Monday, May 6, 2013

McCamey Alexander Harris (1829-1900)

Portrait courtesy of the Legislative Reference Library of Texas website.

  Following on the heels of Monday's profile on Texas state representative Dethloff Willrodt, we continue our stay in the Lonestar State to profile another curiously named Texas legislator, Mr. McCamey Alexander Harris of Titus County. Little information exists online in regards to Harris's life, but a small biographical notice on him (featured in the Sketches of Legislators and State Officials, Fifteenth Legislature, 1876-1878) proved to be very useful when compiling information for his biography.
  Born in Talbot County, Georgia on December 1, 1829, McCamey A. Harris was one of several children born to James Harris (1795-1868) and his wife Lucretia Jones Harris (1795-1878). Nothing could be found on Harris's childhood or education, so it is presumed that he received his schooling in either Georgia or Alabama, where his family resided for a time.
  McCamey "Mack" Harris is recorded as settling in Texas in 1851, establishing a home in Marion County. He later removed to the town of Ripley in Titus County, marrying in 1857 to Ms. Mary "Molly" Webb (1842-1919). The couple later had two sons named Edgar and Clyde, whose birth-dates are unknown at this time.
  Harris signed on for service in the Confederate Army at the dawn of the Civil War and gained distinction amongst the ranks of Co. B. of the 15th Texas Calvary under  Gen. Patrick "Stonewall of the West" Cleburne (1828-1864). Harris later saw action with Granbury's Texas Brigade, under command of Gen. Hiram Jonson Granbury. Both of Harris's commanders were killed during the Battle of Franklin in Tennessee in 1864 but he himself served until the close of the hostilities without injury. 
   After returning home to Ripley, Harris began farming and served as Postmaster of this town beginning in 1874. Mentioned as being a lifelong Democrat by the Sketches of Legislators and State Officials, McCamey Harris was elected to the Texas State House of Representatives in 1875 from Titus County and took his seat in April 1876. Harris had never served in elected office prior to his term in the legislature, and his tenure in this body saw him sit on the house committees on Counties and County Boundaries, Private Land Claims, Roads Bridges and Ferries, and Town and City Corporations.
  Little is known of Harris' life after leaving the Texas Legislature in 1879. He returned to his farm in Ripley, where he died at age 70 on August 20, 1900. He was interred at the Green Hill Cemetery in Mt. Pleasant, Texas in Titus County. Mary Webb Harris survived her husband by nearly twenty years, dying in 1919 at age 77 and was buried next to her husband. The portrait of Harris shown above was located via the ever-useful Texas Legislative Library website, which has furnished numerous odd named Texas legislators and state officials to post here!

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