Isham Green HARRIS, Congress, TN (1818-1897)

Senate Years of Service:

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.


American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; U.S. Congress. Memorial Addresses. 55th Cong., 2nd sess., 1897-1898. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1898; Watters, George W. “Isham Green Harris, Civil War Governor and Senator from Tennessee, 1818-1897.” Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State University, 1977.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present