Curtis Lea Harris, of Eldorado, senator from the Twenty-fifth district and attorney-at-law, was born at Alliance, Ohio, May 31, 1862. His parents, Joel G. and Louisa E. (Barnaby) Harris, were persons of more than ordinary education and culture. They both attended Mt. Union College, Alliance, Ohio, the advantages of which institution were afforded their two sons and two daughters, all of whom are graduates of the college. Both parents were pronounced and active abolitionists. The father was a successful farmer and business man and a stanch Republican in his political views. He passed away in 1908, but the mother still survives and resides in the old homestead. Their children in order of birth are: Eva H., the wife of Dr. L. B. Santee, of Marlboro, Ohio; Hon. Heaton W. Harris, an attorney-at-law, and American Consul General at Large, appointed by President McKinley, his district being the countries of Europe; Curtis L. of this review; and Frances M., the wife of Prof. James E. Vaughan, of Alliance, Ohio. This branch of the Harris family is of Welsh descent and there have been five generations of the family since it was first established in America. The Hon. Emlin McClain, of Des Moines, Justice of the Supreme Court of Iowa, and a noted author of legal text-books, is a son of Rebecca (Harris) McClain, the youngest sister of Joel G. Harris. Curtis Lea Harris, the youngest son of these honored parents, was reared in the town of Alliance, Ohio, and in the fortunate environment of a cultured home and surroundings. He was educated in the public schools of Alliance and is a graduate of the Liberal Arts department of Mt. Union College. He subsequently read law with Hon. David Fording, of Alliance, and was admitted to the bar, at Eldorado, Kan. in 1887, where he had removed in 1885. He began practice in Eldorado and in 1888 he formed a business partnership with Robert H. Hazlett and was thus associated until the dissolution of the firm in 1890. In 1891 Mr. Harris became a law partner Judge C. A. Leland and for eighteen years was associated with him in the practice of their profession. Upon the reorganization of the Eldorado National Bank in 1909, Mr. Harris became attorney for the same. The firm of Leland & Harris was dissolved by mutual consent and since which time he has practiced alone. He is an able and successful lawyer and ranks among the foremost men of his profession in the state. In November, 1910, he was elected on the Republican ticket as a state senator from the Twenty-fifth district and in the legislative session of 1911, he proved himself to be a member of great industry and usefulness. The high appreciation in which he was held by his colleagues was attested in the beginning of his service in the senate by his important committee assignments and other responsible distinctions. He served as chairman of the Irrigation and Drainage Committee and was a member of the committee on educational institutions, insurance, penal institutions, state affairs and engrossed bills. He was a potential factor in securing the adoption of an amendment to the Inheritance Tax bill, the amendment being the one exempting direct heirs, and the passage of the senate bill regulating the fees and salaries of county clerks and treasurers. He is a forceful speaker, knows his constituency thoroughly and is in sympathy with all efforts to purify politics and to raise the tone of public life. He has represented the people of the Twenty-fifth district with intelligence and distinction and will continue to do so throughout his entire service. Though he has never aspired to a public career, he takes a keen interest in everything that tends toward the upbuilding of Kansas and her institutions. Locally, he has served as chairman of the Republican County Central Committee and as a member of the Eldorado city council and of the school and library boards of that city.
On Sept. 16, 1885, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Harris and Miss Mary L. Miller, daughter of William A. Miller, a farmer of North Benton, Mahoning county, Ohio. They have a daughter, Leila M., who received a liberal education in the public schools of Eldorado, at Monticello Seminary, Godfrey, Ill., and in the schools at Manheim, Germany, during a year's trip abroad. She is the wife of Frank W. Robison (See sketch). Mrs. Harris is a lady of culture and takes a prominent part in the social life of Eldorado. Mr. Harris takes an optimistic view of humanity and its progress, is proud of the history that Kansas has made among the states of the Union and has supreme faith in her great future. By an upright, industrious and useful life he has won and enjoys the confidence and respect of a large circle of acquaintances.Pages 442-445 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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