Interesting grave in Nevada

Ann Patterson

Who among us has not heard that immortal poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson which begins “Half a league, Half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.”

But did you know among those buried in the Nevada cemetery is a survivor of that historic battle?

William Charles Harris’ tombstone reads “Rode with the famous six hundred in the charge of the Light Brigade Battle of Balaklava October 25, 1854.” Six hundred men from the British Light Brigade went into battle and only thirteen survived, one of those being William Charles Harris. This interesting grave site can be found in Block 15, Row 3, Plot 27.

Harris was born in Bristol, England, and ran away from home when he was in his very early teens. After a short career as a sailor, he joined the British Army, serving in several campaigns, including South Africa, India and the Crimean. He was part of the Guard of Honor for the Duke of Wellington’s funeral.

Shortly after the harrowing Battle of Balaklava, he migrated to the United States, originally settling in Marengo and in 1874 moving near Nevada, becoming a farmer. He and his wife Elizabeth had seven children.

One of the boys named Clinton was the father of current Nevada resident and former Story County Recorder Sue VandeKamp’s grandmother, making William Charles Harris Sue’s great-great-grandfather.

Amazing that such a man with a fascinating life ended up in the Nevada Cemetery.