HARRIS, Isham Green (1818-1897)
Senate Years of Service: 1877-1897

HARRIS, ISHAM GREEN, a Representative and a Senator from Tennessee; born near Tullahoma, Franklin County, Tenn., February 10, 1818; attended the common schools and Winchester Academy; moved to Paris, Tenn., to become a store clerk; studied law; admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Paris, Henry County, Tenn., in 1841; member, State senate 1847; elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-first and Thirty-second Congresses (March 4, 1849-March 3, 1853); declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1852; chairman, Committee on Invalid Pensions (Thirty-second Congress); moved to Memphis in 1853 and resumed the practice of law; elected Governor of Tennessee in 1857, 1859, and 1861, and committed Tennessee to the Confederate cause; served in the Confederate Army for the last three years of the Civil War; after the Civil War, fled first to Mexico, then to England; returned to Tennessee and resumed the practice of law in Memphis; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1877; reelected in 1883, 1889, and 1895 and served from March 4, 1877, until his death; served as President pro tempore of the Senate during the Fifty-third Congress; chairman, Committee on District of Columbia (Forty-sixth and Fifty-third Congresses), Committee on Epidemic Diseases (Forty-ninth through Fifty-second Congresses), Committee on Private Land Claims (Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Congresses); died in Washington, D.C., July 8, 1897; funeral services were held in the Chamber of the United States Senate; interment in Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tenn.

Alabama Department of Archives and History
Montgomery, AL
Papers: In Confederate officers photograph album, no date.

Knox County Public Library
McClung Historical Collection
Knoxville, TN
Papers: 1859, 1860, 1893. 3 items.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: 1861-1862. 4 items.

Pierpont Morgan Library
New York, NY
Papers: 1877. 1 item.

Tennessee Historical Society
Nashville, TN
Papers: Items in various collections.

Tennessee State Library and Archives
Nashville, TN
Papers: 1861-1862. 1 item. Letterbook containing 46 letters.
Additional Papers: Correspondence in James D. Anderson collection, 1854-1961; and George Washington Gordon and William Tecumsah Avery papers, 1791-1946. Finding aid.

  • Elliott, Sam Davis. Isham G. Harris of Tennessee: Confederate Governor and United States Senator. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2010.
  • Horn, Stanley F. "Isham G. Harris in the Pre-War Years.'' Tennessee Historical Quarterly 19 (September 1960): 195-207.
  • McKellar, Kenneth. "Isham Green Harris," in Tennessee Senators as seen by one of their Successors. Kingsport, Tenn.: Southern Publishers, Inc., 1942, 386-404.
  • U.S. Congress. Memorial Addresses on the Life and Character of Isham G. Harris (Late a Senator from Tennessee). 55th Cong., 2d sess., 1897-1898. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1898.
  • Watters, George Wayne. "Isham Green Harris, Civil War Governor and Senator from Tennessee, 1818-1897.'' Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State University, 1977.