The Resource John T. Harris papers, 1771-1937

John T. Harris papers, 1771-1937

John T. Harris papers, 1771-1937
John T. Harris papers, 1771-1937
The John T. Harris Papers, 1771-1937, consist of a large number of personal and political documents relevant to the life and career of John T. Harris. The bulk of the collection is comprised of letters of John T. Harris and his family, and of Peyton Randolph and his family. Several letters discuss Southern secession and the American Civil War. Also included are Randolph family letters, James Clarkson Papers, Civil War documents and Harris genealogy
Biographical or historical data
  • John T. Harris (1823-1899) was perhaps one of the most prominent citizens of Rockingham County throughout the nineteenth century. The son of Nathan and Ann Harris, he was commonwealth's attorney for Rockingham County from 1852 to 1859, and in 1856 served as a Presidential elector for James Buchanan. Thereafter, he served in the United States Congress from 1859 until the outbreak of the Civil War. Despite his strong Unionist sentiments and his continual efforts to keep Virginia in the Union, Harris remained loyal to Virginia when she seceded in May 1861. During the war he served two terms in the Virginia General Assembly. Following the war John T. Harris was judge of the 12th judicial circuit, which included Rockingham County. In 1870 he was again elected to Congress and was continuously re-elected until 1880, after which he resumed his law practice in Harrisonburg. John T. Harris returned to politics in 1889 as a rival of P.W. McKinney for the Democratic nomination for the governorship. Later he was appointed by Governor McKinney as one of the representatives for Virginia to the World's Columbian Exposition in 1892. He died in Harrisonburg, October 14, 1899.
  • Little is known of Peyton Randolph, whose daughter, Mary Elizabeth Randolph, married John T. Harris's son, John T. Harris, Jr. Prior to the Civil War, Peyton attended Columbian College and was a railroad engineer in Virginia, Indiana and Alabama through the 1850s. During the war he served as an engineer in Pickett's division, rising to the rank of major by 1865. After the war he married Mary Fisher, and returned to the engineering profession. He died Nov. 28, 1888. Peyton's mother, Susan Armistead Randolph, wrote extensively and it is her letters that make up the bulk of the Randolph correspondence. Living in Washington D.C. as the wife of a Congressional clerk (James Innes Randolph), she later moved to Richmond during the Civil War.
Cataloging source
John T. Harris papers, 1771-1937
SERIES I. Letters, 1831-1937, n.d., Subseries: John T. Harris Letters, 1841-1899, Harris Family Letters, 1831-1937, Peyton Randolph Letters, 1846-1884, Randolph Family Letters, 1837-1928; SERIES II. Personal and Family Papers, 1843-1936, n.d.; SERIES III. Political Papers, 1856-1896, n.d.; SERIES IV. Miscellaneous (1771-1933, n.d.); SERIES V. Oversize, 1821-1900.
Control code
Cumulative index finding aids
See web link for Finding Aid.
ENTIRE COLLECTION consists of 7 Hollinger boxes; 1 flat box (2 oversize folders)
Governing access note
For use, see Special Collections librarian
Immediate source of acquisition
On deposit from the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society (see the Nov. 1985 contract)
For more detailed information on series I-V, see OCLC records 18774133, 18793444, 18800175, 18805546, and 18811181, respectively.

Library Locations

    • Special Collections Research CenterBorrow it
      Carrier Library Second Floor Room 203, MSC 1704, 880 Madison Drive, Harrisonburg, VA, 22807, US
      38.438299 -78.8741916
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