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Below is a family biography from the book, History of Kentucky, Edition 8a by J. H. Battle, W. H. Perrin and G. C. Kniffin and published by F. A. Battey Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM HUME HARRIS, the subject of this sketch, was born in Franklin County, Tenn., October 28, 1840, and is a son of John and Rosanna (Hume) Harris, natives of Virginia. His father was born in Albermarle County, graduated in the classics and law at William and Mary College, of Williamsburg, and practiced law in Richmond, Va., moved to Franklin County, Tenn., and settled on a plantation. He continued to practice his profession, rose rapidly to prominence and represented his district five terms in the United States Congress; at the end of which he declined a renomination and retired to the shades of private life, honored and respected by all. He raised and educated a family of six boys and four girls. All the boys enlisted in the Confederate cause in the war between the States. Four fell in battle with their faces toward the enemy; two still survive. The subject’s grandfather, John Harris, was born near Richmond, Va., graduated in the classics from William and Mary College, read law in his father’s office and was admitted to the bar. He served with distinction in the Revolutionary war, having fought at Princeton, Trenton, Monmouth, Brandywine and Germantown. After the war he resumed the practice of law in Albermarle County, Va., was a representative in the House of Burgesses and raised a family of seven boys and three girls. The subject’s great-grandfather, John Harris, was born in Swansea, Wales, and was a lawyer by profession. He emigrated with his brothers, Jacob, Daniel and Eli, to America, and settled near Richmond, Va. (from this branch of the Harris family sprang all by that name now in Virginia, and spreading from that State to every State and territory in the Union), and continued to practice his profession. Being a member of the House of Burgesses a number of terms, he was present and a member when Patrick Henry made that memorable speech which immortalized him and placed his name among the first in the hearts of his countrymen. Mr. Harris served with distinction in the Revolutionary war. After the war he retired to private life, raised a family of eight boys and two girls, and then patiently waited for old Charon and his canoe to ferry him across the Styx. Dr. W. H. Harris was brought up on a plantation, graduated in the classics from Princeton College, studied medicine under Wm. K. Bowling, of Nashville, Tenn., thence went to Paris, France, and continued his studies in medicine under Prof. Trousseau. He is a graduate in medicine of Paris, France, of the Ecole de Medecin. After graduating he returned to Tennessee and entered the Confederate army as a surgeon. After the war he continued the practice of medicine and met with great success. Three medical schools, standing second to none, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Medicine, and his Alma Mater conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws. He now has the honor of being the recipient of seven diplomas, viz.: A. B., A. M. four M. D.’s and LL. D., all worthily bestowed. He was also admitted to the bar. As a regular practitioner of medicine he has but few equals. He is a gentleman of fine abilities, rare culture and irreproachable moral character, is a Knight Templar and a member of the Episcopal church, also standing among the advanced thinkers in medicine. He was several times offered a professor’s chair in medical schools, but declined, thinking the best field for him was that of a general practitioner, which would the better enable him to give battle to disease in every form whatsoever. His acquirements as a physician, and especially as a neurologist are such as to place him among the first of those who work in the most important department of medical science. We hereby append an extract written by the late W. K. Bowling, M. D., LL. D., to Dr. Harris, to show the intimate and friendly relations existing between these two eminent physicians, one as preceptor the other as pupil. Dr. Bowling was one of the best and most distinguished physicians in America. He was not only distinguished in medicine, but in literature, like Oliver Wendall Holmes, of Massachusetts, and had been fifty years known as professor in various medical schools and as editor of medical journals. He had also been president of the National Medical Association, and president of the National Association of Medical Editors of the United States:

“Nashville, Nov. 13, 1883.
“My Dear Doctor Harris:
Dr._____ handed me your letter of the 27th of September last today. He showed me your papers, which I like exceedingly. He told me that he had written you that only one honorary degree could be conferred by each college a year, under the law of colleges, and all that, and I said that it was only one degree you wanted; that man and wife were one, and that one was the man, and you and I were one in this case, and that you were the one. For really I have made up my mind that you will hereafter appear as the big fish on our string of immortals. * * * And now, dear Doctor, farewell. If alive, I will sign my name to your diploma, if I have to have my arm bandaged to enable me to do it. God bless you.
In the bonds of the brotherhood,
Fraternally and cordially,
Your friend,
W. K. Bowling.”

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This family biography is one of 195 biographies included in the Jefferson County, Kentucky section of the book, The History of Kentucky, Edition 8a published in 1888 by F. A. Battey Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: History of Kentucky, Edition 8a

View additional Jefferson County, Kentucky family biographies here: Jefferson County, Kentucky Biographies

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