Moses Harris and his brother were amongst the original settlers (founders) of Sandy Ground. In fact, the early 20th Century chronicler of Staten Island history William T. Davis refers to the nieghborhood initially as Harrisville, as well as little Africa, and Sandy Ground, all three hinting at different aspects of its history. It was Sandy Ground that stuck. Harris was an important member of the AME Zion church in Sandy Ground, now called the Rossville AME Zion church.
Harris received his land from wealthy abolitionist Gerrit Smith. Until 1872, black men could only vote in New York State if they owned property. It is possible Harris understood the relationship between land ownership and the right to vote, Smith certainly did. (See the deed for land from Gerrit Smith below).