Louisa Hall Harris was born December 30, 1839 to Benjamin K. Hall and Mehitable Sawyer Hall. Her parents were early converts to the LDS Church living in Exeter, Illinois at the time of her birth. Louisa's earliest memory was of hiding with her family in the corn field while they watched a mob burn their home. Her older brother was ill when they were driven from their home, and he died soon after. Their family moved to Mt. Pisgee for four years and prepared to move to Utah. They crossed the plains in the summer of 1850 with only one wagon; Louisa, who was then ten years old, walked most of the way. When they arrived in Utah, she found work with a family for the winter tending their baby and doing household chores. She was given board and 33½ cents a week. The following year, she moved with her family to Ogden. In 1855 she married Charles Harris; she was fifteen, and he was twenty-three. They had met two years earlier and attended a dance school as partners. After their marriage they moved to Willard, Utah. Charles worked for his brother, and during this time their first three children were born. In response to a call by Brigham Young, they moved their family to Washington, Utah, and they later moved to Paragonah, Utah and Toquerville, Utah. Louisa gave birth to two more children during these moves. These were hard times: 'Most of mother's memoirs from these times refer to the high prices of flour, cloth, and groceries. She tells of one pound of sugar lasting a year, being used only to sweeten medicine or a comfort for the baby.' Finally, they moved to Parowan, Utah where they stayed for eleven years and gained financial stability. Four more children were born to them here. Charles worked as a carpenter and ran a saw mill, and Louisa ran her household, spun yarn, and raised a garden. In the spring of 1866 they purchased an isolated tract of land on the Sevier River and built a ranch. Louisa purchased a sewing machine and also became an expert in making straw hats. After eleven years there, they sold the ranch and seventy-five head of cattle and moved to Junction, Utah. In 1888, with Louisa's permission, Charles took a second wife and was forced soon after to go into exile in Colorado, Wyoming, and Idaho. This exile 'effectively separated Louisa and her husband so far as living together in this life was concerned.' Louisa eventually moved to Provo, Utah so her children could attend Brigham Young Academy. She kept boarders for eighteen years, used her resources in charitable causes, and spent long terms working in the temple. She died May 6, 1924.
Louisa's biography is part of a collection of Harris family biographies that includes biographies for her husband and all of her children. Louisa's biography was written by her son Silas Albert around 1944. Silas states that part of the information for the biography was dictated by Louisa to a friend while she was in her seventy-seventh year. The rest of the information came from his memories and his observations of his mother. The biography is nine typewritten pages long, and is a fairly comprehensive history of Louisa's life. Silas' personality comes through as he gives his perspective on the events of his mother's life. Because Louisa was an expert at making straw hats, Silas explains the process of making hats, stating that this information may be of interest to future generations. He includes many interesting anecdotes that elucidate Louisa's personality and her commitment to her religion. One of these anecdotes occurred along the trail to Utah. In Laramie, Wyoming, Orson Pratt met their company and warned them that travelers between them and the valley had contracted small pox. He gave the company some vaccination scab, and as the midwife, Louisa's mother vaccinated the company. In Louisa's childish fancy her vaccination was not working well enough, so she reapplied the scab to her leg. Her leg became swollen and discolored, but she recovered. Louisa did not tell her mother about this experience until after she had married. Louisa was a woman of 'perfect beautiful faith.' Silas explained, 'Her one comment when trouble arose was, "Well, I guess the Lord knows what he is doing.'' Louisa was given a blessing that she would be able to 'rebuke disease preying upon her offspring,' and Silas remembered her executing this gift. Louisa was also known for sharing her testimony with others. Travelers often stopped at their ranch on the Sevier River for rest and refreshment. Louisa 'frequently engaged her guests on the merits of Mormonism always bearing testimony of its truth.' To guests with which she was particularly impressed she would say, 'You seem too good to be anything but a Mormon.' Once when in confinement, Louisa was ill and afraid that she would die. She had occasionally indulged in a cup of tea, but she covenanted with the Lord that if he would spare her life, she would never drink another drop of tea again. Her life was spared, and she kept her covenant. Louisa was known for her ready wit and her kindness to others in her later years. She endeared herself to the young men who boarded with her during the school year, and gave of her resources freely saying, 'He that gives to the poor lends to the Lord.'