1846 to 1929
Harris was born in Jonesboro, Tennessee, in 1846 and moved to Georgia during the American Civil War to escape Union troops. At the age of sixteen, he joined the infantry of the Confederate States Army and served until the end of the American Civil War eventually becoming an officer in the 16th Virginia Cavalry. After the war, he returned to his family's home in Tennessee; however, they soon moved to Bartow County, Georgia. In 1867, Harris attended the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, was a member of Chi Phi fraternity and the Phi Kappa Literary Society, and graduated in 1870 with a B.A. degree. After graduating college, Harris taught school for two years, studied law, and gained admittance to the state bar. He moved to Macon, Georgia in 1873. He joined with future UGA chancellor Walter Barnard Hill to form the law firm of Hill and Harris. From 1874 to 1882, he also served as the Macon city attorney. Harris was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1882 as a representative of Bibb County and was reelected through 1885. His campaign platform when running was the establishment of a technological college. As a state representative in 1882, Harris introduced the bill to establish the Georgia Institute of Technology. That bill was approved by the Georgia General Assembly on October 13, 1885, after failing to pass through the legislature in 1883 and again in 1884. In Harris's autobiography, he mentions that "The founding of the Georgia School of Technology I regard as the most important event, of a public nature, that occurred in my life". Harris died in 1929 in Macon, Georgia.
- Founded the Hill and Harris law firm
- Macon city attorney from 1874 - 1882
- Established the Georgia Institute of Technology