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William Alexander Harris (William Alexander Harris Junior)

William Alexander Harris was a United States Representative and Senator from Kansas.


  • A son of U.S. Congressman William Alexander Harris (1805–1864), William Alexander Harris, Jr. was born either in Loudoun County, Virginia or Luray, Virginia, while his father was serving in Congress.

    In 1865, Harris and his Page County-native bride, Mary Lionberger, moved to Kansas.

  • Education

    • He attended and graduated from Columbian College (later George Washington University), Washington, D.C., in 1859. A year later, he matriculated as part of the third or sophomore class at the Virginia Military Institute on 16 January 1860.In a class composed of future notables such as future commanding officer of the Stuart Horse Artillery, Roger Preston Chew, Harris fared well in class standing, graduating early in December, 1861 as 7 of 35.


    • After a brief stint as drillmaster with an artillery company formed in Page County, Harris was assigned to duty with Col. William N. Pendleton and, in the same month (Nov. 1861) transferred as assistant adjutant general on the staff of General Cadmus Wilcox. Promoted to captain in January 1862, Harris resigned from Wilcox’s staff in July 1862 and was assigned as a lieutenant and acting ordnance officer in Gen. Daniel Harvey Hill’s division. Promoted to the temporary rank of captain in the spring of 1863, Harris was yet reassigned and named Chief of Ordnance of Gen. Robert E. Rodes’ division. Following the loss at Gettysburg, Harris deserted from the army feeling that further effort was futile. However, some records reveal that he may have had other reasons for leaving the army in that he was denied a transfer to Major Harry W. Gilmor’s cavalry battalion.

      In 1865, Harris and his Page County-native bride, Mary Lionberger, moved to Kansas. Shortly thereafter, Harris was employed as a civil engineer in the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad until 1868; that year, he moved to Lawrence, Kansas. He was appointed agent for the railroad companies in the sale of the Delaware Reservation and other lands, and in 1884 moved to Linwood, Leavenworth County and engaged in agricultural pursuits and stock raising.

      Following in his father's footsteps, Harris eventually sought a life in politics. He was elected as a Populist member to the Fifty-third Congress (March 4, 1893-March 3, 1895) and was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1894. He was a member of the Kansas Senate in 1895 and 1896, and was elected as a U.S. senator from Kansas (March 4, 1897, to March 3, 1903). He was an unsuccessful candidate for the governorship of Kansas in 1906. Harris is believed to have been the only Confederate veteran ever elected to any office of importance in Kansas.

      Resuming his agricultural interests, Harris was extremely popular in the agriculture circles for his raising shorthorn cattle. Retiring from political life, Harris later became the vice president of the Denver, Laramie & Northwestern Railroad. Harris died in Chicago, where he had gone to work with the National Livestock Association, in 1909; interment was in Oak Hill Cemetery, Lawrence, Kansas.


    Party affiliation: Populist


    • father: William Alexander Harris - American - Congressman
      William Alexander Harris (1805–1864), U.S. Congressman Twenty-seventh Congress (March 4, 1841-March 3, 1843)
    • mother: Frances (Murray) Harris - American
    • Wife: Mary Lionberger - American
    William Alexander Harris
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    Born October 29, 1841
    Died December 20, 1909
    (aged 68)
    • 1859
      George Washington University,
    • January 16, 1860 - December, 1861
      Virginia Military Institute
    • November, 1861 - July, 1862
      assistant adjutant general on the staff of General Cadmus Wilcox, Page County
    • July, 1862 - 1863
      lieutenant and acting ordnance officer in General Daniel Harvey Hill’s division, Page County
    • 1863
      Chief of Ordnance of General Robert E. Rodes’ division., Page County
    • 1865 - 1868
      civil engineer, Union Pacific Railroad
    • 1868 - 1884
      agent for the railroad companies in the sale of the Delaware Reservation, Union Pacific Railroad
    • March 4, 1893 - March 3, 1895
      Populist member, Fifty-third Congress
    • 1895 - 1896
      member of the Kansas Senate, Kansas Senate
    • March 4, 1897 - March 3, 1903
      United States senator from Kansas, Kansas Senate
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    Алина Соколовская last changed 25/01/2013 view changes
    • Career
      • Page County
      • Page County
      • Page County
      • Union Pacific Railroad
      • Union Pacific Railroad
      • Fifty-third Congress
      • Kansas Senate
      • Kansas Senate
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