James Harsha was from Northern Ireland and was born in
1710. He married Esther Reid who died after 1777. He came with his
wife and family to Salem, New York. He was a member of the Associate Reformed
Church organized at Ballibay in Northern Ireland in 1751, also in
According to the journal of their leader Dr Clark: "May 10,1764, we sailed from Newry. The all gracious God carried 300 of us safe over the devouring deep in the arms of his mercy. Praised be his Name. We arrived safe in NY July 28th.. arrived at Stillwater."
"This was an event well remembered by the old people living a few years hence (1864) Such a number of families suddenly arriving in the town and of a character so unlike the other settlers who were locating around, such strict observers of the sabbath, so exemplary in their deportment, such great readers and so well supplied with books.
The first death of the colony of which remembrance is now preserved was one of the elders of the Church, James Harsha, who after a protracted and painful illness, ("the bloody flux") died at Stillwater about a year after the arrival in this country (1766) He expired, writes Dr. Clark, joyfully singing Ps. 73:26,27." NYGR vol 33-34
He had obtained a farm in Stillwater intending to remain there. The farm was about two miles west of Stillwater village on the road to Gracies's corners and the head of Saratoga Lake. Of his three sons, one was many years a resident of Salem and one resided upon the Stillwater farm for some forty years when he disposed of it and came to Argyle where his brothers had become located and where several of their descendants now reside (1903). Among the descendants have been three clergymen of the Associated Reformed Church, and a fourth is the compiler of several popular religious works.