Biography of James H. Harris
Oregon Biographies





JAMES HUNT HARRIS.
The entire business career of James Hunt Harris, who for almost three decades was numbered among the substantial and reliable merchants of Corvallis, was marked by steady progression, resulting from close application and indefatigable energy, prompted by laudable ambition. His probity, his sincerity, his genial and kindly manner drew to him a host of friends and admirers to whom his demise on the 1st of March, 1919, was the occasion of deep and sincere regret.

Mr. Harris was born in Batesville, Mississippi, November 5, 1857, a son of William Shepherd Harris, whose birth occurred on the 26th of June, 1824. On the 29th of September, 1850, the latter was united in marriage to Elizabeth Ferguson, who was born November 4, 1828. The parents were born and reared in Virginia and were representatives of old and honored families, coming from Revolutionary stock. In their family were three children, namely: James Hunt, of this review; Brittain Smith, who was born January 7, 1860; and Dixie Lee, born June 1, 1862. The father's demise occurred on the 11th of July, 1872, and the mother passed away September 17, 1884.

Their son, James H. Harris. spent his boyhood days on his father's plantation in Panola county, Mississippi, attending school at Batesville, the county seat, and completing his education at the University of Tennessee, from which he was graduated. For several years thereafter he was employed in a store at Batesville and subsequently engaged in building and operating a sawmill and a line of steamboats on the Mississippi river. His brother Brittain had removed to Oregon in 1888, and in 1889, following the destruction of his mill by fire, Mr. Harris closed out his interests in Mississippi and set out to join his brother. He arrived in Corvallis on the 15th of April, 1890, and a month later established a general merchandise store, which he continued successfully to conduct until the time of his demise. He carried a large and carefully selected stock, which he displayed to the best advantage, and his reliable and progressive business methods, reasonable prices and courteous treatment of customers secured for him a large patronage and as the years passed his trade reached extensive and profitable proportions, gaining for him recognition as one of the representative and progressive merchants of his section of the state.

In July, 1891, Mr. Harris was united in marriage to Miss Ethel Margaret Johnson, whose mother was a representative of the Avery family, prominent pioneer settiers of Corvallis. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Harris, but the daughter is deceased. The sons, Earl S. and Gordon B. Harris, are ably conducting the department store established by their father. They are progressive and enterprising young business men who are maintaining the high standards of the house of Harris and are proving most capable successors to their father. They handle dry goods, notions, clothing, furnishings, shoes, trunks, suitcases and sewing machines and they also are dealers in wool, mohair and cascara bark. Theirs is one of the largest enterprises of the kind in this section of the state and the house has ever enjoyed an enviable reputation for reliability and integrity.

Mrs. Harris died May 23, 1908, and Mr. Harris passed away in San Francisco, California, on the 1st of March, 1919, at the age of sixty two years, while en route to the city of his birth. He was deeply interested in all civic matters and was noted for his kindness, courtesy and square dealing to all with whom he came into contact. His record was at all times a most creditable one, for his entire career was actuated by a spirit of progressiveness and dominated by strict integrity, and in every relation of life he exemplified the highest standards of manhood and citizenship.

From:
History of Oregon Illistrated
Vol. 3
BY: Charles H. Carney
The Pioneer Historical Publishing Company
Chicago - Portland 1922


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