892. Denver, Colorado, 1892: Actor in a stock company, reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, cowboy, reporter for The Republican. Jacksonville, Florida: St. James Hotel night clerk, traveling granite/marble salesman 1892/93, reporter on the Washington Star, cattleman on a ship 1893, (also see his comments on this subject in Birmingham) haymaker and cannery worker 1893, sub-foreman of the gang of cattlemen 1893, orange picker in Florida 1893, back to Jacksonville selling marble granite. His territory included the southern states, Cuba, the Bahamas and Europe. When he announced that he was going to Chicago to practice law his employer said, "Whatever the advantages of settling in Chicago may be, I am satisfied you will make more money if you remain with me." To the Paul replied: "I am sure you are right but I am not going to Chicago for the purpose of making money; I am going to the purpose of living a life."

    So it was on February 27, 1896, almost exactly nine years before the birth of Rotary, that Paul Percy Harris stepped from a train to the station platform in Chicago. This was it. his five-year recess was at an end. He was now 28 and ready to go to work as an attorney-at-law.

   In the early 1900's he took a walk with a friend, Bob Franks, also an attorney. Everyone in the neighborhood waved to Bob. In his recollection of the occasion Paul Harris tell us:

   "I couldn't help but feel it would be pleasant if men of this caliber could get together often. Say one

 man from each business or professional, meeting socially."

   "Paul and good friend Silvester Schiele would discuss this concept over dinner for the next five years. Often at Madame Galli's Restaurant. Then, one night after dinner, Silvester and Paul walked over to Gus Loehr's 7th Floor office in the Unity Building. When they arrived at Room 711, Hiram Shorey was visiting with Gus. ... It was after dark 23 February 1905. Paul Harris' life and the world would change forever, and his attention would never waiver from this passion for the next 42 years, the remainder of his life.

    He would see Rotarians literally form the United Nations. Could he have dreamed up wiping out a world-wide childhood disease.   He did say, "This is a changing world; we must be prepared to change with it.  The story of Rotary will have to be written again and again!"


The "Restless Years" and jobs Paul took.

1From Rotarily Yours, 1969 Rotary Club of Oakland (additional editing by Rotary Global History) 

Also see the 2012 RGHF Institute, Denver, for photos of Paul's parents' graves.


 

 

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