Foskil Harris and some of his colleagues founded Harrisville in the early 1800s. He was persuaded to settle here by Judge Boyer, who was acting on behalf of his client, Joseph Bonaparte, brother of the ex·emperor, Napoleon. From lB30 to 1860, the lawn grew slowly. With the coming of tanneries and sawmills, the village began to grow. Shortly after lhe Civil War, Harrisville became the most important settlement in the Town of Diana.
In its early years, Harrisville suffered from a number of serious fires. A few of the fires destroyed the entire business section of the town. The villagers persevered, however, and the establishment of a strong fire department along with improved building techniques minimized the danger of extensive fires. Early industry inandaround Harrisvilie consisted of a gristmill, harness shop, marble quarry, tanneries, lumber mills, and asleigh, wagon, and carriage shop. Laler, dairying, mining, logging, a paper mill, and some silver fox and mink farms were established. Harrisville Lumber Company, incorporated in 1891, was especially interesting. The mill had an elevated water chute that was used to deliver finished lumber products from the mill yard to the railroad, two miles away.