From 1952 until 1967, a popular American television show featured a panel of celebrities trying to guess a secret about a non-celebrity guest. The guest’s secret might be a remarkable or unusual talent, achievement or other attribute. On April 26, 1961, the show hosted Delia and Bertie Harris, sisters from Knoxville, Tennessee. They were both born in the 1880s, and their secret was a surprising connection. You can watch their segment of the episode:
Their grandfather was Simon Harris, born in 1766 in Southampton, Virginia. According to their family tradition, he enlisted as a soldier in the American Revolution at the age of twelve. The sisters claimed that he was at Valley Forge, and later at the siege of Yorktown in 1781. Given his year of birth and supposed age upon enlistment, his presence at Valley Forge is questionable, but he could have arrived there in the spring of 1778.
These women appeared on television almost two hundred years after their grandfather was born. Such a generational span is unusual, but their father, born in 1818, married his second wife, the mother of Delia and Bertie Harris, in 1884 when she was twenty-eight years old, and he fathered three children in spite of his advanced age.
A quick search of online sources failed to confirm or disprove Simon Harris’s military service—but this may be the last television appearance of grandchildren of a Revolutionary War veteran.